Hair Stacking and Other Applicable Stuff

Selecting hair

Understanding hair
Hair scales
Deer, Elk and Moose
Calf Tail and Bucktail
Hand stacking
Uneven stacking
Cleaning hair
Selecting hair
Two patches of hair that are obviously different: longer and darker on top, shorter and lighter below. These cannot be used for the same fly.

This topic is worthy of an article unto itself, but there are some basic points that should be considered here. Generally speaking, if it is desirable to have hair that will only slightly flare, use a harder material such as bucktail, calf tail, elk neck, deer mask, and moose. Again generally speaking, if it is desirable to have hair that will flare, consider softer hair such as deer body, elk body, and antelope. But the application is the determinant factor. For example the same piece of hair will not react the same on a #12 Elk Hair Caddis as it does on a #18 Elk Hair Caddis. Using the same piece of hair, that point on the hair tied down for a #12 is softer than that point tied down on a #18, and thus the wing on the #12 will flair more than the wing on the #18. Also a more buoyant part of the hair is in use on the #12 where that the less buoyant part of the hair is all that is left for the #18. The solution would be to select, in this case, a softer, more buoyant hair for the #18.

The physical shape of hair to stack is important as well. In a #12 Royal Wulff calf tail is very appropriate. By comparison a #16 Royal Wulff may dictate straighter, more even tipped calf tail, or perhaps calf body. For a #20 or smaller Royal Wulff an entirely different material such as African Goat may be the choice. Seemingly for smaller flies bucktail or perhaps deer should be considered, but in fact both lack the curl usually associated with this fly, and more importantly they taper too gradually to give necessary bulk to the wing. The goat tapers more quickly near the tip and has a slight bit of curl similar to calf body. Another example is a small (#20 and smaller) Comparadun. Instead of deer hair consider using antelope for the wing. Here, also, the taper of deer hair is too gradual and leaves little material for visibility or floatation while having too much bulk at the tie-in point where you least want it. By contrast antelope tapers abruptly right at the tip, at the tie-in point compresses well due to the internal structure of the hair, is more buoyant, and is surprisingly durable in such short lengths.

Deer hair that is slightly wavy down the shaft of the hair can generally be counted on to flare more readily than deer hair that is straight; both being of similar length and diameter. Also the dark tips on deer hair are harder than the lighter colored portion of the hair shaft. The longer the dark tip, the greater length of harder hair. In other words, given two pieces of deer hair, one with long, dark tips and one with short, if it is desired to make a non-flaring tail, the likely choice would be the longer tipped hair. If it is desired to flair the hair at the tie-in point, the likely choice would be the shorter tipped hair.











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