A Brief History Genetic Hackle

eastfly66

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For many of you this is old news but I found it interesting and informative and thought perhaps new tyers or old farts like myself that never really gave much thought to where or how our hackle came to be might find it interesting. It also contains impartial comments regarding the strong points of various breeders. Most interesting is the dramatic change in quality across the board from all breeders in what I consider to be a relatively short period of time.

 
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silver creek

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The downside of genetic hackle is that as the saddle hackles have gotten longer, the have become smaller in size. So I still have to go back to my older Metz saddles for feathers with longer hackle fibers.

Anyone else notice this?
 

trev

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I think the saddles I have with larger feathers are mostly Keough, one might be Metz
I have a couple of the last Hoffman saddles, bought when I heard he'd sold out thinking that, like many others before, the line would be lost under the new owner, and even at that time the saddle feathers were limited to mostly small flies. There were many more breeders in the '70s-80s than were mentioned in the essay, and it seems to me that duns, furnace and badger were a lot more common.
 

jajohn

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I agree. For good dry fly hackle, its hard to find saddle or neck hackle larger than size 12, let alone good spade hackle. I still have a limited supply of old Al's grizzly necks which I can dye that have good large hackle. I long for the days when you could go through a barrel of India necks and pick out the ones with good dry fly hackle that could tie up nice variants and spiders. You could also get good tailing hackle and the right color for streamers without dyeing them. Oh well, the price you pay for being able to buy really quality genetic hackle for smaller dry flies!
 
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