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FlytyerinpaSeptember 20th, 2016, 5:39 pm
Pottsville Pa

Posts: 35
I've been thinking of buying a Whiting Gold Grade Saddle, I'm just not sure what color or size, I'm from eastern PA. possible a med.blue dun ? hoping I can get some input from some of the guys in the group.
MartinlfSeptember 22nd, 2016, 7:59 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2902
I'm not sure saddles come in sizes, but you can't go wrong with a Whiting Gold if you can afford it. Medium dun is a great all around color for many flies.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
Jmd123September 22nd, 2016, 10:13 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2369
I lucked out a few years ago downstate when my local Orvis shop had two Whiting Gold capes, one black and one white, for half-price. I couldn't pass that up!! They are worth the money no matter what you spend on them - all sizes of hackle and nice long web-free feathers, sometimes you can tie two or three flies with one hackle! And as Louis says, medium dun, essentially medium grey, is a very common color for many dry flies (Hendricksons and Red Quills come to mind, grey EHCs, Iso's, etc.). You will get a LOT of use from a Whiting Gold in medium dun.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
RleePSeptember 24th, 2016, 1:06 pm
NW PA - Pennsylvania's Glacial Pothole Wonderland

Posts: 375
Med dun is good color to invest in if you're going to buy a high end saddle like that. Not only (as Louis said..) does it have many applications, but it's always been my experience that (in natural undyed necks and saddles, anyway) that there is a color-related quality norm that is higher in natural say, brown or grizzly hackle and lower in natural duns and blacks. While a lot (or maybe all..) of this has been equalized of late compared to the days when Metz was the only major HQ provider, to me it basically always meant between a natural brown and a natural dun neck/saddle of the same grade, the brown was always better, especially in terms of barbule stiffness and density which means better dry fly hackle.

Like I say, I may be 20 years behind and none of this is true any more. But it was at one time. Which is why at least some of the HQ dun being currently offered is dyed cream, ginger variant or light grizzly.

For what it's worth....:)

TNEALSeptember 24th, 2016, 5:21 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 275
Saddles generally run for the most part in two sizes. Determine which two sizes you use the most and then call your merchant and ask them if they can provide a saddle that fits your needs. Otherwise you may get a great saddle that you don't have that much use for.
OldredbarnSeptember 26th, 2016, 1:05 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Go online to Jim's Fly Shop at the Campfire Lodge in MT...Look at the famous "Wall of Hackle"...They are nice folk there and will give you the straight skinny on what's what if you give them a call...Great hen sets as well if you are tying any softhackles...

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
FlytyerinpaSeptember 27th, 2016, 1:40 pm
Pottsville Pa

Posts: 35
I've heard of soft hackles Spence, but I've never tied any or fished with them, there are not many fly fishermen around here I know of 2 and they are both die-hard dry fly fishermen not any help, I'm trying to learn to be an all around fishermen wets, drys, nymphs, soft hackles and streamers.
WiflyfisherSeptember 28th, 2016, 8:44 pm
Wisconsin

Posts: 603
Go online to Jim's Fly Shop at the Campfire Lodge in MT...Look at the famous "Wall of Hackle"...They are nice folk there and will give you the straight skinny on what's what if you give them a call...Great hen sets as well if you are tying any softhackles...

Spence

+1

I just got back from 2 weeks at Campfire Lodge (http://www.campfirelodgewestyellowstone.com/Madison-River-fly-shop.asp) and in the fly shop Jim has a lot of saddles. I prefer the Whiting rooster capes because you get all the sizes, not just one or two sizes like in Whiting saddles.

Personally I think Whiting Farm's Bronze and Silver capes/saddles are more than adequate for all my dry flies.

This is for Spence...



John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
WbranchSeptember 29th, 2016, 12:03 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2496
When I was in my formative fly tying years I used to only buy Metz rooster capes. I agree there are a bit more variation in the sizes of flies that you can tie but once you get below that sweet spot about 3" - 4" down from the very top of the neck the feathers are so long and webby that they are only good for folded hackle legs and beards or palmering hackles on woolly Buggers or making streamer wings. I will admit though that on good to very good capes, on the sides of the capes, you can usually find short hackles with very stiff barbs which are great for tailing dry flies. I guess they are called "spade" feathers but I'm not positive.

