1. Fix hook in vise and layer front half with thread.
Select matching primary or secondary wing feathers
from the right and left wings of a mallard or teal.
Clip segments from each that are the width of the gap
of the hook. Pair these together with their tips aligned
and flared away from each other. If you're using hen
hackle tips, pair them back to back, and strip excess
fuzzy fibers from the bases of the stems.
2. Measure the paired feather sections the length
of the hook shank, and hold them over the shank
one-quarter the shank length behind the eye, with
the tips forward. Pinch them tightly with your
thumb and forefinger. Work thread up between the
wing quill and your thumb on one side, over the
wings, and down between your forefinger on the other
side. Draw your thread straight down, to compress
the feather sections to the top of the hook. Take
one or two thread turns to lock them in place.
3. Take several turns of thread back over the butts
to secure the wings, and clip the excess butts on a
slant. Hold the wings upright and take several turns
of thread in front of them to prop them in position.
If necessary, take one or two figure eight turns between
the wings to seperate them. This will not usually be
needed. Wrap thread over the wing butts and to the
bend of the hook.
4. Measure eight to twelve stiff hackle fibers the
length of the hook, and tie them in at the bend
of the hook. They should be straight, and gathered,
not splayed. Twist a fine skein of dubbing to the
thread, and wind a neatly tapered body forward to
the base of the wing.
5. Tie in a hackle with fibers the length of
two hook gaps. Secure the hackle stem to the
hook eye, and clip the excess. Wrap three to four
turns of hackle behind the wings, four to five in
front. For a more classical sparse tie, use just
three turns on each side of the wings. Tie off the
tip and clip the excess. Form a neat thread with
a minimum number of thread turns. Whip finish
and clip the thread.
6. The traditional tie, when set on a tabletop, should
perch on the tip of its tail and its hackle points, with
the hook held just off the table. It will be quite an
attractive apparatus to you, if properly tied, and will
attract a surprising number of trout. It's shape captures
perfectly that of the natural mayfly dun emerging and
floating on slightly rough to very rough water.