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February 28, 2011Hackle in hair- Noooo!

Hackle shortage because of a beauty crazy? Apparently so. I first came across this story thanks to the Midcurrent website, and have since read about it a few other times. Apparently girls are putting long saddle hackle into their hair! Being a naive fly fishing guide and out of the fashion loop, I figured this story was much to do about nothing; a movement about a few trendy girls in the big cities- an LA thing. Well, turns out I was wrong.

While substitute teaching last week at the local high school, I noticed several girls with long, grizzly saddle hackles stuck in their hair; hackle that would be perfect for tying stimulators and hoppers for our local cutthroat trout. Ah, say it ain’t so. After inquiring as to where the girls got the hackle (and explained that they work better on dry flies), I learned that the feathers are readily available at our local hair salons, and apparently quite popular. If this “trend” has infiltrated Wyoming, I hate to think what’s going on elsewhere! This new demand is creating problems for us fly tiers. The beauty shops are buying all the hackle supplies and driving the price sky high. Via the Angling Trade article: "[Salon owner Joy] Douglas literally drove to Whiting Farms one night to lock down as much product as possible. She claims that Dr. Tom Whiting doubled prices on her overnight when he realized the quantities she was willing to buy. She has since had a major problem getting feathers and is trying to source from anywhere she can. Her main sources are Metz and Whiting."

You might want to stock up on hackle while you can. Let’s hope this “fashion movement” fades to oblivion fast!


March 17, 2011Yes, my friend, I'm afraid this is not an isolated problem. I recently received the same troubling news from my wife. It would appear this epidemic exists in Colorado, as well. I too, brushed it off as a fleeting fashion trend hoping that it would have a shelf life similar to that of, say, slap bracelets. Alas, your Whiting Farms story has confirmed our fears. I propose we take action immediately. I'm thinking along the lines of a misinformation campaign that will prey upon the fears of those so inclined to put quality fly tying materials in their hair. For instance, "I heard there are actually microscopic flesh eating mites that live in the hackle and once they develop a taste for human hair they won't stop feasting until their fashionable host resembles Howie Mandel." Maybe too extreme; just throwing it out there. I'll hope for the best, but I'm gonna lose it the first time I see someone wearing a sweater made from woven peacock herl.


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