Whiting 100’s or a Full Whiting Saddle for Midge Sizes?

By Dennis Stead on Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 in Flies, No Comments

Look at the attach picture I took in the Plateau Fly Shop.  They have a wall of Whiting 100 packs size 14, 16, 18, and 20.  Each package sells for around $20.00 or $22.00.  They also have full saddles for midge sizes selling for $93.00. (See picture)  This full saddle for midge sizes has many feathers for size 14, 16, 18, and 20.  Which is the better buy?  Well if you are going to be fishing one size and you want multiple colors, then the Whiting 100 might be the way to go.  If you are going to be fishing 14, 16, 18, and 20 one color, then instead of spending 4 x $20.00 = $80.00 or 4 x $22.00 = $88.00, the full saddle is the better buy.


Well here are my thoughts on the above.  A few years ago, I bought my first ¼ saddle for midge sizes from River Run Outfitters.  I could have purchase a Whiting 100 pack for $20 but bought the ¼ midge saddle for $42.00.  The feathers were longer and with 3 feathers, I tied 30, size 14 Black Gnats.  Whiting states an 8-inch feather that is size 14 will hackle four (4) flies.

Since that time, when I need a new color for tying midges, I buy the full saddles.  Let us take a closer look at the Full Saddle for midge sizes I just bought.  (See pictures)  The lengths of the feathers are 12” to 14” long.  Counting the 12” and longer feathers, there are 286.  The smaller feathers were not counted.   If an 8-inch feather that is size 14 will hackle 4 flies, then a 12 to 14-inch feather that is size 14 will hackle 6 to 7 flies.  That is 1 ½ times more flies.

If a size 14 Whiting 100 pack with tie 100 flies the most feathers in that package is 25.  Then $20.00 divided by 25 feathers equal $0.80 per feather or $0.20 per fly.

The Full Saddle for midge sizes cost $93.00 and there are 286 feathers over 12-inchs long, the cost per feather is $93.00 divided by 286 feathers = $0.325 per feather.  The one feather size 14, cost $0.325 divided by 6 flies = $0.054.

Now I feel better spending all that money, and this full saddle will last me my life time.  My suggestion if you do not want to spend the money yourself for a full saddle, gets the benefit of the full saddle by getting one or more of your fly tying buddies to go in on a full saddle.  Then divide up the full saddle between those who invested.  If your fly shop does not have what you are looking for, ask them to get it for you.  They will be glad to do that and they will get the better feathers from their wholesalers.

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