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FFIM is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and preserving Maine's fisheries
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 Post subject: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 6th, 2019, 11:31 am 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 4221
Location: Ellsworth
All......

Is there a nastier material to tie with than Starling feathers? I can’t think of any.

This morning I was tying up a bunch of Soft Hackle Poodle Sniffers for the Black Caddis hatch both here in Maine and out on the Bighorn. A wonderful imitation of the emerging Black Caddis pupa.

Those Starling feathers break when you just about look at them. Even using Hackle pliers......which I most often don’t........I bet I broke every fourth feather.

Using black IceDub for the body, with a Chartreuse rib and starting Soft Hackle feathers......with a bead head on a TMC 2457 scud hooks.
....These babies should work dynamite on those emerging pupas.

Dave M

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"Fish the West every year. Life is short; and you'll be dead a long time." Chris Hutchins--2009


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 Post subject: Re: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 6th, 2019, 11:59 am 
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Joined: February 14th, 2007, 1:00 am
Posts: 1519
Location: New Hampshire
YES! they do suck!

Hackle pliers are a must... but they do make a damn sexy SMALL soft hackle. I use them on brassie style caddis, and have found them to be worth the effort and frustration :wink:

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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 Post subject: Re: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 6th, 2019, 6:48 pm 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5486
Location: Near the tying bench
I don’t enjoy working with starling.

Hungarian partridge is so-so.

Woodcock and rail are another story all together. Simply awesome to work with and they’re color variation has a nice affect. I try to hunt up a few woodcock a year and a co-worker used to provide rail wings. Great stuff to work with.

I haven’t tried chukar partridge, yet, but have been meaning to. Same goes for pigeon. Both appear to have fine soft-hackled feathers.

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"You never miss the water until the well runs dry" - traditional blues


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 Post subject: Re: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 6th, 2019, 10:42 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5394
Location: Manchester, ME
Pheasant aftershaft feathers--like for a Gartside Sparrow--are worse than anything.

Rail is nice stuff, and on a good tide in late September when they show up, 2 or 3 of use in a boat that can be poled could collect enough for a lifetime supply for the entire FFIM tying crew and still be way under a legal limit. Especially if a former Maine trap shooting champion who is the official shooter for the fancy spring spaniel trials was doing the shooting instead of a dub like me.

Even Tim Soule took a few one day with me when the ducks were not flying. It's a tasty table bird, too. A Huntress/Hutch/Sam Day team could clean up. Those boys can shoot.

And after skipping duck hunting and fishing every weekend for 2 years for "dog training", Huntress ought to have a dog who can find them in the thick rice for us.

The challenge is getting a light enough load of steel shot to not damage the birds. 20 (or 28 if you are a fancy trap shooter) gauge steel target loads do the trick.

I've got a boat and a pole and know several areas that hold rails in numbers. There are about 3 or 4 really good tides a year.

Anybody tied with snipe for soft hackles? I see a few while duck hunting every year but have never heard of anyone in Maine hunting them.


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 Post subject: Re: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 7th, 2019, 6:05 am 
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Location: New Hampshire
Anyone ever caught anything on a Sparrow? Pretty flies but haven’t turned a fish on them.

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"Fishermen...spending their lives in the fields and woods...are often in a more favorable mood for observing her, in the intervals of their pursuits, than philosophers or poets even, who approach her with expectation." - Thoreau


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 Post subject: Re: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 7th, 2019, 11:53 am 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Near the tying bench
Lol Jeff. I’m not sure my dog is built for a duck boat. We could use him to flush rails to us though, perhaps. And he will work a water retrieve.

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 Post subject: Re: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 7th, 2019, 3:50 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 4221
Location: Ellsworth
Jeff Reardon wrote:
Pheasant aftershaft feathers--like for a Gartside Sparrow--are worse than anything.

.


Yup....I stand corrected. Pheasant aftershaft feathers are a bitch to tie with. Their only saving grace is they’re much longer than starling feathers. Both are nasty.

Dave M

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"Fish the West every year. Life is short; and you'll be dead a long time." Chris Hutchins--2009


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 Post subject: Re: Starling Feathers
PostPosted: June 11th, 2019, 4:43 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5394
Location: Manchester, ME
TGIF wrote:
Anyone ever caught anything on a Sparrow? Pretty flies but haven’t turned a fish on them.


I've caught a few St. George stockers and a few fish from ponds on days that anything would have worked, but a friend who sometimes posts here swears by them and I have seen him do very well with them.


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