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Dry Fly Hackle – Rooster Capes vs. Saddles

When it comes to dry fly hackle, both capes and saddles from roosters have the feathers you want to use. It’s important that these are from a rooster and not a hen. Hen feathers aren’t the best for dry flies as they’re shorter feathers with webby fibers; however, they’re great for soft hackles and streamers. 

Rooster Cape

Rooster Capes come from the neck area of a rooster. These capes provide the tyer with many different size feathers all on the same pelt. Towards the top of the cape, the feathers are small and great for flies in the #20-#26 range. As you make your way down the cape, the feathers increase in size, up to the #12-#14 range. The variety of sizes make capes ideal for the tyers who plan on tying several different sizes of flies.

Capes are also used for tying dry fly wings and collars due to their softness and consistent length, contributing to a well-proportioned and balanced fly.

Rooster Saddle

Rooster Saddles come from the back area of a rooster. Saddles produce long, uniform feathers that are fantastic for dry flies. These feathers are generally much longer than the feathers from a cape, which means you can tie several flies with the same feather! Typical saddles will have feathers ranging from size #12-16, with some saddles having feathers down to a size #18. 

Saddles typically produce feathers that are great for larger dry flies, sizes #12-#16. However, Whiting has a line of Midge Saddles that have feathers in #18-#22 range.

Rooster Saddles have much longer feathers compared to capes. Tie several flies with 1 feather!

What makes Whiting Farms the absolute BEST hackle on the market?

  1. Genetic Stock: Whiting Farms is known for its selective breeding and genetic stock. They have invested in developing specific strains of chickens that produce feathers with desirable qualities for fly tying, such as long, straight fibers, consistent barbule length, and vibrant colors.
  2. Consistent Quality: Whiting Farms is reputed for providing consistent and high-quality hackle. Fly tyers value uniformity in hackle feathers to ensure that their flies have a consistent appearance and performance. 
  3. Innovation: The company has been at the forefront of innovation in the fly-tying industry. They have introduced new products and techniques to enhance the quality of their hackle, such as the introduction of the Coq de Leon (CDL) line, which features feathers from a specific Spanish breed known for its unique properties.
  4. Range of Products: Whiting Farms offers a wide range of hackle products, catering to various needs and preferences of fly tyers. This includes different feather sizes, colors, and styles, allowing fly tyers to find the right match for their specific patterns.

Shop all hackle here

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