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Old 05-21-2010, 10:36 AM
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Default Hackle Confusion...

Hey all,

New to tying flies and already have garnered a wealth of information from this site, but one thing still has me a little boggled...

I'm going through all these different fly tying patterns, and when it comes to "hackle," some just say, "cream," or "light dun," or "brown." Now when I get over to feather-craft.com or a similar site, I'm finding all different sorts of hackles: some strung, CDC, etc. How am I to tell which one I need for each pattern, if all I'm to go by is the color? Granted, some patterns specifically say "brown partridge" or something specific, but this seems to be more uncommon.

Can you use CDC feathers for dry flies?

How do I tell which kind of hackle I need for each pattern?

Thanks in advance, as I'm sure the answer to this question is more obvious than it seems.

Gusto
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Old 05-21-2010, 11:07 AM
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Default Re: Hackle Confusion...

Gusto, when tying dries you will use rooster necks or saddles. I would suggest buying Whiting 100 packs in the size and color you will use the most.

For soft hackles look for partridge.

I'm sure you will get more detailed answers then what I posted for you.

Dan
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Hackle Confusion...

Hey Gusto,
As Dan said, you will tie most of your dry flies with rooster capes or saddles. Another commonly used material for drys is deer or elk hair. As for colors, I have grizzly, brown, light ginger, medium dun and white(all capes). These colors cover most of the flies I will need to tie. You can also mix colors. For example, the Adams uses grizzly and brown.

As for CDC, you mostly only use it for emergers. I haven't come across to many dry fly patterns that use CDC.

For some good info go to my profile, click on statistics and look at some of the threads I started about hackle.

-Bobby
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Old 05-21-2010, 01:51 PM
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Default Re: Hackle Confusion...

Thanks,

I never reailzed there was so much tying flies!

Yikes!



Gusto
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Old 05-21-2010, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Hackle Confusion...

Agree w/Dan, it's Rooster Saddles you'll be looking for. Necks are an excellent option if you tie a WIDE RANGE of sizes, but options like the Whiting 100-pack, some of which come in a combination of colors now and also are sized, allow you the most "bang for the buck". One saddle hackle will generally tie anywhere between 3-6 flies, depending on how heavily you hackle.

CDC is used for dries- as a body hackle, an underwing on Trude flies, or even a sas face hackle in some limited applications, but tying with CDC is a bit more advanced technique and takes some time to learn. There are simple CDC dries, but not many. If you fish in areas where your fish aren't too picky and you're not trying to match the hatch, there's even a dry you can tie that uses 2 CDC feathers and thread only... doesn't get much simpler than that, but you need fast water, hungry fish, and overcast skies for it to be successful.

If you know other tiers in your area, or if there's a club, sign up and go and it's not uncommon for folks to be willing to be willing to 'share' some materials with you- you can probably get a few neck/saddle hackles here and there and then try them out for yourself and THEN invest some money. Whiting are the best, Keough, Ewing and Metz aren't bad... but don't waste your money on cheap saddles hoping they'll be better than their price.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Hackle Confusion...

Hey Stimmy, welcome to the forum. Good first post!

Gusto-

What material to use on what fly pattern can be really confusing. And of all materials hackle is probably the most confusing--- it can also be very expensive.

This forum is a great place to ask if you have questions about materials--- just let us know what you're tying and folks can point you in the right direction. After awhile you'll get your head around different materials and their qualities and uses in different types of patterns. But getting back to hackle...

... The key qualities of hackle are barb softness/stiffness and length of the individual barbs. (There are other important qualities as well including flexibility of the stem, the overall length of the feather etc.)

Barbs that are soft and webby are used on wet flies and streamers. Hackle with stiff barbs are used on dry flies.

And all hackle isn't created equal--- some have short "soft" "webby" barbs that are used for wet flies like soft hackles and winged wets. These are often from game birds like partridge, starling, or from (chicken) hen capes.

Some patterns like woolly buggers in hook sizes 8-12 use hackle with longer soft webby barbs. These are usually rooster saddle feathers referred to as bugger patches or bugger saddles. Strung hackle can also be used, but the barbs tend to be longer and are more suited for larger hook sizes.

When referring to dry fly patterns, hackle refers to genetic roosters bred especially for their dry fly quality hackle- thin flexible easy to wrap stems and stiff barbs of uniform length. These feathers are considerably more expensive than the imported strung hackle which are feathers from birds raised for their meat.

Both capes (also called necks) and saddles from genetic birds can be dry fly quality, with some breeders like Whiting strong in both. Other breeders are stronger in capes. These can be expensive, and are usually sold in different grades. Many companies that sell genetic hackle (Metz, Conranch, Collins) use a 1,2,3, grading system. Whiting red label products and Whiting Green label (their Hebert Miner line) use Gold, Silver, Bronze, Pro Grades. Whiting 100’s are made from saddle feathers, and a pack will tie approximately 100 flies in one size and one color for about 18.00
Here’s a link to an old thread that might help:

Rooster Necks vs Saddles Uses, and Selecting from a Neck

Keep asking questions, I'm sure for every one you ask there are several others out there with the same ones.
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Mark
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Old 05-24-2010, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Hackle Confusion...

Thanks Mark-

Actually I was "here" years and years ago and just re-joined. I setup a Fly Tying Yahoo Group about a decade ago that I ran swaps through that consisted of people from the old USENET Fly Tying List. The Group went through ebbs and flows, and has become relatively dead these days, but at one time we had a robust group of 40-50 tyers and rod builders, including Harry Mason, Martin Westbeek (CDC and Elk) and Tony Spezio (Chili Pepper, Tony's Froggie) involved.

Larry

Last edited by stimmy7; 05-24-2010 at 02:23 PM.
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