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Out of the jungle

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:18 pm
by PhilA
The esteemed Mr. Bearbutt and I recently visited Dave Roberts at the Feather Emporium or, as I think of it, the Disneyland of feathers. I truly arrived with the intention of buying but one and only one item, a grizzly dyed yellow rooster cape for tying green drakes. As always seems to happen though, I found something that I didn't know I needed. In fact, I didn't even know that such existed, for I've never seen it in shops or online.

I fish the spring creeks of Wisconsin's Driftless Area and tie quite a lot of small wingless wets using various game bird feathers. English woodcock, starling, partridge, grouse, ducks, etc. are my go-to materials, but the search for good soft hackles is never ending. Dave knows my weaknesses and opened a bin and said something like, "What do you think of these". One touch of the cape, one fan of the feathers, and I blurted out, "What is THAT!". The bin proved to be full of jungle fowl hen capes.

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The coloration is somewhat like a honey dun hen only darker and more brown. Feathers have a medium ginger stem and narrow list, a broader medium-to-dark dun second list that is finely speckled on larger feathers, and barb tips that are light brown to ginger. The feathers are remarkably soft and supple, softer than even my favorite hen capes from barnyard chickens. Useable feathers are dense on the cape and extend all the way to the tippy-top. The capes are quite small, however. Here is a jungle hen cape next to a Collins hen cape:

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Small capes yield small feathers and, in proportion to feather length, the barbs are quite short. This makes them especially good for small flies. I played around for a while and was able to tie fairly handsome flies all the way down to the shortest hooks I own (a Tiemco #501 size #24)

Left to right: Daiichi 1480 #14, #16, #18, #20, TMC 501 #24
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Left to right: Daiichi 1480 #14, #16, #18, #20, TMC 501 #24
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Thread: Gold silk, 60 denier
Tail: Jungle fowl hen fibers
Body: Olive-brown silk dubbing
Hackle: Jungle fowl hen

The capes are farm-raised in the US and, therefore, perfectly legal according to Dave. My only negatives are (i) the stems are rather fragile and require a soft hand when tying; and (ii) they are considerably more expensive than hen capes.

P.S. I have no commercial relation to Dave Roberts. He's just a friend.

Re: Out of the jungle

Posted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:52 pm
by Trevis
Pretty feathers and nice work. I've not seen JC hen listed in a catalog either.

Re: Out of the jungle

Posted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 12:35 am
by letumgo
Looks like I need to give Dave a call...

The flies were the clincher... irresistible...

Re: Out of the jungle

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:27 pm
by ForumGhillie
Nice!

Feather Emporium has posted the hen jungle cock capes and saddles for sale..

http://featheremporium.com/just_in.html

Re: Out of the jungle

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 10:56 am
by daringduffer
narcodog wrote:
Tue Mar 24, 2020 9:20 am
If i wasn't a pain in the arse to order from him I would order one.
Hey, narco, where do you want your pain?

Just askin'.

dd

Re: Out of the jungle

Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2020 5:04 pm
by narcodog
:D