Pheasant & Turkey!
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Pheasant and turkey tails are another staple of the fly tyer. They're used for wings, bodies, tails, legs and wing cases. In other words, these are among the most versatile feathers you have in your fly tying collection.
All freshwater fly tyers will have some 'Ringneck' pheasant tails or side tails on their tying table. As mentioned above, they're used for many different purposes. One of the most popular nymphs, the Pheasant Tail Nymph is constructed mostly of pheasant. In fact, the pheasant tail is used for the fly's tail, body, wing case and legs. The photo on the left gives you a good idea of what the tails look like and type of markings on each. And yes, we sell them 7 different colors, including 'natural.'
In addition to ringneck tails, you can buy a complete ringneck cock skin and experiment with the different feathers. There are also Gold Pheasant tails and the extraordinary Amherst Pheasant tails.
Gold Pheasant 'heads' are also available. These have crests and tippets which are used in many flies as well. See photo at right.
Another popular pheasant item, which can be difficult to obtain, are Silver Pheasant Skins. The 'Silver Doctor' is one fly which uses these feathers. The skins are huge and present, literally, thousands of fly tying opportunities.
The turkey tail feathers are used in a similar fashion to the pheasant tail feathers. Since the bird is bigger than the pheasant, it's quills and barbules are longer and easier to use for larger applications. The Ozark turkey is a popular for its tail and its wing feathers because of the mottled design. Wing quills are available in a variety of colors and if you use goose biots, you want to give the turkey biots, which are larger, a try. A 'White-Tipped' turkey tail feather is pictured on the left. They are quite large and ours come packaged in a matched pair, which are becoming increasingly difficult to find.
I should mention that turkeys are also popular for what we call 'marabou' and generic 'saddle hackle.' You'll find more information about those here.
And don't make fun of turkeys . . . we like them!!