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Old 01-24-2011, 06:47 PM
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Default Indian Rooster Neck????

Ok, so I've been reading up on this "Indian Rooster Neck", and it says it is a great choice for dry hackle, very stiff barbs, but short feathers. Would anyone share on what they know? Also, I mainly tie nymphs, and would really appreciate on what is the best all around hackle size for dries tie on a size 14 or 16?
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

Hey driftless--

I think you'd be disappointed with indian capes for dries-- especially for size 14 and 16 sized flies.

Indian capes are inexpensive, and while you may find some feathers that could be used for dry flies, realize that these birds are not bred for fly tying- but are meat birds.

The actual size of the cape itself is very small compared to "genetic" dry fly hackle ( from birds specifically bred for dry fly quality feathers). In addition, while the overall length of the feathers are short on Indian capes, the length of the actual barbs tend to be long-- generally more suitable for size 10 or 12 and larger. Generally, when people talk about "size" of feathers for dry flies, they are talking about barb length not overall length ofg the feather itself. The proportions of most dry flies calls for a feather with barbs about 1 1/2 or 2x the distance of the hook gap.

In addition, the stems of feathers from Indian capes tend to be thicker and stiffer making them more difficult to wrap than genetic feathers and more prone to twisting.

Here's a pic for comparison of 3 genetic capes from different breeders and 2 Indian capes.

From left, Whiting Bronze Grade dark barred ginger, Collins Hackle Grade 3 Dark Barred Ginger, Metz Grade 3 Light Ginger, 2 Indian capes

Click the image to open in full size.

Depending on what size range you'd like to tie, I would opt for a Whiting Hebert Miner Pro Grade cape for about $30 for flies in a range of sizes from 20-10, or a Whiting Bronze Grade 1/2 Saddle, for flies mostly sized 14-16. Note although WHiting now owns Hebert Miner, they are marketed witha green whiting label to signify that they are from a different genetic line of birds than the traditional Whiting dry fly birds (with a red label).

Saddles will generally carry a much more limited range of sizes than capes. Typically Whitings (red label) are strongest in 14 and 16, while other lines of birds (including whiting's hebert miner saddles) might run mostly 10-12 or 12-14. It is always a good idea to check the sizes of the feathers before you buy, either yourself if you have a local shop, opr from a knowledgeable salesperson (as opposed to buying sight unseen from a big box store).

Alternatively you could spend $60 for four 1/2 capes in a Whiting introductory pack (specify one with medium dun, light ginger, medium brown and grizzly). This would give you a range of sizes for flies in the most popular colors to match most hatches you'll run into.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:41 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

Thanks! So the indian hackle isnt worth the money at all?
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

driftless,

Mark has made good points in regard to your question but you may not want to go so far as to think that they don't offer a value to the fly tier. There is always a place for a few Game Cock capes. When I started tying flies there were no Metz necks or any of the other breeders that have came on the tying scene in the past 30 years. You had to know someone who was 'connected' to find big capes that resulted from genetic selection. The Indian capes usually have enough small feathers to make it to a #14 but you may have to become adept at using two hackles to fill out the collar on the patterns. I love them for streamer wings and use them almost exclusively for this type of fly. They (Indian capes) are out there in some great natural colors also, hard to find old fashioned stuff like 'Furnace, Coch Y Bondhu, Golden Edged Badger' and many more of the feathers used in the patterns of days gone by are all to be found on the Indian Game Cock capes.

As you build an inventory of tying materials you may be pleased if you do not over look this source of value based diversity in your feather drawers. If you are more inclined to tie mostly small dries you will no doubt fine the Metz, Hoffman, or Whiting capes to be your material of choice for the application. For nymphs the skins of the Ring Necked pheasant can offer up a wealth of long soft hackles and the Indian hen capes can shine when used for nymphs and soft hackle wet flies. So if you have access to the Indian capes I would handle as many as you can just to see what you may be able to fine that may serve some needs for 6 - 7 dollars each. I once bought a grab bag of 25 capes for 30 dollars and was pleased with the contents. So, look for a deal on quantity or if you must by by the individual cape hope to be able to hand pick them.

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Old 01-24-2011, 10:07 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

Quote:
Originally Posted by driftlessman View Post
Thanks! So the indian hackle isnt worth the money at all?
Not necessarily. Like the guys above said even though the stem is probably too stiff to wrap, and the barbs too long to tie dries there are a lot of other uses. It seems to me that it's getting hard to find tailing material in the spade area of a cape. I'll reach for the old Indian necks, and usually find some. I also use them for a lot of legs (side or beard style) on nymphs. Plus, some of the colors (mottling) are better than the expensive capes.
I didn't know that they can run 6-7 dollars. I wouldn't spend that for one. Maybe 2-3 dollars which is what they used to sell for out of the barrel at our old fly shop.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:08 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

I have about 10 of these capes if you want to tie drys dont buy them
I use them for wets and streamers, the barbs are weak and weeby and they wont float long (typically on dries I have tied with them they needed 3-5 feathers for the collar).

Not worth it for dries as there is plenty of better available cheap enough (that will be easer to use), but if you can get a cree, or any other hard to get colour you should think about getting it (they sell cree some times for 7-30 NZD) as Ard said they are great for streamers

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Old 01-24-2011, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

I agree with the Ard and Jimmie and Chris-- they do have some uses and are certainly cheap enough. i use them mostly for claws on shrimp and crabs and for streamer wings. If you have a local shop that carries them, it would be helpful to sort through them before you buy-- hopefully with the help of knowledgeable staff that can help select a decent one or two that could tie some dries.

