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The Backstage Pass

Fly Tying Hackle - Saddle or Cape?

May 03, 23

Since tying season is in full swing right now, and the promise of dry fly fishing is quickly approaching, I thought I would try to answer one of the most frequently asked questions. “What hackle do you use for dries”?

Basically, there are two kinds of dry fly hackle. Saddles and capes. Capes are often referred to as necks. The biggest difference is in the length of the feather and the variety of sizes you can get out of a particular saddle or cape.

Capes are a lot shorter in length, so two feathers are often required to get the full effect of the hackle. Capes typically have a larger variety of sizes to work with, so if you are beginning to tie some dries and you plan on doing a variety of sizes and applications, capes are usually a great choice.

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Saddles are long and uniform in size, so not only can you get a fully hackled fly with one feather, but you can also get two or three flies out of one. Commercial tiers love saddles because they can save a lot of time from having to size hackles. If a person knows they only tie a couple of favorite patterns in a couple of different sizes, saddles are usually the more economical choice. If you buy the 100 packs already sized, they use saddles as well. Not super economical, but easier if you want to tie a handful of dries.

We strive to have a large selection of dry fly hackles in all of the most useful colors. Our knowledgeable staff ensures you get the right feathers for your next session at the vise.

+ Click here to shop our extensive selection of Whiting Farms Saddles and Capes