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Cape buying tips

By Magnus Angus

More fly-tying pointers from Magnus Angus

If you get the chance to handle and explore capes before you buy, bear in mind that a fat or thick neck cap suggests a lot of feathers. This isn't an exact guarantee of feather density but a fair indicator. However, a fat cape with tons of feathers can be a false economy if the hackles are the wrong sizes for the flies you intend to tie.

Dyed capes can look fine on the outside, bend the cape and look at the base of feathers in the thickest part of the cape – you are looking for pale or undyed feather. This claret cape is not well dyed, however it is well-enough dyed for most purposes.

On natural coloured capes we mostly check feathers for damage, cleanliness, etc, by looking at the outside of the cape – look inside too. This well used grizzle cape included a lot of immature feathers, still sheathed and growing when the bird was culled. Immature hackles are more or less useless; however, the cape was cheap and included a lot of useable hackles.

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