Feath­ers for fish­ing

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QAt a re­cent coun­try show, on a stand sell­ing fly-fish­ing equip­ment, I saw sev­eral pack­ets of feath­ers in­tended for fly-ty­ing. Some of the pack­ets said they were ‘cock­erel capes’ but, al­though I know some breeds of chick­ens have beau­ti­ful feath­ers, I’ve never seen any of sim­i­lar bright colours. What breed might they have been?

AJeremy Hob­son said: Feath­ers from many birds form the ba­sis of flies tied to catch trout and salmon. Tiny strands of pheas­ant tail feath­ers make up the ‘pheas­ant tail nymph’, for ex­am­ple, and the hue and hurl of pea­cock feath­ers are the per­fect im­i­ta­tion body of an iri­des­cent wa­ter-based in­sect. The main idea of fly-ty­ing is to im­i­tate an in­sect likely to be of feed­ing in­ter­est to a fish.

Chicken feath­ers are also fre­quently used in fly-ty­ing (many are picked up af­ter the moult and don’t re­quire a bird to be killed). With­out see­ing the feath­ers to which you re­fer, it’s im­pos­si­ble to say from what breeds of chick­ens the capes you men­tion might have come. It is, how­ever, quite likely that they may have been dyed and were orig­i­nally white.

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