The quality of genetic dry fly hackle has gotten so good lately that there's really no comparison though for dries. I took a hackle gauge out after i took the pic and measured feathers on the two indian necks-- As Ard says they will tie down to a size 14-- but the feather for a size 14 is about 2 " long, of which the bottom 1" is webby and not dry fly quality, leaving 1" of useable feather to wrap for a dry fly. You'd probably need 2 of these feathers for a fly. Compared to a genetic feather from a cape that would tie 1-3 flies depending on grade, or a genetic saddle feather that would tie 4-9 flies per feather, again depending on grade. In addition to being longer in overall length, these "genetic" feathers will have more useable length in stiff barbs, greater barb density, and perhaps the most important quality-- an easy to wrap, thin, flexible stem.

If you'd like to se the difference in a couple different feathers send me your address in a PM and I'll send you a few feathers to play with.

Also check in on the Fly Tying FAQ section-- I'm up dating the thread on "what are the different types of hackle?" and will be adding to it periodically over the next week or so.

Keep asking questions!
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:57 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

peregrines (or anyone else that cares to answer),

Since I started tying I've been tying mostly nymphs, emergers, and simiseal leaches, but I started trying some dries.

I recently went shopping for some hackle to try out some dries and I was trying to remember your post in the hackle sticky but couldn't remember everything.

I wanted to try local favorite dries and others, mostly in 14 - 18. I saw the whiting 100 packs for $18, but instead bought a Metz #2 saddle for $23 which just seemed like it would give me a better range for dries and cheaper than having to buy 3 packs of the whiting 100s. I haven't tried them yet since I've been busy with flies for the fly swaps. Did I make a good choice?
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:34 AM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

Mudbug--

I haven't used Metz saddles much, but as i recall they come in two flavors--

Metz saddles- which are mostly softer feathers for woolly buggers with some feathers with stiffer hackle for larger dry flies mostly size 14 and 12 or 12 and 10 or so dependinh on th saddle

and

Metz "Microbarb" saddles-- these have feathers with shorter stiff barbs for dry flies size ranging from 12-16.

You'll want to check out the feathers to get a sense of the size of the feathers by checking the length of the barbs.

If you have a hackle gauge (Griffin makes a handy one for about $5) you can use it by bending a feather around the pin on the gauge and reading where it falls against the concetric rings on the gauge.

Or...

Put a known size hook-- say a 14--- in the vise and bend a long saddle feather that's attached somewhere near the top of the saddle around the shank--- you'll see that the barbs will radiate around the hook. Check the length of the barbs compared to the hook gap--- If the barbs are roughly 1 1/2 to 2x the distance of the gap they should be a good match for the hook for a dry fl;y to keep it in proportion. If the hackle is much longer or shorter, try a few other hooks of known size until you have a good idea of the size of the feathers on the saddle.

(Regardless of the type of saddle you bought, you'll probably find some feathers at the bottom of the saddle that are very webby called schlappen feathers that would be good for larger sized hooks for buggers or streamer patterns)

You can even leave the feather on the saddle and just bend it around a hook (in a vise).

And mudbug, you're welcome to a few feathers to try too-- send me your address in a PM and i'll send a few different dry fly cape and saddle feathers for you to try.
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Old 01-25-2011, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Indian Rooster Neck????

Quote:
Originally Posted by peregrines View Post
As Ard says they will tie down to a size 14-- but the feather for a size 14 is about 2 " long, of which the bottom 1" is webby and not dry fly quality, leaving 1" of useable feather to wrap for a dry fly. You'd probably need 2 of these feathers for a fly. Compared to a genetic feather from a cape that would tie 1-3 flies depending on grade, or a genetic saddle feather that would tie 4-9 flies per feather, again depending on grade. In addition to being longer in overall length, these "genetic" feathers will have more useable length in stiff barbs, greater barb density, and perhaps the most important quality-- an easy to wrap, thin, flexible stem.
I think the critical comment in the above quote is about the stems. There is no comparison, and many of the 'Indian capes' will have more brittle, as well as thicker stems. If you need to use two feathers to get enough density, that means you'd need more hook length as well so you'll be crowding your head area.

There's no question that genetic hackle is much more expensive for the initial purchase, but getting 3-6 flies out of one saddle feather or as many as 2 from a cape feather starts to even the cost out pretty quickly.

'Indian capes' do have their place in tying. As mentioned by others, they're great for crawdad claws, Matuka wings, nymphs, wets, streamers, etc. ... but other than wings and tailing, not of much use for dry flies under size 14.

---------- Post added at 02:43 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:34 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudbug View Post
I wanted to try local favorite dries and others, mostly in 14 - 18. I saw the whiting 100 packs for $18, but instead bought a Metz #2 saddle for $23 which just seemed like it would give me a better range for dries and cheaper than having to buy 3 packs of the whiting 100s. I haven't tried them yet since I've been busy with flies for the fly swaps. Did I make a good choice?
For less expensive than Whiting alternatives, you can look at Collins, Metz, the Featehr Emporium and even Cabelas 'house brand' saddles. As peregrines stated, without gauging the hackles for size, it'll be tough to tell what you're getting and with shipping prices being what they are (and some sellers having pretty picky return policies) it's tough to know what you're going to get unless you can actually see, touch, and gauge them before buying.
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