We get a behind the scenes look into the operations at Whiting Farms. There is a lot involved in order to get those even long hackles that fly tyers covet. There is the breeding selection process that is needed in order to breed in or out desired traits. There is the tracking of eggs from the time they are laid until the time they are harvested. There is the incubation, sexing, feeding, and on and on. One thing I can say is that these birds are well taken care of.
Follow along with Cheech and Curtis as Dr. Tom gives them the details of what it takes to grow and maintain the best hackle on the market.
How would this look displayed in your fly tying room? Years ago, I was at a fly tying trade show, working a booth for a fly tying materials company. They happened to have one of these Whiting roosters for display in the center of the booth, and it drew quite a crowd. People would stop in just to chat about the rooster and end up chatting for a few minutes. Another well known tyer (who shall remain anonymous) was there and had struck up a conversation with some fans. They were quite boisterous and carried on for 20 minutes or so. As the couple was leaving, the woman turned around and called out, “Wait, I want to get a picture of us with you and your cock.” It was a beutiful shade of red that his face had turned, and I’ve still yet to find that shade in hackle.
whitingfarmsinc has this rooster on eBay right now. Bookmark them to get notice of other mounts in the future. I suppose that one of these roosters is on my list of thing to buy once I get a decent lottery win.
This is a striking example of a dry fly hackle rooster. He has beautiful barred “lavender” plumage. This is often referred to as a “self blue” coloration. His unusual coloring and pattern make him a truly unique specimen.
This rooster is truly unique in the world of chickens. For over 50 years genetic lines of chickens have been specifically bred for fly fishing feathers known as “hackle”.
Now, Dr. Thomas Whiting is the steward of these exceptional lines of dry fly hackle chickens. After years of genetic research and development the Whiting Line was created. This beautiful specimen is one of these genetic lines.
Have you tied with Bird Fur yet? Richard Strolis has and he has a nice pattern to share. I’ve been using Whiting’s Bird Fur for a couple of patterns, mainly leeches in black, olive and claret. So if your not sure exactly what bird fur is, listen up. Whiting has been developing a line of birds specifically for the spey market. They brought out a line of birds a few years ago under the spey hackle name, and the bird fur comes from the low (bronze) graded saddles. The lines isn’t quite ready in my opinion for spey flies as the stems are much too thin. With some more selective breeding the line will surely improve. I’m eagerly awaiting improvements in the line.
Back to the pattern, the Dirt Dart takes full advantage of the marabou-like movement and would be perfect for bass, pike and bull trout.