The demise of the Whiting American hen cape - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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The demise of the Whiting American hen cape

For some years, I have used Whiting American hen capes exclusively for the throats on my wet flies, particularly Atlantic salmon wets. I've got a lot of them, and I've gone through a lot of them. This pic doesn't include untouched, "in storage" capes:


Sadly, over the last couple years (at least) something has happened to the American hen necks, immediately noticeable just by looking at an unused neck (older neck on right, new neck on left):


I received a black neck yesterday in the mail. For my purposes (throats) it is essentially unuseable...notice how thin, almost transparent the barbs become at the tips (on right) compared to the barbs on an older cape (on left). The feathers are from the same approximate location on the two capes.


Whether or not it matters to an Atlantic salmon, a nice full throat on a wet fly is important to me.


I've noticed the same problem creeping in to the Whiting American rooster saddles I use almost exclusively for my Carrie Stevens-style streamers.

The American hen capes are always in short supply and are getting more expensive all the time. I won't be buying any more of them unless I can check them out personally before purchase. And since there are no fly shops in southern Vermont (exc. Orvis which is no place to buy materials really), I guess I'll be seeking a better choice. Metz aren't too bad.
Gary
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 12:46 PM
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Have you talked directly with Whiting?

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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I have not. Never figured that a guy that's only bought 3 or 400 bucks worth of whiting american capes and saddles would mean much. Not being famous or pro staffy and all.
Gary
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 12:57 PM
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I agree with Rifflehitch on this one. Contact Whiting.

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The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits - Albert Einstein
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Really, I doubt Tom Whiting is going to shift his entire genetic program because one guy in Vermont doesn't think much of changes in said program.
Gary

LOL, so I'll just bitch about it for a little bit then shut up and buy something different.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 01:13 PM
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Well just maybe your not the first to complain. Maybe your not even the 100th but if no one says anything then nothing changes. Possible that something is going on and he is not aware of it "yet".

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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it would be hard for me to believe Whiting isn't aware of the shift away from the fuller cape to what is available now. As I mentioned, I'm seeing the same transformation in the American rooster saddle line.
Likely somebody here knows him and could send along the photos or something. Very doubtful if I sent something to them that he would even see it. Just the way I feel about it.

Mostly I posted to see if I was alone in my observation, not to get spanked for not trying to contact them.
Gary
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 02:20 PM
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Hope you don't mind gt05254, but I copied the link to this discussion and sent it on to Whiting with a sort explanation so they can possibly participate with a reply.
By the way, love your flies, all real beauties!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 02:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelguy View Post
Hope you don't mind gt05254, but I copied the link to this discussion and sent it on to Whiting with a sort explanation so they can possibly participate with a reply.
By the way, love your flies, all real beauties!
I don't mind at all, and thank you for the compliment!
Gary
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 05:17 PM
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Gary,

As a product manager, but in a totally different industry, where I have 5 year evolution product roadmaps, i want to hear others.. For these planning phases, it is good to get feedback. I do know though, no matter what path or decision I make, I will be wrong (for some). But to help to get me there, feedback is good.

Oh yes, i find variance in capes to great now or i am more picky. I will look at racks when I travel or defer my purchases to the Fly Tying Symposium - hoping some nice capes and furs show up.
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gt05254 View Post
Really, I doubt Tom Whiting is going to shift his entire genetic program because one guy in Vermont doesn't think much of changes in said program.
Gary
Not to say this is the "right" way to address this situation, but you can always say that you are part a of an online community with over 20,000 members

Thanks for the observations Gary


Mike
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 03-29-2020, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Mike, that is a very good point! I wish I had thought of it and followed through with it.
Thanks for that!
Gary
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 06:20 PM
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This is the response I just received from Whiting Farms:
Hello Rob,

Thank you very much for your email. As you know Whiting Farms has always strived to bring the best hackle available to the fly tiers of the world. Our selective breeding programs are designed to continuously improve our hackle whether it is dry fly or wet fly. Selective breeding, however, is not the only method to improve on our products as we rely on the feedback of our customers. We welcome criticism and if problems exist we want to hear about it. Whether you are someone who has bought 1 pelt or 100 pelts is irrelevant as it is the one pelt that may have issues that can help to improve a line or catch an unseen issue. I would ask that you share this mail on your forum and please encourage anyone who has an issue to come forward and let us know as we are nothing without so many great tiers using our wide range of products. Not reporting an issue is doing an injustice not only to yourself but, all others who use our products. Thank you again for bringing this to our attention and thank you for supporting Whiting Farms.

Best regards

Phil Trimm
Sales Manager
Whiting Farms, Inc
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 07:10 PM
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There ya go.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 04-02-2020, 08:21 PM Thread Starter
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will be interesting to hear what they have to say about my examples.
Gary
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