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Discussion Starter #1
I'd like to buy a quality Jungle Cock neck for tying flies to fish rather than display. But, I am not sure what makes for a good quality neck, other than unsplit nails, which are hard to discern from the internet pictures. Any tips?

Thanks,

Jim
 

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Matt Arciaga
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equal sides

make sure you can get equal sides, meaning, the right curvature in nails from right and left. sometimes you can get a nice cape that the nails are not split and all, but, without equal curvature its a pain to get the nails to lay the same on both sides of the fly. this is especially a pain when you are trying to use these JC nails as wing or body veilings`s.
 

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colour shape no splits. what looks good to your eye. there lot of diff nail shape and colour look at them pick what seems nice to you
 

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Released to spawn
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A good quality JC cape is relative to the use you're to put it to.

If it is just for fishing flies, split nails simply don't matter, in other words, using split nails on the flies you will be fishing with make NO difference to the fish at all - those split nails still present the size, shape, colour and attractiveness of the overall fly (to the FISH!)

This being the case, the following qualities are important for the cape you finally purchase/acquire:

Number & density of nails: the best capes for your purpose will have nails which range from the very smallest tiny ones to the largest and longest ones, and with several hundred nails (of all sizes) per cape. These should be closely 'packed', with no significant spaces between the nails as seen on the complete cape.

Sizes: as above, the sizes should range from the very smallest tiny nails (which are usually all perfect [no splits]) and graduate through the small and medium-sized nails to the the very largest nails of over 3" long (tip of feather rachis to the tip of the nail) with several 'eyes' - three eyes is usual in the larger sizes.

Colour: there is no doubt the best capes have eyes which are deep ivory white tinged on the margins with orange; some of these may have light orange/yellow eyes.

Splits: despite what has been said above, the smallest nails should NOT show any splits, but splits become more likely and evident on the larger nails: a cape which has NO splits at all (and has good colour, with good density and number of nails) will usually attract the higher retail prices. Even so, a cape with excellent/perfect tiny & small nails, and good/excellent small & medium nails and then some splits in the larger nails is the more usual finding - the splits can be 'repaired' in any event.

Accessory / additional feathers: on the better capes, there will always be the spear-head shaped peripheral feathers beyond the larger nails (that tells the buyer that the seller has not 'cropped' the cape and is supplying the whole thing), and some of the peripheral accessory feathers may actually show some of the white/yellow spear shapes in their tips but are not true 'nails'.

Damage: almost all JC nails are straight, and neither significantly curved or bent, and certainly there should be no damage to the cape. The cape should look almost perfectly symmetrical.

The most important aspect of buying a JC cape is, however, being able to fully examine the cape you are considering, either by handling it out of the package yourself, or, when buying 'at distance' or online, where you can't handle the cape, is to be provided with very good high-quality pictures of the cape, and then the final aspect of 'trust' in the seller's ability to send you the actual cape you have agreed to buy and have finally paid for.


Mike
 

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Pullin' Thread
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What I look for is a cape that has feathers that are balance on both sides of the cape. I.e., the feathers on each side have similar sizes on the same portion of the cape and have the same curvature to the stems; the number of nails from very small to really large (the larger the number and variety of sizes the better); and the color of the nails (the lighter the ivory on the eyes, the better).

I personally don't give a hoot if the nails are split or not and in my opinion there is way too much made of this aspect of a jungle cock neck. I say this because repairing the split nails is very easy and quick and is something that has been done for at least 150 years. And with the flexible cements such as Flexament we have available to us today, the feather stays flexible when repaired. Besides, the fish don't care and once on the fly, only the most discerning tyers or fisherman will notice or care.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Many thanks for all of the great information!

Jim
 

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Dom
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Who did I have biding battle with this morning..? Even though they are plentiful they still cost a pretty $$$. I was able to snag a few capes but nothing compared to what I scored 5 years ago... aaa+ grede for $50 and now its x3 that... this hobby is getting expensive...
 

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Who did I have biding battle with this morning..? Even though they are plentiful they still cost a pretty $$$. I was able to snag a few capes but nothing compared to what I scored 5 years ago... aaa+ grede for $50 and now its x3 that... this hobby is getting expensive...
wasn't me...
 

