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Tying Video – Woodcock Quill

The Woodcock Quill is another old soft hackle pattern.  I found this one in Sylvester Nemes’ book (Two Centuries of Soft-Hackle Flies) as well.  His book mentions Modern Trout Fly Dressing, by Roger Woolley which was published in 1932.  I was actually looking at tying the Peacock & Partridge (which is very similar to the Woodcock Quill) before I ran across this fly.  The thing that struck me when reading this section of the book was that a pattern created around the turn of the century (the last century by the way) might be considered “modern”.  Which is to say the hot new “epic” flies of today will one day be considered “classics” or “traditional”.  I guess hipness only lasts so long.  Witty repartee aside, I also chose this fly because it uses Woodcock.  I have not run across many flies that do use Woodcock especially in soft hackles.  Since I had a couple of Woodcock wings I thought it would be fun to give this one a try. The Woodcock Quill did not disappoint.  The tag and body are pretty straightforward but I found working with the Woodcock to be most interesting.  On most soft hackle flies the feathers that are used are usually from a wild game bird or a chicken hen.  That is due to the fact they are usually much softer.  The barbs of the feathers are not as stiff as rooster feathers and they usually have more barbules.  The barbules themselves have a number of hooklets that hold the feathers together, sort of like velcro.  When working with the Woodcock I found that the barbules seem to have even more hooklets than most other feathers.  This could be unique to Woodcock or it could also be a property of the wing feathers but the end result is the barbs themselves tend to stay “hooked” together and not separate as easily as say a partridge feather.  I am certain once these flies get in the water they will all separate out but at the vise they tend to look a little more clumped together than distributed evenly around the hook.  Keep in mind, if you do not have Woodcock a brownish Partridge feather or even a speckled hen feather would work just as well.

Spring is finally here and the rivers are starting to open up.  Right now, my closest trout stream is closed until the end of the month so it will be a while before I get a chance to swing some of these soft hackle flies.  I have mentioned in a number of posts and videos that I am attending a Tie-A-Thon in May in Northern Indiana.  The St. Joseph River Valley Fly Fishers are hosting a Tie-A-Thon on May 22.  If you do not know what a Tie-A-Thon is it is a gathering of fly tiers who will for the duration of the event tie flies and then donate them all to a worthy cause.  In this case the flies will be going to a number of Trout Unlimited youth camps to teach young folks how to fly fish.  Many times the organizers of these events realize that some people would like to participate but can not and therefore are willing to accept donations of flies as well.  Thus, I will be not only tying flies on the day of the event but donating a bunch as well.  If you click on the image of the event to the right can find out all the details.  If you can make it to the event in May great, stop by I would love to say Hello.  If you would like to donate some flies I am certain they would welcome them.  Now is a great time to donate some flies so these youth camps have lots available throughout the summer for teaching the next generation of fly fishers.  I’ll keep you posted as the event draws near. – Enjoy.

Hook:Mustad 3906, 3906b or 3399, #10 – #16
Thread:Wapsi UTC Ultra Thread 70 Denier, Burnt Orange
Tag:Danville Gold Mylar Tinsel, #16/18
Body:Peacock Herl
Hackle:Woodcock (not affiliate)
Links above are to affiliate products as are the links to books or videos mentioned in this post.  If you purchase any of these products through the affiliate link it helps Dressed Irons.  Thanks in advance!

If you would like to purchase some Woodcock Quill flies there are a number for sale (while supplies last).

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As always, if you have any questions about this fly (or any other) you can leave a comment on Dressed Irons or any of the videos I have produced and I will help in anyway I can. Enjoy!

Remember….. It’s Fly tying….. If you’re not having fun, You’re Doin’ It Wrong.

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