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Tying Wing Slips


You need one pair of matching primary wing feathers, that's the front longest feathers from a ducks wing, one feather from each wing. I suggest a mallard duck wings for starters as they are easy to work with compared to some other feathers. The reason for a matching pair is so that our flies wings will naturally curve away from each other, as the feathers do below to create a nice pair of wings

With a sharp pair of scissors cut a wing slip from each feather, from the same part of the feather so that they'll be the same length.

Bind a hook with the thread, leaving it hanging down at the point where you want to tie in the slips. Align the slips carefully on top of each other and then grip between your forefinger and thumb of your left hand. Note the position of the thread below, far enough back to allow for room to later tie off the hackle

Measure the approximate length of the wings against the hook, with the front of the slips/wings facing downwards as shown, while holding in place, swap the grip to your right hand, gripping between thumb and fore finger as shown in the next picture. This will hold the slips in place and stops them from moving as you tie them in.

This is the tricky bit. Lift the thread straight up between thumb and wing slip. (I couldn't photograph this, don't have enough hands!) We lift the thread up then take it straight back down the other side between wing slip and fore finger, but don't tighten yet, then back up between thumb and slip again. Now holding the wing slips firmly, pull up on the thread to tighten and pull the slips firmly against the hook in a smooth movement.

The end result should be something like the above, (in the above I have got the slips tied in a little to close to the center of the hook, need more practice.) You can tie the slips in a bit more, but don't come forward past the first wind of thread as that will affect how the slips look, then trim the ends off.

Next step is to grip the slips firmly and lift them up vertically. (actually it's best not to let go of them in the first place) Pull firmly upwards and wrap the thread several times around the base of the wing slips. This secures them in an upright position without damaging them. You can then release your grip, the slips may remain stuck together so gently separate them. You can then spread them further as desired using a figure of eight pattern between the two slips

And this is the result. A little glue around the base will give more strength. Note there is plenty of room in front of the slips for the hackle and to tie off. They do take practice, and they don't all turn out perfectly.




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