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Discussion Starter #1
I'm curious what people are using for classic fly dubbing when a pattern calls for "seal". There are many options online and it's really tough to tell which type I would prefer when it's on a screen and not in my hands.

I ordered some Hareline STS (salmon trout steelhead) dubbing and am not impressed, it looks too unnatural.
 

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I've never used seal or even actually seen it in person, so I don't know what the best sub would be....but, I like a blend of SLF and rabbit, generous on the SLF, enough rabbit to act as a binder, the synthetic stuff being a bit slippery. I've heard pig's wool is pretty great, but never tried it. It should be noted that I'm not especially picky about dubbing, and I like these two materials because they're easy to work with, cheap, widely available, and come in every color under the sun. There's probably better stuff that's more expensive and/or harder to source out there.
 

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FeathersMC & aofeathers.com have seal dubbing. Is seal dubbing illegal in the US? In Canada it is in every fly shop and I always assumed it is the real stuff so that is what I use.
 

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I can't imagine not having Seal
 
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Discussion Starter #6
FeathersMC & aofeathers.com have seal dubbing. Is seal dubbing illegal in the US? In Canada it is in every fly shop and I always assumed it is the real stuff so that is what I use.
Both of those gentlemen are selling legal seal fur in the U.S.
Gary
Thanks for this I wasn't aware. I had found seal dubbing on Canadian Tube Fly Co. before and the website says they can't ship to the US due to import restrictions so I'd assumed it wasn't available.
 

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Never had any doubts that they are selling it legally, I was just curious as the op could not find any because I have seen seal fur on multiple fly shop web site from the US.
Both of those gentlemen are selling legal seal fur in the U.S.
Gary
 

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Davy Wotton developed SLF to replace seal , choosing the material, working out the range of colors and bringing it to market when seal started to be banned. He'll be the first to tell you nothing is exactly like seal. That being said I love and use SLF and SLF Prism, taking Aldo's approach. I often mix in a little rabbit or Angora Goat or beaver or fox squirrel to great effect. The SLF Prism peacock color has caught me more fish than any other dubbing, even Hare's ear. I wouldn't be without it and would pick it for my "desert island dubbing." For leeches, etc, longer staple simi seal and Senyo dubbing are great. I have almost the full range of SLF dubbings and multiple packs of Prism SLF peacock. I'm extremely happy with its performance in a wide variety of flies.

For dubbing loops on trout Spey flies, Angora Goat is fantastic. Wool, especially Jamieson's shetland spindrift, australian possum, Hare's ear, mole, coyote and fox squirrel are also excellent in certain uses.

IF I could tie classic salmon flies (don't I wish?!), I would probably try a wool, Angora Goat and SLF mix. My tying chops are nowhere near that good, so this is just a hypothetical for me!

Having never tied with seal dubbing, I guess I don't know what I am missing.
 

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Ive used synthetics as an additive to natural dubbing such as seal and stopped doing so after seeing first hand how much plastic has accumulated in our oceans and beaches. I had no idea just how bad and it's quite alarming.

Food for thought.
 

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Ive used synthetics as an additive to natural dubbing such as seal and stopped doing so after seeing first hand how much plastic has accumulated in our oceans and beaches. I had no idea just how bad and it's quite alarming.

Food for thought.
I actually never thought of that, but that is a good point to consider.
I occasionally use angora goat and it is pretty good, it's has longer fibers than seal and is straighter. I generally use seal, because in Canada it is actually one of the cheapest and is really accessible. People used to come the shop I worked at, but seal and then peal the labels off to cross the border...kind of a risky move IMO, but people do it.
 

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FishOn4evr, that is an excellent point. Seal dubbing on a hook which will eventually rust away seems much more ecologically preferable, now that you point that out.
 

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Ive used synthetics as an additive to natural dubbing such as seal and stopped doing so after seeing first hand how much plastic has accumulated in our oceans and beaches. I had no idea just how bad and it's quite alarming.

Food for thought.
👍
 

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Does anyone find seal super hard to dub with? I find it good for using in a dubbing loop but I've noticed it's exceptionally slippery when trying to dub normally with it...
 
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Small amount of tying wax on the thread is a big help
 

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Davy Wotton developed SLF to replace seal , choosing the material, working out the range of colors and bringing it to market when seal started to be banned. He'll be the first to tell you nothing is exactly like seal. That being said I love and use SLF and SLF Prism, taking Aldo's approach. I often mix in a little rabbit or Angora Goat or beaver or fox squirrel to great effect. The SLF Prism peacock color has caught me more fish than any other dubbing, even Hare's ear. I wouldn't be without it and would pick it for my "desert island dubbing." For leeches, etc, longer staple simi seal and Senyo dubbing are great. I have almost the full range of SLF dubbings and multiple packs of Prism SLF peacock. I'm extremely happy with its performance in a wide variety of flies.

For dubbing loops on trout Spey flies, Angora Goat is fantastic. Wool, especially Jamieson's shetland spindrift, australian possum, Hare's ear, mole, coyote and fox squirrel are also excellent in certain uses.

IF I could tie classic salmon flies (don't I wish?!), I would probably try a wool, Angora Goat and SLF mix. My tying chops are nowhere near that good, so this is just a hypothetical for me!

Having never tied with seal dubbing, I guess I don't know what I am missing.
I'm a big fan of SLF for a ton of my steelhead flies. It's a perfectly fine sub for seal IMHO. Dubs much easier as well

Does anyone find seal super hard to dub with? I find it good for using in a dubbing loop but I've noticed it's exceptionally slippery when trying to dub normally with it...
Get yourself a bit of tying wax and that should help tremendously. The classic rosin/beeswax stuff is great (Aaron Ostoj and FeathersMC both carry it), but Overton's Wonder Wax is a good option, and more widely available.
 

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Nothing quite like Seal or Angora. Both are excellent dubbed straight on or in a dubbing loop.


Mike
 
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