Hen Capes

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Old Hat
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Hen Capes

Post by Old Hat » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:31 am

I'm in the market for some hen capes.

I'm curious about the 4B hen capes by Whiting. Not the saddles. Only the capes. Anyone have any experience with these? What size range would I expect from these? Would you consider them very soft. I normally prefer a little stiffer hackle for hens like the Whiting Herbert Miner hen capes.
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Re: Hen Capes

Post by ForumGhillie » Mon Dec 03, 2018 8:12 am

Carl,

I feel the Whiting 4 B's hen capes are not as stiff as Whiting Hebert hen capes. (I have used Hebert hen capes for tying dry flies at times.)

The two I own are from Jim S. On my 4 B's fiery brown hen cape the feathers are a little more rounded than on my 4 B's brown hen cape.
Whiting-4Bs-Han-Cape-Fiery-Brown.jpg
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Whiting-4Bs-Han-Cape-Brown.jpg
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Size wise, I think the really small feathers near the neck are a little too short to use for my liking. I could easily tie size #18 on up for more contemporary style wet flies, but it depends how long you like the barbs on your fly's collar, ie: N.C. Spiders.

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Re: Hen Capes

Post by Boarmountain » Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:17 am

My 4b cape can tie down to 20 easy. I also like the CDL hen capes, very buggy.
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Re: Hen Capes

Post by letumgo » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:52 pm

I have several of the 4B hen capes, but have not done much tying with them, but see no reason they could not work from a size 18 all the way up to size 2's. It all depends on feather selection and how you tye them in (tip versus hackle stem). Overall the 4B capes are very nice.
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Re: Hen Capes

Post by Trifly » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:13 pm

47364931_955954097943727_5163089974475620352_n.jpg
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The 4Bs are a great resource for flies over size 14. On a couple of my capes I can tie 20's. On the rest of the capes maybe a few 18's. I find I must pay close attention when tying the small patterns as the stems on the 4Bs are much shorter than the Whiting genetic hen hackle. You will not get more than one fly per feather with the 4B. If that matters.

When I say I can tie the smaller patterns with the 4Bs, I can, but keep in mind these hen capes are not bred (the hens) for that. You will also find the smaller feathers are not in abundance on the cape. Think high quality barn yard chickens, and that best describes the 4Bs.

If you are looking for hen hackle that can tie from a size 24 to a size 8, the Herbert Miner or the Whiting Genetic hen are the the best choice, with the Whiting being the Cadillac of hen hackle. They are stiffer than the 4B but not even close to being dry fly quality. Though some believe other wise.

The 4Bs are a great value if the target sizes for your patterns are 14 and up.
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Re: Hen Capes

Post by letumgo » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:17 pm

Oh wow! Those are some beautiful capes. Very useful colors. Thanks for posting. ;)
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Re: Hen Capes

Post by ForumGhillie » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:29 pm

Collins also has some great hen capes for soft hackles. I actually prefer Collins' hen capes over most of Whiting hen capes.
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Re: Hen Capes

Post by Trifly » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:06 pm

I have bought and used a few of the Collins hen capes. I was always disappointed in the and lack of uniformity from one cape to the next. That, and I was disappointed with the lack of feathers in the necks to tie down to 18.
Hen-Hackle.jpg
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Feathers, hooks and thread. We are indeed lucky that we can enjoy such a vast selection.

I found the photo a while back. It does a good job of illustrating the hen hackle differences.
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Re: Hen Capes

Post by ForumGhillie » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:31 pm

Trifly that is a good representation showing the 4 B vs others. Although, my Collins are hand picked and better than what is in that photo.

When tying palmered wets I only use the well tapered hen hackles, mainly the Collins' hen capes.

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Re: Hen Capes

Post by Trifly » Mon Dec 03, 2018 3:51 pm

_P7C7799.jpg
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Perhaps with enough searching, I will find that Collins cape the suits my style of tying as well. :D :D

I hope you take this post with the humor that was intended. ;)
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