Guinea Feathers

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Strung Guinea   Tying With Guinea

Strung Guinea Feathers
Spotted Guinea Fowl feathers are often used for hackle on Atlantic salmon and steelhead flies. When separated the feathers have a banded look and copy many insects, and also many saltwater organisms such as shrimp and squid.

Item Description Color Price To Top
SGF310 Strung Guinea Feathers, Red   $5.50
SGF242 Strung Guinea Feathers, Natural   $5.50
SGF298 Strung Guinea Feathers, Purple   $5.50
SGF184 Strung Guinea Feathers, Highlander Green   $5.50
SGF383 Strung Guinea Feathers, Yellow   $5.50
SGF63 Strung Guinea Feathers, Claret   $5.50
SGF271 Strung Guinea Feathers, Orange   $5.50
SGF347 Strung Guinea Feathers, Silver Doctor Blue   $5.50
SGF54 Strung Guinea Feathers, Chartreuse   $5.50

Tying With Guinea
The Spawning Purple as originated by John Shewey is an elegant and productive fly, especially for summer steelhead east of the Cascade Mountains.  Here it is used only as a model to show how to use guinea plumage as hackle. After tying this fly while dodging the lens on the tripod mounted camera, and later looking at the picture, did I realize that I forgot to include the purple cock's hackle in back of the dyed orange guinea feather.

The perfect model for this fly pattern is found on page 110 of Steelhead Flies by John Shewey.  John selected a feather with barbuals long enough to reach to the rear of the body of the fly.  The feather pictured has broken barbual fibers on the left side of the stem.  This doesn't matter because all the fibers will be stripped from the left side of the stem anyway.

The barbuals can be removed from the left side of the stem by grasping the feather by the tip and simply pulling the fibers off. Guinea feather stems are strong and resilient, but it is better to strip the fibers in clumps, starting from the butt of the feather and working up the stem.

Gently stroke the barbuals backward on the stem. These barbuals bend easily and are fairly tough, but you want to proceed carefully so as nto to tear any of them loose from the stem.

Tie in the feather tip-first so you can wind with the smallest diameter part of the stem. This will allow you to place each wrap of the stem along side the last. The body of this fly was made using 210 Denier Flat Waxed Thread.  This results in a very smooth body, but this same thread was used to tie in all four tiers of the wing.  This created a lot of bulk.  It would be better to change tread and tie in the last tier of the wing with 8/0 thread.

No need for a hackle pliers when using a large guinea feather as the but of the stem is easy to hold on to.  Pull the fibers back for each wrap.

Separate the barbuals on the guinea feather.  They have a habit of marrying together until they are under water. If you want the fibers to separate easier and not remarry, wet your fingers with saliva and preen them back for a more streamlined look.  the enzymes in the saliva will dissolve the fibers on the barbuals enough to keep them from marrying together.

Pictured here are some simple spey or spider flies using guinea feathers for the front hackle.  These flies are intentionally kept sparse so the fibers move easily in the currents and impart life to the flies. Guinea is useful on many flies to imitate organisms with banded legs or feelers.

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