Demystifying Hackle Grading

What do Whiting hackle grades mean?

A Bronze Grade Whiting Cape
Besides the differences between saddles and capes (necks), one of the most common questions we get is what do the various hackle grades mean.

First off, we're referring only to Whiting Farms hackle products here. We make no inferences or assumptions about other hackle producers relative to their grading methods other than to say it likely does not follow the same standards that Whiting follows. Neither good nor bad, but important to note that you can't necessarily compare a #1 grade hackle from Company "A" against say a Gold hackle product from Whiting by the grade designation alone.

However, we can (and do) make comparisons between other hackle companies' products and Whiting products in both feather length and density -- which directly plays into the value you get. This value is the number of flies you can tie per dollar spent. Our research shows that Whiting doesn't have much competition in that arena. Check out the hackle throw down we did a few years ago.

Anyway, the biggest takeaway from this little video is that your Pro, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum grades really boil down to the number of flies you can tie. If the quality is there, meaning a hackle has a supple quill, has no twisting, contains dense barb counts and is 85% web free,  it will be graded. If it doesn't meet those standards, you won't see it sold in retail.

So here's a very valuable explanation from Whiting's website and of course, the video below...