Favorite Flys “Fly Tying Terms”

Welcome to the Fly Tying Terms section. We hope this section enables and encourages you to become a fly tyer, or to enhance your fly tying skills.

From Perrault's Standard Dictionary of Fishing Flies
by Keith E. Perrault
Terms — H
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[ H ] [ I ] [ J ] [ K ] [ L ] [ M ] [ N ] [ O ] [ P ]
[ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T ] [ U ] [ V ] [ W ] [ XYZ ]
~ H ~
Two forms of hackle are found on flies:
1. Body or ribbing hackle, palmered up the body.
2. Throat or collar hackle, found just behind the head. Hackles may be feathers, hair or fur.

Hackle Fly:
Wingless, heavy bodied flies with shoulder hackle. Normally classed as a wet fly or nymph, but may be used dry. Flies in this category usually are named for the color of the shoulder hackling as, Gray Hackle, which has gray or grizzly shoulder hackle. Bodies usually are heavy or thick wound.

Hackle Gauge:
Device used to determine size of hackles. A number of such devices are available.

Hackle Plier:
Tool used to wind hackle on to fly bodies.

Hackle Sources:
Most popular hackles come from domestic chickens, and most from the rooster or male bird. Some varieties are: Buff Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Minorca, Plymouth Rock, Wyandotte, Rocks, Cornish, Yokahama, Brahma and others. Cross breeding creates the multi-color hackles and most dun hackles come from crosses of Andalusian chickens, which are a cross between white and black birds. Hackles also come from other birds such as Jungle Fowl, Grouse, Partridge, Ducks, Geese, field birds and others. Most any bird feather can be used a hackle for fly tying.
    See - Materials.

Hair Body:
Flies tied with hair as main body material. Most popular is the use of spun deer body hair, clipped to shape. Creates extremely good floatation. Also, hair wrapped around shank, or laid longitudinally along shank, to produce bulk of body. Example - Humpy.

Hair Fiber Hackles:
A hackle used in tying fur flies. Constructed of hair fibers placed horizontally on a waxed thread, the thread doubled back upon itself and twisted to entrap the hairs. The thread becomes a rib of such hackle. A slow and laborious process but very effective.

Hair Hackle:
Any type of hair wound around the hook in hackle fashion. It can be applied in bunches as in beards or chins, or spun as in the use of deer body hair or as hair fiber hackles.

Hair Wing:
Use of hair fibers instead of feathers to form the wings on a fly.

See - Herl.

Larva of the Dobson Fly. Also - Helgramite and Wiggler.

Long fibers with fuzz or flue found on feathers from Peacock, Ostrich and Emu. A close look at any fibril of a feather will reveal the tiny hair-like projections. In some feathers these hair-like projections form hooks which lock together. These are a form of herl but because of their locking properties are called barbules. Also called Harl.

Herl Wings:
Strips or strands of Peacock herl or sword feathers form the entire wing, as in the Alexandra. Emu and Ostrich herl also used.

Rare, and almost all are on the endangered species lists. Breast and crest feathers are used in some salmon fly dressings. Natural colors range from light gray to black with some of bluish shades. Substitutes are dyed pheasant rump or hen, soft tail feathers.

Hackle Fibers.

Hot Orange - Fluorescent bright orange.

Color - Pale ginger.

Honey Hackle:
A very pale ginger colored hackle.

Honey Dun Hackle:
Pale honey color with gray or brown streak or list in the center.

Hook Eyes:
1. R.E. - Ringed eye.
2. T.D.E. - Turned down eye.
3. T.U.E. - Turned up eye.
4. L.E. - Loop eye.

Refer to excellent coverage on sizes, types, makes, etc., in Al McClanes' New Standard Fishing Encyclopdia.

Hook Parts:
1. Eye.
2. Shank.
3. Bend.
4. Barb.
5. Gap.

Hook Patterns:
The most common hook patterns in fly tying are: Round Bend, Sproat Bend and Sneck Bend. Most popular is the Round Bend.

Hooded Merganser:
Deep to light brown speckled side feathers make excellent winging material for stramers and wets. Also used for tails and legs.

Stiff pair of usually feather center ribs, tied in at head and extending back and over wings of the fly. Found mostly in salmon patterns.

Hackle tip or tips.

Term given to the style of Mayfly nymphs where the thorax area is larger than the remainder of the body.

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