Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Demand for hackle

Looks like the demand for hackle is going up -

Dear Whiting Farms Customer,

Whiting Farms is experiencing an unprecedented onslaught of orders for our EuroHackle saddles. This is not just from the world, but largely from the fly fishing pro shops that have new customers coming to them to buy our dry fly saddles for use in various modes; hair weaves, ear rings, jewelry and crafts. This new traffic and business is welcome by the pro shops but we are faced with a real dilemma: orders vastly exceed supply! Understandably the shops that have put in orders to Whiting Farms, of any quantity, and are very keen to get them filled. But the number of saddles being ordered simply doesn’t exist. We wish we had as many saddles as everyone wanted. The crop of EuroHackle roosters to be harvested for 2011 is fixed and no changes can be made. Increases in production of this product line have and are being made, but the increasing numbers will be gradual and won’t really be seen until 2012! Therefore we have been intensely pondering how we can most equitably allocate what saddles we do have coming to harvest in 2011.

The only fair way, I feel, is to divide and conquer. By this I mean we are going to disassemble our EuroHackle saddles and repackage them in a new product line called the “Whiting Pack”. Sixteen long feathers of a single color will be affixed on our branded board, very much like our Whiting 100 Packs, but not sized as to hook size. The suggested retail price will be $20.00 [...] Most of the customers wanting these feathers are wanting to experiment and so the smaller quantities will be welcome and more appropriate. The lower price point will encourage them to possibly buy a range of colors or several packs. A full or even half EuroHackle saddle is usually too many feathers of only one color for any hobbyist anyway.

In order to do this more fair allocation of our limited EuroHackle saddles we will have to cease selling full or half saddles as a product line. We are making an extra effort to keep our flagship Whiting dry fly saddles, and the new High and Dry saddles, in good stock to supply all the fly tier’s needs.

We appreciate your understanding of these needed changes.

Sincerely, Tom Whiting

Friday, March 11, 2011


Definition of MANIPULATE

transitive verb

1: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner

2a : to manage or utilize skillfully

b : to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage

I confess - I am manipulative. Furthermore, I confess that I hope to manipulate you to become manipulative as well.

I first became manipulative about 30 years ago. I had already been fly fishing for bass and panfish on ponds and lakes for the previous 15 years. I had read every book I could get my hands on regarding fishing for trout in rivers and streams. Just about everything I had read told me if I wanted to catch trout, it was imperative that I fish my dry fly with a dead drift.

Having just bought some property on the Muskegon River, located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, I finally had my chance to put my book knowledge to serious use. I fished with friends the first several times I scouted and fished my new home river. In each case, I was a more skilled and “knowledgeable” angler than my companions. In every case, my companions managed to hook at least a few fish, and I was continually skunked. What was going on?

I was persistent, and finally managed to luck into a few fish every now and then. Often times the fish were caught while I was trying to wade up stream, with my line dangling in the water below me. Nothing could be farther from a dead drift presentation. I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid. Soon I started to dangle my line below me and give it a few twitches. When that worked, I started to sometimes swing my fly, and then skate it.

I started to experiment, and found that if I fished a rather generic looking fly, given the right presentation, it caught fish. If truth be told, every now and then I’d fish a cast out dead drift, and did catch a few fish using that presentation. As I started to fish a wider repertoire of retrieves, I found I had best luck fishing a relatively short line. What I lacked in range, I made up with much better control. That’s the way I fished for roughly 30 years. As I got my system and tactics down, I caught a lot of fish - far more than my fair share. If I didn’t always fish catch and release, I may have even felt a bit guilty about catching more than my fair share.

Then, by pure luck, I happen upon the idea of fishing a fixed-length-line system using a long, very light rod. I started using a $15 fiberglass rod I bought at Walmart, but it was very evident to me – this suited the way I fished, and allowed me to fish much more precisely and efficiently. I instantly found my catch rate increasing, and seemed to be having a lot more fun. There is something above and beyond catching more fish that makes it more fun and satisfying for me. Maybe it’s the simplicity; maybe it just seems more intimate; maybe it’s the precision it allows.. I have yet to totally figure it totally out yet, but it has made me even more manipulative.