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David Sparks Ph.d The Perfect Feather
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Sportsman's Spotlight
Date: January 12, 2018

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The Perfect Feather If you’ve ever caught a fish on a fly, there’s a good chance the hackle wrapped around the hook came from a Colorado chicken barn where a humble, but brilliant, geneticist creates the most sought-after feathers for fly-tiers around the world. From wild patterns and colors to their freakish shapes and lengths, Tom Whiting’s feathers are unlike anything you’d see on a chicken farm.

In fact, Tom Whiting noticed a pattern in the early 1990s and fly tiers all over the world were asking him for his feather. It had to be long, wide, fat barbed and without webbing or a frayed end something more like a squirrel tail than a typical bird feather. The earliest British books on fishing mention such a feather reportedly plucked from the neck of the spade cock ann almost mythical rooster bred on the banks of Scotland’s River Spey and deeply connected to flyfishing’s 19th century start. This chicken supposedly grew feathers that produced seamless natural movements underwater and made for a fly no salmon could resist.

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