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Whats the best hackle?

Started by Fire-Fly, June 02, 2007, 11:24:53 AM

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Fire-Fly

I have started tying some of my own flies recently and was wondering whats the best hackle to buy for tying nymphs and dries, i have looked at the 100 packs, that is sized for a specific size, would that be the best for someone starting out? Any help would be appreciated.


troutphisher

Fire:

It depends on the types of flies you want to tie, you indicated nymphs and drys. Saddles are a good choice to tie both patterns. Saddles Generally have several size feathers depending of the grade or class. A silver grade saddle will have good feathers for hackle in the 14 down 18 size, and cost around $40 bucks. I use Whiting farms by Hoffman's. I try to check the hackle before I buy them, to make sure the quills are fairly even in length on both sides.

A cape is good, if you are going to tie many different patterns, including streamers.
Capes generally have feather in a wide range, from 6 to size 20, but not as many of each size.

I also buy the three packs from Cabela's, I use them for tailing material. Capes also provide good hackle for tails, but the three packs are cheaper.

Their are other hackle feather suppliers out there. I have just mentioned the companies I prefer.

hope this helps
TP

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Fire-Fly

troutphisher: That does help alot, most of what i would be tying would be size 14 and under, also do you know much about the 100 packs that i mentioned. Also would you use a cheap grade of hackle for tying streamers and nymphs.


Woolly Bugger

Quote from: Fire-Fly on June 02, 2007, 12:58:43 PM

troutphisher: That does help alot, most of what i would be tying would be size 14 and under, also do you know much about the 100 packs that i mentioned. Also would you use a cheap grade of hackle for tying streamers and nymphs.

100's are great if you're tying a bunch of the same size dry fly. They are all pretty much one size.....

No need to use those fine hackles on nymphs though. Lots of diversity in a cape or 1/2 cape.... Top grade will put you into the small fly range...

Go to the fly shop a take a look at the different hackles, necks capes and saddle to get a feel for what your buying.....

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troutphisher

Fire,

Yes I would use the cheap grade hackles for streamers, Woolly buggers and woolly worm types. You can buy the strung hackles pretty cheap, but they are also very big. I use just the tips for palmered hackle on the two flies mentioned above. You can also use the strung hackles for tailing material on dries, another cheap alternative in my opinion.

If your going to be tying flies 14 and smaller, buy the saddle hackles. They will get you the most feathers in those sizes, plus have a few on the sides of the saddle for some streamer type patterns. Again this is just my opinion.

I try to get the most function for the money, and saddles fit this requirement.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

calebB

More important than using cheap hackle on your nymphs and streamers is using high quality (Whiting) hackle on your dry flies.  You can use any kind of hackle except when it comes to dries.  I have used many different brands and have come back to whiting. o-o  You get what you pay for.

Caleb


phg

June 03, 2007, 20:24:39 PM #6 Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 08:50:32 AM by phg

A very complicated subject.  Everyone has their own preferences.

I do use Whiting 100's for some flies, especially palmered flies, because of the high barb count and consistency.  For dryflies, though, I prefer feathers from a cape.  The saddles are too dense and tend to have a bit more curve to them.  A good cape hackle has a thinner barb and a bit fewer barbs per inch, allowing a few more turns around the fly and better distribution of the hackle.

Whiting, of course, has very good capes, but I have also used Metz, Keough, and Collins capes.  I think the Collins capes give the most bang for the buck right now, but they're all pretty good.  As troutphisher suggested, though, you really want to handle the neck before you buy it.  Even the best brands sometimes let an inferior neck slip by quality control.


troutphisher

Fire;

You can also use hen hackle for legs on nymphs. Hen hackle is cheaper than rooster (dry hackle).
I am starting to see mixed colors also, they are selling 1/2 saddles, and put two halfs together of different colors.
These are also good buys. A saddle will last a long time. I have only gone through two saddles in 10 years.
If you are planning to tie flies just for yourself, then the 1/2 or 1/4 saddles and capes are a good choice, and priced occordingly.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

streamer

Fire.....
As you mentioned, a beginning tyer would probably benefit from the Whiting 100's just because they are already sized for you, and you get a lot of quality hackle for the $$$. The Metz micro barb super saddles are a  good price, too, for lots of long and similarly sized feathers. If you go for a neck or 1/2 neck, the spade hackles that are located on the outside edge at the mid-point of the neck are excellent for tailing dry flies and for streamer wings as well.
The fluffy stuff at the base of each hackle feather (philoplumes) is great for wing cases and soft hackles. When you strip it or snip it off while preparing your dry fly hackles, just stuff the soft fluff into a baggie. Then tie your nymphs and emergers from that material to match the dry flies you just finished tying.

And practicepracticepractice.

Streamer

Remember...We all live downstream.

flyman

It is hard to believe how much better hackle has gotten in the last 20 years. All the brands talked about produce good hackle. You need 2 types of entirely different hackle for drys vs wet and nymphs. I personally like capes for most dries. The type and grade is up to your budget. A bronze or grade 3 neck that is 1/2 brown & 1/2 grizzly is a good way to start. For nymphs and wet flies I like JV hen necks from Conranch. They send you the JV hen neck and the saddle for about $20. The neck will tie smaller wet flies and nymphs, and the saddles will take of the WB and streamers. Lot of feathers for the money.

http://www.conranch.com/index.html

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