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Confused on feather selections. HELP


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29 replies to this topic

#1 kyblev

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 01:20 PM

New to tying, and I'm trying to understand different grades of feathers, and what they are used for i.e. rooster saddles, rooster capes, hackles, hen capes, barred, micro barred, sizing, grades ect.  I've been shopping on line and man can some of these can be expensive, especially if you purchase the wrong ones. Need help.  I will be tying mainly midges, nymphs, emergers and dry, all sizes 8-24.  What type of feathers, grades and sizes should I be looking at. Help me out here folks if you can, because this can be very confusing.



#2 Flicted

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 01:46 PM

The expensive ones are the ones you need.

Seriously, there are different uses for all types of hackle. An explanation would be a huge post. In a nutshell, saddle hackle (used for wings on streamers and hackle on wooly buggers for example)is usually longer and webbier and a little softer than cape hackle (used on dry fly hackle and tails). Hen hackle is broader, rounded, webby, and soft. Usually used for wet flies.

#3 chugbug27

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 02:03 PM

If you've got $100 to spend on feathers...

Once you're ready to dive in to tying hackled dries get a whiting intro pack in brown, grizzly, dun and ginger (if they have the pack in those 4 colors, if not, get as many of those colors including grizzly as you can). Once you are ready for soft subsurface fly hackle, and a premium Hungarian partridge skin for legs, tails, and most of all soft hackle.

Whiting has amazing dry fly hackle; the necks get you all those sizes, is just a peach to use, and will last you a long time.

There are other game birds that are less expensive than the partridge, but the mix of mottled browns and grays and the quality of the soft hackle are great and easy to accommodate oodles of different subsurface patterns.

You'll also want some peacock eyes and some natural pheasant tails. And some well mottled turkey feathers. They're inexpensive and just used all over the place.

If you want dry fly tailing feathers that work really well to match the quality of your whiting dry hackle you'll like a pardo (that's the color) coq de Leon tailing pack.

All the other feathers can wait until you need it for a pattern. For instance, you'll buy maybe a package of biots, white and a brown, when you tie up prince nymphs, Marabou when you tie a wooly bugger, etc.

You can also wait on the dry and soft hackle and buy only what you need when you need it, but once you get there my advice would be spring for the whiting intro pack (half skins) and the premium Hungarian partridge (whole, or half if you're gun shy).

There are some great articles and videos on the subject posted on other threads on this site.

Just one opinion, and I don't have decades of tying experience like many on the site. But I've been there and that's what my own lesson was.
cb27

#4 kyblev

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 02:30 PM

Make sense, I was just shopping on the Feather Emporium, and he has some trial sizes available.  Seem like a really good site.



#5 chugbug27

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 02:36 PM

Couldn't help you there. My advice is the whiting intro pack.
cb27

#6 vicente

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 04:33 PM

They're have been some pretty serious complaints about the feather emporiums customer service, like paying for something and not getting it and not having it resolved.

I am just using the grab bag from Collins hackle farm they work fine for me and 4 different colors of dry fly hackle for 60 bucks is great, Whiting are nicer but it wasn't worth the cost to me.

#7 feathers5

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 04:39 PM

Stay away from Feather Emporium. My buddy just got ripped off by him.



#8 Charlie P. (NY)

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 09:38 PM

External_anatomy_rooster.PNG

 

Saddles are the long and wide feathers where, if you rode chickens, you would sit.  The Hackles and neck are longer, thinner, stiffer fiber feathers (for keeping small dry flies dry).  Shoulders and backs are the "spade" feathers that are wider and rounded but not very long.

 

First I would recommend you decide specifically what flies you want to tie.  No sense spending $99 on a light dun cape when you needed a dark dun cape.

 

Second, wet flies and nymphs do fine with the much cheaper "Indian " necks and even hen necks.  Probably better, in fact.

 

Anything over size 14 you can do in a grade 2 ("Pro") neck.

 

Saddles 4" to 6" (thick web feathers) are for wings on streamers or bass/saltwater flies or wet fly hackles or palmering larger flies.

 

I'd been using Metz necks for years and someone showed me a Whiting neck.  I'm a "parsimonius curmudgeon" and I can get three flies out of one hackle from a Whiting!


