"Hackle Winding"

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Intro: When a wound hackle is required for a shrimp fly such as the Usk Grub or Curry's Shrimp it's a good idea to prepare the hackle as shown below. The prepared hackle will be easier to tie in, easier to wind on and it will also take up the minimum of space on the hook. This will improve the overall appearance of the fly especially if there are two or three hackles to be tied in.
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On the first picture we have a suitably sized hackle which  in this case would be tied onto about a size 4 or 6 Salmon iron. This particular hackle measured four and a half inches from the tip to the end of the stalk. Most fly tyers would strip the fluff from the thick end off the stalk and leave about 3 inches or more with all the good fibres on it.
Only stripping the fluff means that the fattest part at the base of the stalk will be tied in. This will only add to the bulk of the fly as three turns of a fat stalk really sticks out. If you strip at least another inch of fibres you will still have plenty of length to wind the hackle. The thinner part of the stalk has less volume, uses the minimum of space on the shank and is easier to control.
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After trimming off at least the bottom half of the fibres square of the remainder. This is done by gripping the tip of the feather in your fingers or hackle pliers from your right hand. Gently draw the stalk between your left thumb and forefinger from the tip to the end until the fibres are roughly as shown.
At this stage I normally tie the hackle onto the hook by the thickest end and grip the tip firmly with the hackle pliers. Pull gently on the tip to put the feather under tension and draw the fibres forward, this action doubles them over as shown. Make sure not to pull too hard as you will break the stalk or pull it away from the hook. 
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An example tied in, drawn forward and doubled ready for winding round the hook. During the process of winding round the hook you must keep the turns of the stalk tightly grouped together, but not on top of each other.
This hackle was wound round the size 2 single hook four times and still had over an inch trimmed off at the tip end. As shown in the picture.
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