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Ewing Streamer Hackles
One of the most difficult things for today's streamer tyer to find is suitable hackle for winging Rangeley Style streamers.
One of the most difficult things for today's streamer tyer to find is suitable hackle for winging Rangeley Style streamers. Historically, streamer tyers had ample supply of complete saddles, or strung saddle hackle for our craft. The push to produce genetic hackle for dry flies hasn't helped our situation any. Most strung saddle hackles commercially available are far too thin, poorly shaped, and lack the web needed to produce quality Rangeley Style streamers. Doug Ewing, of Ewing Feather Birds, has come to the rescue! Two of his products are featured in this review:
Ewing Saltwater Saddle:
GFF Rating: 5
I've been using Ewing's Saltwater Saddles for a number of years now, and love them. They're well-suited for tying Rangeley style streamers from size 1 down to size 6, 8X long, and are available dyed in a variety of colors. I have received comments from a few site visitors that the dye jobs are a bit inconsistant, but since I normally purchase white and dye them myself, I have no personal experience with this. I can say with certainty that they accept acid dyes well, and I've been very pleased with my own dying of these hackles.
Available in two grades, the Grade 1 saltwater saddles are now being marketed as "Mike Martinek Rangeley Streamer Saddles". The main difference between grade 1 and 2 saddles appears to be saddle price, size, and feather count, though I've not seen a marked difference between the two grades. An added bonus to purchasing complete saddles is the availability of webby schlappen hackles which are very useful for tails and throats for the streamer tier. I award Ewing's Saltwater Saddles a "5" on the GFF rating scale!
Ewing Deceiver Patch:
GFF Rating: 4
The Deceiver Patch from Ewing Hackle Farms was unknown to me before Mike Martinek recommended I take a look at them. The feathers on these patches are slimmer than the saltwater saddle hackles, but have a very nice tip and uniform web line.
The stems are slightly stiffer than those of the saltwater saddles, but not the stiffest or largest around. These hackles immediately struck me as being well-suited for streamers with top-mounted wings such as the black ghost, and for 10-feather style streamers (a flatwing pattern style). They are, by their name, obviously suited for the well-known Deceiver saltwater pattern as well. These patches should be given serious consideration if you tie lots of streamers in these styles.
Both the grade 1 saltwater saddles, and deceiver patch retail for about $10.00 US. For more information on these and other products available from Ewing Feather Birds.