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Dedicated Fisherman
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Hi Jim,

I have hesitated in replying because I am not the best fly tier at all but............ As always I can't let that stop me. Whether or not you are going to fish your ties or display them you are always going to feel you've sold yourself short if you settle for a bad cape. Even the best ones I've ever had possessed some split nails. The reason I suggest trying to get good quality is that it will take just as much effort to tie a fly with poor quality eyes as it will to tie in nice ones.

Sure I use split eyes, however I find myself treating them with 'Tough Feather' in an effort to hold things together until they come apart during use. The feathers below are what I believe to be good color.


That cape pictured is very old, think 44 years old............ It seems that every time I would pick up a really nice one I felt I shouldn't use it. It seems because of that I believe I have about every example of color and quality one could find.


After reading the thread I went through the drawers where all the feathers are kept and was pretty surprised at what I really had. I'm not really a hoarder, I've just been collecting stuff for a very long time.

For the few extra dollars get yourself a really nice one.

Ard
 

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Hi Matt,

You gotta admit, this is one of the only places in the world where members can understand how such things happen. I guess I have a lot of materials, someday I may thin the dry fly cape collection, there are a lot of them too. Those capes in the picture I do use.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ard:

Holy Toledo! That looks to be enough for several lifetimes!

Jim
 

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Dedicated Fisherman
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Hi Jim,

I think I clean one off about every year. Until I moved up here 11 seasons back I didn't use as much. You can use them on all your feather wing trout streamers as well as the steelhead and salmon flies. That one in the first picture was to show color, there are some cheap capes in that bunch that are almost white and have loads of splits.

I guess I posted the picture because I could, I thought this would be a place where people wouldn't think I was nuts, you don't, right? Seriously, what I said about getting good quality was the best advice I could offer. It may cost an extra 35 - 50 dollars but you'll be in love with the flies you'll tie.

Through the years there have been fellas who thought I was shooting the poop when I would say that I don't lose flies. Actually I do; think I lost 4 last season. When you use those good feathers you back off from throwing the flies into log jams and I try to keep them off the bottom. I go for close to the bottom but not deep enough to lose my flies.

Get a good one buddy,

Ard
 

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Hi Matt,

You gotta admit, this is one of the only places in the world where members can understand how such things happen. I guess I have a lot of materials, someday I may thin the dry fly cape collection, there are a lot of them too. Those capes in the picture I do use.
Only jealousy spouting off here Ard, I don't think my entire dubbing stash would equal that pile of goodness. I admire your dedication to our hobby, er, your livelihood.
 

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Dedicated Fisherman
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I really don't like to think of it as livelihood, I am an accidental guide. It just happened, next year (2016) will be my last. Nothing changed with me except that I try to take some people to where they might have quality time without a crowd around them.

Sorry for the hijack Jim but I think they had you squared away before I started flashing.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ard:

No hijack apology - always interested to read your posts.

Not sure I understand how you "clean-off" one neck per year, but don't lose many flies. You either have one whale of a back-up fly case, or you give away a lot of flies each year. Based upon the little I know of you, I am inclined to believe the latter!

Jim
 

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The Dude abides
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here are the 3 i just landed.

looked for 3 distinct capes. One has the pointed eyes and a more whispy look, one is very dark black, and one has reddish tips and a very pleasing overall shape. I love JC. get a good cape, this is a feather thats worth the money spent.
 

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The Dude abides
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Hi Jim,

I have hesitated in replying because I am not the best fly tier at all but............ As always I can't let that stop me. Whether or not you are going to fish your ties or display them you are always going to feel you've sold yourself short if you settle for a bad cape. Even the best ones I've ever had possessed some split nails. The reason I suggest trying to get good quality is that it will take just as much effort to tie a fly with poor quality eyes as it will to tie in nice ones.

Sure I use split eyes, however I find myself treating them with 'Tough Feather' in an effort to hold things together until they come apart during use. The feathers below are what I believe to be good color.


That cape pictured is very old, think 44 years old............ It seems that every time I would pick up a really nice one I felt I shouldn't use it. It seems because of that I believe I have about every example of color and quality one could find.


After reading the thread I went through the drawers where all the feathers are kept and was pretty surprised at what I really had. I'm not really a hoarder, I've just been collecting stuff for a very long time.

For the few extra dollars get yourself a really nice one.

Ard
This is awesome Ard. You make me feel better about my stash.
 
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