The Truth About Flyfishing Feathers...
By Doc Knoll
While I was in college a marketing professor once said, "If something is essentially wrong with a product. . . then advertise the hell out of the product. Soon, they (the consumer) will be praising it (any product) as the best thing since sliced bread."
Every week or so I receive an e-mail from someone seeking to find the truth about "premium neck and saddle feathers." I also read, from the written laments of these beginning tiers, that they are confused with what they are either hearing or reading on this subject. Well, help has arrived. . . and it is I who is going to tell you.
I don't want this to sound like an advertisement for my feather and fly tying products so I will take a "neutral" position on this matter. Well, given this a second thought I might "pitch" something while I help to "clear the air" of a bunch of "glossy" advertising dribble and chat room drool. Which, for those of you who do occasionally look into these places, probably know the names of those "confused and lonely people" who really need to get a life.
First and most basic, because fly tying feathers come from "chickens", there is a huge difference between "standard" birds and "genetic" birds. The basic difference is that a "standard" bird is larger in stature and naturally produces feathers used primarily in warm and salt water applications. In these situations using these feathers is fine.
"Genetic" feathers (I really wish whoever penned this name would have used anything else. . . maybe Memphis or White Water.) however grow smaller (and thinner) in size and are used primarily for smaller flies and/or flies which are generally used for trout, salmon fly fishing and steel head. If you fish for any of these three fish; try to use genetic feathers. I don't care who's ... just do yourself a favor and use genetic feathers.
Can the two be interchanged? Yes, except a standard bird will not (numerically) produce the sizes needed by anglers fishing for trout. Then again, the (left over) genetic neck feathers which are larger then what is customarily used by trout fishermen can and are used by most commercial tiers for their warm and salt water applications. And, because of the genetic feather's characteristic "make up," these larger feathers will ultimately produce a more desirable fly then one made with the standard bird's feather. So, and for the finger pointers out there. . . yes they both will catch fish.
Secondly, and what I feel is the most important point of this article, is the misconception most people have about "genetic feather quality." Occasionally, because of my reader's questions which have been directed to me, I drop into Internet News and Chat Rooms as a lurker.
There, sometimes hidden behind a false "handle," I become shocked at the dribble a handful of tiers or fly fishermen are doling out to the general public. So let's clear the air for once and for all. (Except, I really know it won't happen.) And, for someone who wants to argue what I'm about to write... Yes, there are some newsroom tiers who do know their stuff. They do answer questions with precise information obtained through experience and not acquired by advertising or with belief in advertising's "useless dribble." In fact, sometimes I see people nearly copy advertising word for word and post it to a news group. Or even worse I have visited several sites and see the same person posting the same dribble again and again. . . I guess he must be on someone's payroll or is just some kind of a weird fly?fishing groupie.
Back to feathers. Right now there are a handful of genetic hackle producers. We all basically have the same ... Continued Here.
Find out more about Knoll's Yellowstone Hackle as well as the Absaroka Knoll Farm- and if you want, feel free to ask Doc a question. . . (and be sure to mention the About Fly Fishing web site.)
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