   Not that Pearsall

 

Pearsalls_logo.gif


#9 Jaydub

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 09:51 PM

For dry flies you want good quality rooster hackle. The hackle provides flotation. Good rooster hackle has little to no web and the fibers are stiff. Whiting, Collins, Metz, Keough are a few growers of roosters bred specifically for dry fly hackle. A dry fly saddle has long feathers in a limited range of sizes. You may be able to tie several flies from a single Whiting saddle feather. A cape or neck has shorter feathers but a for a wider range of hook sizes.

 

For wet flies or nymphs, hen hackle or lower quality rooster hackle work better. The fibers are soft and provide movement. Game bird hackles such as Partridge are also very useful.



#10 vicente

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 10:29 PM

Stay away from Feather Emporium. My buddy just got ripped off by him.


Pretty much what I was getting at.

#11 Mike West

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Posted 08 March 2019 - 10:58 PM

https://www.google.c.....1.U72erskG_LA

#12 Poopdeck

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 08:26 AM

I tie 70% nymphs, 25% streamers and 5% dry flies. I bought two whiting 100 packs and one Orvis intro pack that has four half capes. So I have about 80 bucks wrapped up in dry fly feathers. I have had them for about four years and I suspect they will last me another four years or longer They go a long way. I buy the bugger packs or cheap strung hackle to satisfy my saddle hackle needs. I always have a partridge and a pheasant skin on hand.

I don't collect feathers and have no need for every conceivable color, size and grading. You can go crazy with feathers but you don't have to either. Identify your needs and spend your cash appropriately.

#13 spiralspey

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 07:11 PM

I tell beginners not to worry too much about necks and saddles, they're primarily for dry flies. If you do want to tie dries, though, start with a mid or lower grade neck or a half neck. Necks have a variety of feather sizes so you can tie anything from a size 24 up to size 4, while saddles have mostly feathers of only a couple sizes. Even the lower grade feathers are fine for most dries, especially if you're tying parachutes or palmered hackle flies like elk caddis. For colors in my area I use grizzly, dark dun, and brown, but I'd be fine if all I had was grizzly.

For emergers and nymphs you can usually do fine with soft webby feathers like pheasant tail, partridge, peacock herl, and marabou. If you want to tie buggers or streamer a few bags of strung saddle hackles will do nicely. No need to go crazy, just a few useful colors will do fine, too, most bugs are brown, olive, or some combination.

#14 SilverCreek

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 09:27 PM



New to tying, and I'm trying to understand different grades of feathers, and what they are used for i.e. rooster saddles, rooster capes, hackles, hen capes, barred, micro barred, sizing, grades ect.  I've been shopping on line and man can some of these can be expensive, especially if you purchase the wrong ones. Need help.  I will be tying mainly midges, nymphs, emergers and dry, all sizes 8-24.  What type of feathers, grades and sizes should I be looking at. Help me out here folks if you can, because this can be very confusing.

 

Read my this post on grading hackle.

 

http://www.flytyingf...6&st=0#msg61965

 

Since I can grade hackle, I NEVER buy a neck or saddle that I have not personally graded. I mainly grad and buy Whiting "Pro" grade necks and saddles that are the lowest grade sold. Modern saddles and necks are so good that even the pro grade ties good flies. Plus I can buy a saddle or hackle that I think has been under graded and therefore is a bargain. I can also see and feel the hackle and spend a lot of time to buy the best that I can find in the  grade I want.

 

All fly tying material that are natural vary in quality even if they are "graded" the same grade. Why buy an average or below average quality neck or saddle of a particular grade when you can buy the best of that grade that is in the fly shop.

 

Here is a good article about hackle:

 

http://www.flyfishfo...omparisons.html

 

Note that the bargain is the "Pro" grade. Hebert Miner is a Whiting Brand that has generally has larger hackle. If you want to tie 12s and 14s, a Hebert Saddle with hackle in that size will be easier to find than a Whiting Hackle.

 

46609989234_ca1814a5a2_c.jpg

 

The best shop is Jims Fly Company.

 

https://jimsflyco.com/Default.aspx

 


Regards,

Silver

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#15 flytire

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 06:50 AM

feathers2.gif

 

understanding feathers

 

http://www.eflytyer....s/feathers.html

 

 

25841000-2T.jpg

 

$64.99 @ https://store.flyfis...-p/25841000.htm

 

 

Poor quality materials and tools are destined to discourage beginner tiers and cause greater expense when the time comes to replace them.


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