Diary of a Hackle Junkie
I have it bad. It’s a debilitating addiction suffered by many a seasoned fly tier. That’s right, I have a feather jones. The touch and smell of a prime dry fly saddle or cape can drive me to distraction and make me a little light headed.
I want “the most bang for the buck” and the best I can get my hands on. The only product out there that fits the criteria is from Whiting Farms of Delta, Colorado. The mastermind of this operation is Tom Whiting Ph.D., a brilliant poultry geneticist who’s hard work and dedication has brought us tiers the finest feather products in the known cosmos. That is a mighty strong statement, but over the years I have tried with most hackles out there and none compare to Dr. Tom’s.
There are a vast number of different products in the Whiting line, for all tying applications. I use a lot of it, but being a dry fly specialist, I use exclusively necks and saddles from both the Whiting line and Hebert/Minor, another fine Whiting Farms product .
If you chase trout, look in your fly boxes. Take out the giant stuff like Hex and the like and the smallest little midges and other diminutive dry flies. The majority of the remaining flies will be from #12-#18. That leads us to the most wonderful dry fly feather product in the world; Whiting Farms Dry Fly Saddle.
The last one I stripped and sized was a silver grade light (dyed) dun. It had 312 long (4-11 inch) feathers. It had a few #12, a few #18 with the rest in the #14-#18 category. That is pretty typical of this product. There is no other dry fly product out there that has the number of hackles per skin, the length of hackle, the consistency of size down the entire length of the feather, the number of barbules per inch or barbules as stiff. I limit my production tying to flies that I can tie with these exquisite saddles. It is not uncommon to get 7-9 flies per feather. It is a pleasure to tie with them.
The above attributes make Whiting Dry Fly Saddles far and away the best “VALUE” of any feather product. You could spend about the same for the other necks and saddles, but you get a lot less in both quantity and quality for your hard-earned money. I have done several studies over the years including one for another feather grower, and it is more obvious than ever to me that Whiting is a far better product and better value. Spend your money wisely and tie a better fly in the process.
Hats off to Tom Whiting!
Yippee Tie One On