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Old 08-15-2008, 06:44 PM
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Default Collins Hackle Farm

Hi All,

I am just starting to tie dry flies. I have already done some research on Whiting, Metz and Keough necks and saddles. During my research I ran across a recommendation on another website for Collins Hackle Farm. Has anyone used or heard of them? They sell the necks and saddles at no extra charge. Since they have no website its all word of mouth.


Scott
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Old 08-16-2008, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: Collins Hackle Farm

Smith-

The Collins hackle has some great feathers. It's a small operation, and he sells a lot of them at fly fishing shows. There tends to be a limited selection of stuff at any one time. Collins and Herbert Miner (now owned by Whiting) are popular among guys that tie Catskill style dries. The Collins stuff is sold in a few shops online. If you google "Collins Hackle" you'll see places like Catskill Flies in NY and Great Feathers in MD, and I think a couple shops in PA stock them as well. They may have more info on their web sites about them. Perhaps you could contact them, or Charlie, and talk a bit over the phone to see if they have what you are looking for, in terms of colors and size range.

He breeds his birds primarily for the necks, which will tie down to smaller sizes 18-20 with some tying down into 22-24s. A lot of his birds have all kinds of barring and splashing in the colors, which I find to be good looking and very "buggy". His necks may not have as many feathers, and the length of the feathers may not be as long as a Whiting, and his saddles generally run in larger sizes than a comparable Whiting, but his neck + saddle is a very good value and you'll get a lot of good stuff to tie a range of sizes.

Another operation that you may want to check out is Conranch Hackle. They do have a web site, and the owners, Denny and Liz are great folks. You can talk to them over the phone and get exactly what you are looking for, and if you're new to this, they can really help you get the right stuff for what you're tying.

Buying hackle can get really confusing with all the different grades, brands, colors and choices between necks, saddlles, and prices. A lot of it comes down to what sizes, and the #'s of flies you are looking to tie, but for someone starting out you'd probably want to be looking at grades like Pro, Bronze or #3, in capes or saddles, and you can often find 1/2 capes and saddles and 1/4 saddles to consider too. At one point there was a "whiting coop" (co-op) where you could buy a bunch of half necks that was a pretty good deal. You might want to google that to see if they're still going on and take a look.

What sizes you're tying and what colors you're looking for, folks might be able to chime in with some specific recommendations to navigate through all the bewildering choices.

Hope this helps.

peregrines
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Old 08-18-2008, 05:05 AM
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Default Re: Collins Hackle Farm

Peregrines,

Thanks for all the info. I spoke to Dennis Conrad from Conranch last night on line. I just sent him an email with my questions.

Line End is still doing a Whiting co-op. It looks like the packages are about the size of Whiting 100's. The price is very good.

After I here from Dennis I will make my decision. I like the fact that Conranch deals with the end user not just the stores. It will allow me to get what I need not jsut what's stocked.


Scott
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Old 08-18-2008, 10:43 AM
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Default Re: Collins Hackle Farm

Scott-

Denny and Liz are great folks and should be able to help you out. It's great to be able to actually talk to them over the phone, and I'm sure they'll be able to answer any questions as well as make suggestions if you're new to all this based on what you actually intend to tie. (Denny is also a tyer BTW.)

Just as a FYI, many of the Conranch colors are natural, some with solids but many also with all kinds of really "buggy" looking barring that give flies a real lifelike look with a nice sheen. Some of the Whitings, especially the duns, may be dyed and seem kind of flat by comparison. It doesn't make a difference in terms of the quality of the feather and the fish could care less. It's more of an aesthetic thing, but i think it's fair to say many folks would prefer a natural color given the choice.

Charlie also dyes capes in various shades including olive. Since the saddles are given 'free" with cape the saddles aren't dyed. So if for example you ordered a grizzly dyed olive cape, you'd get that along with a grizzly saddle (not dyed).
Good luck. Let us know what you end up with!

peregrines
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Old 02-15-2009, 02:02 PM
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Default Re: Collins Hackle Farm

Quote:
Originally Posted by smith950 View Post
Hi All,

I am just starting to tie dry flies. I have already done some research on Whiting, Metz and Keough necks and saddles. During my research I ran across a recommendation on another website for Collins Hackle Farm. Has anyone used or heard of them? They sell the necks and saddles at no extra charge. Since they have no website its all word of mouth.


Scott
hey there, I have a barred ginger cape from collins. the cape is awesome. real nice to tie with. TONS of good feathers on it. small quill, stiff barbs. does not twist.

They are not super long feathers but are a great value and tie rugged flies that take a beating. Lots of feathers that are on the small side down into the low 20s.
The saddle is not a great saddle but whatever, the necks even if they did not come with the free saddle are a great value.

here's where I rate them compared to the other necks I have
My favorite to tie with are
1 whiting gold or silver but these IMO are over priced and don't have a ton of feathers per sq inch but then again I tie a couple flies from each feather because they do tend to be longer than the others.
2 collins, best value that tie great flies, I like conranch too but they are tend to twist for me more than the collins neck I have. I have 3 conranch necks that rock but I like the collins slightly better
3 herbert miner from whiting very nice, the barbs are sorta soft but still a good feather. pretty long, good count of smaller sizes great value considering they are a whiting product.
4 Metz, these are useable but tend to twist, over priced and I have broken a lot of them. I just don't enjoy using these feathers....

the others, used some others like keogh and ewing, I did not like those one bit and promptly sold and or gave them away.
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Old 02-15-2009, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Collins Hackle Farm

I've been dealing with Collin's for quite a few years. He has some good quality feathers & the price is right. I usually see him at the Somerset FF show & I pick up a few of his sets every year & I have no regrets.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:23 AM
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Default Re: Collins Hackle Farm

I recently ordered four capes direct from Charlie and was so impressed I ordered 8 more.

He has some really nice stuff and is a pleasure to deal with. If you're not sure what you need, just tell him what you'd like to tie and he'll make some suggestions. No pressure, or anything like that. He's very helpful.

I ordered his grade 3 capes for a bit less than 30 bucks each, and they all includes a free saddle. The capes will tie from 12 to 18, but at least all the ones I received will also tie a few 20's, with some a bit smaller, and perhaps will tie 350ish flies per cape?? I haven't made much of a dent in them yet, but will try and keep track and update this thread.

The saddles generally run heaviest in sizes 12-14 and you will get several flies out of each feather- probably 4-6 depending on fly size assuming a traditional 5 wrap catskill type dry fly.

He also sells grades 2 and 1 which will tie more flies and also go down into smaller sizes on the capes for a bit more.

Another thing I noticed is that Charlie is very generous with the trimming of his saddles. There's a lot of spade hackle (short wedge shaped feathers) at the top of the saddle. The barbs are long and stiff and make great tailing for dries.

Great stuff and a real bargain.

His stuff is hard to find in shops, and some that do sell it don't carry the Grade 3's. You can contact Charlie directly at 607-734-1765

Mark
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