Archive for January 10th, 2012


Fly Tying: Culling Marabou Feathers

The Green Meanie (SwittersB)

As a beginning fly tier, it is easy to assume your fly tying materials are uniformly prepared and packaged for quality assurance. With marabou feathers, if they are packaged loose or strung together, I would (without sneezing or making a mess) spend a little time to check the quality of the feathers before purchasing. High quality marabou will be evident to you after awhile and the better brands will become evident. Here is a few comments by G Smolt at an outdoor forum discussing marabou quality:

“I just have one concept to add, and that is feather culling. The average bag of strung hackle and schlappen has very few high-quality quills in it, a lot of B and C quills, and a few duds that aren’t fit to use anywhere on a fly. Lots of folks grab the first feather their fingers touch and just start wrapping

Feathers need to be selected, not just grabbed willy-nilly.

I say this because the hackles on both the black bugger and the purple egg-sucker are far too short to be using on such a fly – the “fluffy” barbules at the head of the fly are a dead giveaway. Now, will this cause fish to not eat the fly? Of course not. Will this affect the way the fly looks, and perhaps skew the tier’s perceived ability to “tie the fly right”? Most certainly.

SELECT YOUR FEATHERS. Make sure they will be long enough to complete a wrapping task. Look for missing barbules, clips, or anything else that deem a feather a “cull”. Select for quill stiffness as well – proper quills will wrap, thick quills will break. 

PREP YOUR FEATHERS. Pick off the fluffy barbules at the bottom of the quill, break the barbule hooks on schlappen and cheap hackle (velcro hooks work awesome for this), back-comb the quills to separate the barbules, and fold before you wrap.”  Outdoors Directory Forum


Travel, Wisdom & Seeking Something

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”  

 “The person susceptible to “wanderlust” is not so much addicted to movement as committed to transformation.”  

“In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them—often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight. The urgency of slowing down—to find the time and space to think—is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context.”     Pico Iyer

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January 2012

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