A new fashion, which involves women wearing neck and cape hackles as hair extensions, is causing great concern among the fly fishing trade.
Stocks of hackles are being bought up in their thousands from fly shops and fly-tying material suppliers across the country at hugely inflated prices. The trend appears to have started after several celebrities were seen on popular US television shows, such as American Idol, wearing hackles in their hair as fashion accessories.
John Wolstenholme, director of sales and marketing for UK-based fly brand Fulling Mill, said: “Although it may raise prices overall in the short term I can’t see it lasting. Many commercial fly manufacturers use inferior quality hackles in their production so will not be greatly affected by top-quality genetic capes being in short supply.
“We use only the best quality hackles in our fly production and have excellent stocks. However, some manufacturers may be tempted to use inferior capes if they can’t get stock.”
Simon Jeffries, sales director of UK-based fly brand Turrall said: “The fashion for hackles is confined to the extra-long micro-barb saddles and, to a lesser extent, standard genetic cock saddles. Hairstylists are looking for specific hackles in specific colours, which have now become very scarce, but fly tyers are able to use alternatives for most flies. The impact on most fly-tyers and on our own production will be minimal.
“However, we are recommending our dealers not to sell their hackle stocks to hairstylists but to try to support the genuine fly tyers, who will still be their bread and butt