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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some good quality hackle for bugs. Can someone tell me what they use for Green machine hackle ie. ginger, brown etc. and size, quality etc. Maybe some advice on an all-around cape that covers a wide range of bugs/ bombers. (That stuff is expensive
) Thanks!
 

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I usually use mostly either grizzly or brown on my green machines, natural colored buck bugs, on black bugs i like badger, seems to give a real nice contrast, works really well.. if i buy a whole cape i go with brown or grizzly just because i get the most use out of it, plus a lot of other flies call for it...others i just buy strung hackle, most times you get a lot of oversized or junk feathers with it but for the price its worth it, you will get a handful of good ones in it and you can use the crappy ones for tails and wings ect for other flies, plus i tie a lot of bass and pickerel flies so i like the long fat feathers you get with strung hackle...Fredericton outfitters has some pretty darn good strung hackle for the price...good quality and when you buy a pack of strung its all the same relative size unlike crappy tire or wally world where you get everything from to small to use to huge feathers to tie flies for sharks lol
 

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I have a Herbert Miner brown saddle in the bronze quality that I use for bugs and small bombers. I have had it for 7 years maybe and its tied alot of flies. Its getting pretty thin now and almost time for a new one. I would say I get atleast 10 bugs per feather. I think I paid $30ish for it back then but even at $50 for a higher quality is worth it considering you can get hundreds of flies out of it.
 

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The best hackle for bugs is usually a Cock Saddle Hackle, bred for fly tying. The barb length is consistant along the shaft of the feather for almost its entire length, and the feather is very long. Although these are not inexpensive, they are good values , since you can get more than one bug from a feather, unless you happen to be tying Bombers the size of cigar butts. Also the centre stem is strong, and you will break very few of these when applying them to a fly. These have very little web in the feather, so that almost 100% of the feather is usable.

Strung saddle is OK too, I find they tend to be wide and taper quite a bit along their length. I like to see the hackle have the same width when palmered through the deer hair body. The stems are usually quite thick at the skin end of the feather, so the lower part of the feather is discarded, reducing the usable length of the feather. You also find more web in the feathers which can limit the amount of useful feather for Bugs.

Hen Necks can sometimes yield some usable feathers, but generally they are too wide a feather, quite webby and the barb fibres are soft. Greast for wet flies; not so good for Bugs and Bombers.

Chinese Cock necks can be had at relatively low prices. These tend to be rather wide as well, and are useful for larger sized bugs. These are best purchased where you can personally sort through a bunch of them and see what you are getting. Other than the width, the feathers are generally good quality.

Indian necks are cheap, the fibres a little on the soft side and the feathers are small. The necks are small. An Indian neck is about half the size of a Chinese neck. A Chinese neck is about 2/3 as long as a North Americal neck bred for fly tyers. They are not very useful for Bugs, except if you are tying a small Bug that you might want to use for Trout.

It's too late for this year, but if you are in Dieppe, NB at the Fly Tying Show next year , drop into the Fishing Hole booth and pick up some neck trimmings. Last year they were 3 for $5.00 and were available in Grizzly, White and Brown. If you are in Charlottetown, his shop is in the Sherwood Mall. Harmen is the Owner's name and heusually has these at his shop. I think that's on St. Peter's Road. at Belvedere Ave. These are parts of a North American Hackle opertation ( I don't know whose brand) and consist of the feathers at the very lower part of the neck, where the saddle area is beginning. If you look at a dry fly neck, the skin is trimmed to a nice round shape at the bottom. The sections of skin and feathers trimmed off are what it for sale as trimmings. These are excellent values, and are very cost effective. Good stuff to have to try dying your own feathers, especially dyed Grizzly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great feedback everyone! These replies have been very helpful,thanks!
 

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If you are looking for a decent feather at a good price then go to your nearest fly shop and pick up a chinese cock cape. Very economicala and great for green bugs. That's what I mostly use and have for years. It's only a bug. Not a fully dressed feather wing pattern. You can get the natural brown ones or get one that is dyed in a ginger color. I've been doing this for 25 years and you don't need those super expensive capes to catch fish.

YOu can even pick up a brown chinese neck cape at Canadian Tire or Wal Mart if your not close to any fly shops.

I highly recommend Eskape Anglers in Riverview. Bryant will set you up very nicely if you tell him you don't want to break the bank for a bunch of shady ladies and green machines. He'll even take a feather off the cape and tie you a green machine right in front of you if you ask him. Or go to Trout Brook Fly shop on the Northwest Miramichi and Syd will set you up with a nice sadle hackle cape or chinese cock cape. I even bought some cheaper sadle capes from Syd. I have a nice brown one here that was not even near the price of the Whiting brand capes. He carries a variety of brand names at varying prices.

Also the idea of having no web in a feather is not a big deal for wet flies. Actually the web gives the fly more action and has a softer feel to it. If you are tying dry flies then stay away from web type of feathers unless you are soaking the bombers in silicone. LOL! Typically cheaper sadle capes have webbing in the lower end of the feathers and all hen capes have webbing. Hen capes are harder to tie with for most beginners since the stem can break easily with to much tension while wrapping the hackle around the fly at the throat. Typically hen hackles are not good for bugs since they are too short anyhow.

The other alternative is to buy a 1/2 cape of the more expensive type of saddle or neck capes which will give you the ability to tie a serious amount of flies. I know Bryant Freeman at Eskape Anglers use to sell half capes. I think I saw some there today. I'm his neibour. LOL!

check out the link hackle description This will show you the difference in the types of hackles found and a description of where they are used mostly. Also look at the natural colors and the ones that are dyed
 
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