As I grew older and refined both my fly fishing and hence my fly tying I realized that 90% of all my dry fly tying was in sizes #14 - #20. So I stopped buying rooster capes and started buying the saddles only. I always would buy either the #1 or #2 grade. The feathers are 6"- 8" long and I can tie 4- 6 flies minimum from each feather. One saddle each in sizes #12 - #16 and #18 - #22 will cover almost all of my dry fly work. I don't have a zillion colors and still catch at least as many fish as the next guy. I have saddles in medium dun, light dun, honey dun, cream, grizzly, coachmen brown. You can either buy the entire saddle, a half, or a quarter. Or if you have a tying buddy you can buy the complete saddle and carefully turn in over skin side up and cut it in half with a razor blade.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
OldredbarnSeptember 29th, 2016, 7:01 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Nice fish, John. Glad you had a good time, but you would really have to work at it to have a bad time. :)

Matt. Too bad, when you and I started, they didn't have those mix and match packs of hackle. I saw some at the show last spring with three different colors in them. A great deal for someone just starting out.

I still have some Metz necks with the spade hackle on the sides. I'm hording it.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
TNEALSeptember 30th, 2016, 5:34 pm
GRAYLING. MICHIGAN

Posts: 275
Good perspective from Matt. Here's a somewhat humorous "warning" about cutting the saddle in half with a razor blade. Some years ago, a friend bought a saddle at a TU function auction and graciously donated it to myself and Jerry Regan, the keeper of old AuSable (Mi) patterns. We got out a ruler and carefully measured it in several different ways to make certain we were cutting it exactly in half. Project complete: what we didn't consider was the fact that the feathers are not necessarily evenly spaced on the hide. One half ended up with 2/3 to 3/4of the feathers. Another factor was we had had a bit of scotch before doing the surgery, but I'm pretty sure we got an accurate measurement.
OldredbarnSeptember 30th, 2016, 5:56 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2591
Another factor was we had had a bit of scotch before doing the surgery, but I'm pretty sure we got an accurate measurement.


Right?! ;)

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
WiflyfisherSeptember 30th, 2016, 6:53 pm
Wisconsin

Posts: 603
When I was in my formative fly tying years I used to only buy Metz rooster capes. I agree there are a bit more variation in the sizes of flies that you can tie but once you get below that sweet spot about 3" - 4" down from the very top of the neck the feathers are so long and webby that they are only good for folded hackle legs and beards or palmering hackles on woolly Buggers or making streamer wings. I will admit though that on good to very good capes, on the sides of the capes, you can usually find short hackles with very stiff barbs which are great for tailing dry flies. I guess they are called "spade" feathers but I'm not positive.

As I grew older and refined both my fly fishing and hence my fly tying I realized that 90% of all my dry fly tying was in sizes #14 - #20. So I stopped buying rooster capes and started buying the saddles only. I always would buy either the #1 or #2 grade. The feathers are 6"- 8" long and I can tie 4- 6 flies minimum from each feather. One saddle each in sizes #12 - #16 and #18 - #22 will cover almost all of my dry fly work. I don't have a zillion colors and still catch at least as many fish as the next guy. I have saddles in medium dun, light dun, honey dun, cream, grizzly, coachmen brown. You can either buy the entire saddle, a half, or a quarter. Or if you have a tying buddy you can buy the complete saddle and carefully turn in over skin side up and cut it in half with a razor blade.

Matt, I can't comment on today's Metz saddles, but Whiting's saddles today are more like 11" to 14" long feathers and in 2 hackle sizes.

I looked at an awesome Whiting full Midge saddle out at Campfire Lodge but I decided I would not come close to using 1/3 of all those saddle hackles in my lifetime.

Your color selection is right on for what is needed.

Why I was looking at the Whiting Midge saddle... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGMr-ex_OVM
John S.
https://WiFlyFisher.com
WbranchSeptember 30th, 2016, 7:51 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2496
Wiflyfisher wrote;

The feathers are 6"- 8" long and I can tie 4- 6 flies minimum from each feather.


You are right - I guess I forgot how long they are. I just measured one feather from a Hoffman cream saddle. It is 11.5" long and the barbule size is about a #16. Since I never do more than 4 turns of hackle it would likely tie 8 - 10 flies. I've had some of my necks since quite a few years before I retired in 2005. Being predominantly a dry fly guy (for trout) those investments in quality hackle has really paid off. At 73 it is likely that I will never buy another saddle.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.

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