Not all fly tying material is always readily available. Sure your rabbit strips and hare’s masks can be found in a variety of colors and styles at most fly shops in the country, but we at Great Feathers take great pride in providing rare, hard to find material.
With a focus on wet flies, spiders, and traditional soft hackles, we seek out bird wings, skins and feathers that are hard to obtain. Our major providers of specialty feathers are UK companies Veniard and Cookshill. These organizations provide birds that aren’t readily available at most fly shops like Snipe, Waterhen/Moorhen, Blue Jay, Jackdaw, and Coot.
These feathers are not used in most fly tying situations, but are found in specific traditional patterns. Originally used because they were all that was available, these birds have fallen out of grace with the gain in popularity of most American game birds like Grouse and Partridge. Although the later are wonderful for their purposes, they are limited in their color and uses. To truly follow a traditional recipe, the specialty birds are the ones you are looking for.
Why use specialty feathers? These feathers have qualities that cannot be matched by most commercial birds raised today. The specialty feathers we carry have gained popularity for their unique colors, the action they impart in water, and their rarity. When fishing heavily pressured water, it pays to have a different pattern or style of fly with different materials than other fisherman are using. I like to say the fish on our local river, The Gunpowder, can tie their own hare’s ear and pheasant tail nymphs.
If you are looking to add a new twist to your standard flies or try some new patterns to excel on your pressured trout stream, go the way of the traditionalist and get your hands on some specialty fly tying materials.