04-04-2003, 02:07 PM
I am interested in tying mostly size 12-16 dry flies and would like to buy hackle in colors such as grizzly, brown, and blue dun. What type of hackle would best serve my purpose? What about quality of hackle?
Cabela's sells packets of three different colored sections of Metz dry fly hackle that can be used to tie approximately 200 flies in sizes 12-16 for $24.95. Is this good quality hackle for a good price? Whiting also sells packages of saddle feathers for various size dry flies. They normall include enough hackle to tie 100 flies and sell for about $10 per pack.
I would like to buy several different colors of quality hackle, but do not need or can I afford to buy three different colored, whole rooster necks. Any advice on purchasing dry fly hackle?
04-05-2003, 12:20 AM
The best buy on the market for quality dry fly hackle are #3 grade necks that sell for around #25.00 to $35.00. This is what I buy and it is what nearly all commercial/professional tyers such as A.K. Best and Al Troth buy as well. The reason for this is simple, unless you are tying a lot of flies in size #18 to 24, the #1 necks are a waste of money. The #3 necks are mostly composed of #12 to 16 hackles and these are the most used sizes for dry flies too. Keep in mind that #3 necks do not have inferior dry fly hackle on them, they just have very few of the really small ones.
The next best value for the dollar after the #3 necks is the Whiting hackle packs that sell for about $10.00 each. (This is what Cabella's is selling; but they can be found at most any good fly shop for the same price)
These are followed by the Metz 3 packs composed of three colors of hackle, and they sell for around $25.00 (This is also what Cabella's is selling, and they can be found at most any good fly shop for the same price as well.)
The bottom line is why spend $70.00 or more for a #1 grade neck or Whiting saddle when you don't need to. The #3 neck has a larger variety of sizes and a greater number of the most used #12 to #16 hackle.
04-05-2003, 04:56 PM
As usual, you've already been given some solid advice by flytyer. The only thing I can add is that if anyone has the opportunity to visually inspect the hackle before purchase (not doable via catalog), then do so. Many hackles of a given grade cape can be higher or lower in grade than the overall cape is, so there's potential of being shorted or gaining extra depending on the situation.
04-05-2003, 05:46 PM
Originally posted by Dble Haul
... if anyone has the opportunity to visually inspect the hackle before purchase (not doable via catalog), then do so. Many hackles of a given grade cape can be higher or lower in grade than the overall cape is, so there's potential of being shorted or gaining extra depending on the situation.
Dble Haul is 1000% correct, particularly when it comes to Cabela's own hackles! I have purchased quite a few of these, and either love them or hate them; twice I had ordered two saddles of the same color and gotten two completely different looking results, one was great, the other just plain sucked (i.e. coloration, in this case of grizzly hackles, was mostly black and very blotchy rather than a "true" grizzly coloration). I now get my saddles from a local FF shop for only $5 or so more than I can get them from Cabela's for, which is essentially what shipping costs me and therefore I come out the same in terms of money spent. When I need a color they don't normally stock, they simply order it for me and I get it within 2 weeks, again for the Cabela's price plus $5. I have always gotten great hackles from them when I've had to custom order, and therefore I trust them implicitly. After all, these are guys that make a living on fly fishing, and know their trade much better than the guy stuffing boxes in the warehouse for Cabela's. I still order a lot of materials from Cabela's, but not hackles.