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Fly Tying

Neck Hackles

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Thanks folks! I keep some of the various hackle in my supplies. I've found some nice hackles on dry fly saddles sometimes that work fine for flatwing streamers, but that is an exception. I've bought various types of hackle, capes, and saddles mostly, that had feathers that were well suited for purposes other than what I bought them for, but for the most part, that's not something that I count on.

The point is, every feather on a cape, saddle, strung or otherwise, may not be perfect for the purpose which it's sold. Labels are general, but a lot of the time with how hackle is sold now, you're better off buying for the purpose. That means if you are tying dry flies, then buy hackle sold for that purpose. There's very few saddles or capes that are general purpose that might cover the entire range of fly types. As Capt. Bob & I have both said, some types of hackle can be well suited for multiple uses, but those uses are going to be similar for the types of flies being tied.  

The main thing with hackle, is learn what works best, and choose based on the hackle and it's purpose, not necessarily the label. If you buy a Whiting  Platinum Dry Fly cape, you can be certain it's well suited for dry flies. But don't expect it to be a good choice for Tarpon flies, or Spey flies. It simply does not work that way. 

There was a time when folks used what they could get, and as has been mentioned here some tyers even bred their own, for a specific purpose. That's the key, the purpose. Learn the differences as they relate to the purpose, and it's not difficult to select good hackle. 

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