High quality cape for dry flies

Dave Boyle

Active Member
I don’t tie a huge amount of dry flies but if I wanted one really good cape for typically 14-18s and mainly quigley and lady McConnell’s I’m thinking a grizzly one. I could dye feathers as needed for more variety perhaps. Or maybe 2 half capes, looking for help,

Anyway, if you were to buy one good cape to cover things likely for the next 10+ yrs what would you recommend? Thanks in advance, really thinking quality vs quantity/utility.

thanks for your suggestions and advice.

Dave
 

Zak

WFF Supporter
I don’t tie a huge amount of dry flies but if I wanted one really good cape for typically 14-18s and mainly quigley and lady McConnell’s I’m thinking a grizzly one. I could dye feathers as needed for more variety perhaps. Or maybe 2 half capes, looking for help,

Anyway, if you were to buy one good cape to cover things likely for the next 10+ yrs what would you recommend? Thanks in advance, really thinking quality vs quantity/utility.

thanks for your suggestions and advice.

Dave
I buy a lot of materials online, but for an expensive purchase like a good cape or saddle I prefer going into a fly shop so I handle them, spread the feathers, see the glossiness and pick among several similar capes. A grizzly and dark brown (or half cape of each) would cover a lot of dry flies, many of which call for a mixed grizzly and brown hackle (see, the Adams and Vermont Caddis). I think most of mine are Whiting brand.
 

Dave Boyle

Active Member
I buy a lot of materials online, but for an expensive purchase like a good cape or saddle I prefer going into a fly shop so I handle them, spread the feathers, see the glossiness and pick among several similar capes. A grizzly and dark brown (or half cape of each) would cover a lot of dry flies, many of which call for a mixed grizzly and brown hackle (see, the Adams and Vermont Caddis). I think most of mine are Whiting brand.
Thank you Zak,

I’ve been to my two local fly shops anc been disappointed with the quality on offer. For smallish shops it’s a lot to maybe hold a series of good capes which @ $70+ don’t fly off the shelf. I appreciate maybe thinking half capes to better cover options as I could tie more patterns but just suit my current needs with crappish grizzly capes and ao have a bronze dun and ginger capes but I want longer, denser and spikier fibres.

Dave
 

Dave Boyle

Active Member
You could think about the getting one of the Whiting Starter packs. Its 4 - 1/2 capes (Grizz, Brown, Medium Dun, and Black) and I think they're all Bronze grade, which is really, really good quality feathers.
I’m thinking high quality vs utilty, am I dumb to think there could be silver of even gold in 4packs? I can see their rarity as you go up limiting 4 packs

Dave
 

mcswny

Active Member
I’m thinking high quality vs utilty, am I dumb to think there could be silver of even gold in 4packs? I can see their rarity as you go up limiting 4 packs

Dave
Honestly, I don't know how much better you need than Bronze.

I dont think the 4 packs come that high of grade, but you can get individual half capes in higher grades, but like I said, the Bronzes are absurdly nice. I don't my eye would see a difference in a silver or gold.

It may just be worth calling Jim and see what he can pick out for you given your needs.
 

Rocking Chair Fan

No more hot spotting
If you are tying flies as a showpiece going higher than bronze maybe a good idea. If you are fishing them a bronze level cape will be just fine. A dry fly has a certain life and by tying on higher floating fly will have minimal impact on catching fish. I actually use saddles more than capes for tying flies. Blasphemy I know but the number of flies I can tie from a saddle are greater than the number of flies I can tie from a cape and they work just as well IMHO.

Today's feathers are so much stiffer due to genetics it is almost ridiculous and are way overpriced due to marketing.

Buy what is good enough and you will catch lots of fish...
 

John svah

Active Member
Fwiw
I tie mostly parachutes for dries and prefer webbier and slightly less stiff hackle than even the Bronze grade stuff. With the stuff out today the stems can be stiff for winding on a parachute post and it seems like it takes more wraps.
Not sure if others will agree but it sure seems the case.
 

Mike.Cline

Bozeman, Montana

tkww

Member
I wouldn't go gold unless you're really itching to spend some money. The quality of bronze and silver these days is pretty amazing. Even Whiting's High & Dry has surprised me, though I haven't picked one up up in a few years. A side note would be Fly Fish Food and their "flash hackle" selection where they hand-grade and price accordingly. It removes any sort of value/bargain aspect, but like you said, being able to walk into a store with a good selection isn't always an option. Honestly, doesn't seem like a great time to be shopping for hackle. Most of it seems out of stock just about everywhere.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I picked up a set of Metz half-capes in grizzly and brown a while back. They aren't the greatest, most plush capes in existence by a long shot, but I find that they still produce plenty of nice traditional and parachute flies. No complaints. I think the half-cape set of 2 or 4 is probably your best bet; supplement with 100s or something similar for other colors. As a bonus, there are some nice webby, soft feathers towards the bottom of the capes that have proven useful for streamers and steelhead patterns.

I hope you have a plan for good-sized batches of flies if you get 4 half capes. My half-capes will last me quite a while.

Dry fly hackle is a bit of a racket compared to the fish-catching value of subsurface patterns and their ingredients.
 

mickeyrat

WFF Supporter
Honestly, doesn't seem like a great time to be shopping for hackle. Most of it seems out of stock just about everywhere.
It has been very hard to find any popular Whiting bronze for awhile. I wondered if it gets processed and released at a certain time of year. To the OP, have you thought about 100 pack saddle hackle? Seems like a narrow range you're needing.
 
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Zak

WFF Supporter
Dave, if you are tying your flies in a limited range of sizes, you might look at the "Whiting 100" packs. Each pack is selected long saddle hackles all of one uniform size, enough for 100 or so flies. So if you want to tie 100 size 16 Adams, get one size 16 pack of grizzly and one of brown and you are set.
 

mcswny

Active Member
I live in Portland and there's no Whiting Bronze capes in the area, so I recently bought 4 Bronze capes (Med. Dun, Grizzly, Brown and Med. Barred Ginger) from this eBay store and couldn't be happier. My (uneducated) guess is not that they're sold out, more so that fisherpeople in the area just simply aren't tying/fishing dries as much as if they were in MT, ID, UT, or CO. Seems like tying materials are more focused on Anadromous tying materials.

 

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