... butts.

Like most fly tiers ( I think ) I learned to tie deer and elk hair wings by evening the tips in a hair stacker and tying in the wing with the tips representing the end / edges of the wing and somewhere along the length to the butts being tied down and secured at the shank of the hook.

Two things, one a while back and one quite recent. Things I haven't seen discussed on this site or picked up on at any fly tying demos that I've attended.

First, several years ago I ran across a patch of elk rump hair in a fly shop. I decided to buy it and try it. For the larger flies, which are the mainstay of my fly angling on freestone streams and rivers in the Northern Rockies, from squallas, to salmonflies, to golden stones, to hoppers, to October Caddis over the course of a season, elk rump hair has proven far superior to deer and other elk hairs. It stacks well and is longer, thicker, courser and flares nicely - and provides better flotation and is more visible from near to quite some distance. Of course, as usual, I stacked and tied it in as I had been doing with other deer and elk hairs over the years.

A couple weeks ago, while tying a fresh batch of FEB salmonflies aka JC's Salmonfly, I was again chagrined at how much great hair was ending up on the floor and in the waste basket. I had been considering reversing the process of stacking and tying in the wing for some time, and finally decided to do it.

I have been delighted with the results, both from fly tying and fly angling points of view. Even the butts of the bunch of hair used for the wing in the hair stacker and tie in the wing with the butts representing the end / edges of the wing. Then go experience improved flotation and visibility with no apparent sacrifice to the effectiveness of the fly - and with a smaller bunch of hair to start with.


P.S. I realize this may be old hat to a lot of experienced fly tiers, something I just never picked up on personally over the course of fifteen years plus discussing, reading about, and observing fly tying methods and techniques, and the reasons for those methods and techniques. On the other hand, there may be members and followers of this Bulletin Board who haven't run across this approach and who may benefit from the discussion.