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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
you are great inspiration for me when it comes to tying. I have to be away from my vise for a while, but, I am using this time to line up some exciting tying projects when I am back to my bench.

personally, I like to tie flies that fish well. aesthetic is secondary to me. For a while I have been thinking about material choices. Especially, for swung fly presentation for steelhead. To narrow it down further, I personally use rabbit strips, marabou, and arctic fox/temple dog to add lots of movement to my steelhead flies.

now, I am wondering how would you describe the comparative advantages and disadvantages of the above materials from two particular stand points. One, "sink-ability". Two, "cast-ability". I know that with heavy enough sink tip and weight in the body of the fly you could make any fly sink deep, but, that inherently affect the castability of the fly. I am interested to know what are the complementary characteristics of these materials that makes them more suited for deep slow swing with lots of movement, and also makes them easier to cast.

I am leaving the option of synthetics and feather materials out of this discussion. may be we will tackle that one in the future.

Thanks for your contribution.

best,

Rw.
 

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I believe, and this may be over simplifying things a bit but I'll give it a go.

Advantage - Your favoured materials list above are materials that tend to have a lot of movement when NOT tied in too densely.

Disadvantage - They can become difficult to cast when sopping wet, and the more material, the slower the fly sinks.

It's the application of these materials that will get you the best of both worlds. A fast sinking, easy casting fly with lots of movement requires strategic placement of the materials with a reduction in how much you use. If I were to look at that list, and try to tie a fly that accomplished the above, I'd shoot for something like the following.

20mm shank with trailing hook.
Rabbit strip tied in at the back with enough overhand to reach the end of the trailing hook.
Some sort of tinsel or braid body.
Lay the rabbit over the body and secure again at the front of the fly where the throat will be tied.
A couple of strands of flash tied in laterally.
A single marabou feather, stripped down one side, wrapped in as a throat.
Set of eyes in front of it all for weight.

This will have a load of movement and the reduction in materials will make it easier to cast and allow the fly to sink quicker.
 

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Matt Arciaga
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Not sure how you usually attach you fur materials, but if you spin it in dub loops, you could take advantage of stripping a vast majority of the underfur out and leave only a pinch with a lot of guard hairs, this will cut your bulk down but will make everything lay very flat, a dub ball right behind the spun fur dollie (brush) will make it puff back out, I dont quite know what type of iron you prefer, but a heavy iron would obviously help get things down as long as your body isnt a giant diameter seal fur puff ball... hope some of this helps...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for your input. I definitely see the value of the actual design. I also see how sparsely tied flies could help with the sink process.

However, if you were to use a similar design (sparse), but wanted the fly to have a large profile/good action and sink well - what material would you go with........rabbit, marabou, arctic fox, temple fox?
 

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Matt Arciaga
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You could sub out for badger or coyote fur in lieu of fox or raccoon, the coyote or badger is exceptionally long with not too dense of an under fur. Maybe a copper long tube with a cone head to balance the hook. Also, badger and coyote are cheaper than the others, natures spirit has some really cool dyed colors.
 

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I think for profile I'd go with a stiffer material behind a softer one, much like the design intent behind the intruder. From the materials you listed, an Arctic Fox wing with a collar of marabou in front of it might give that profile that you are looking for. Marabou on it's own will slink down to nothing unless supported.
 

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thanks for your input. I definitely see the value of the actual design. I also see how sparsely tied flies could help with the sink process.

However, if you were to use a similar design (sparse), but wanted the fly to have a large profile/good action and sink well - what material would you go with........rabbit, marabou, arctic fox, temple fox?
You seem to be describing the qualities which were the basis for the intruder designed by Ed Ward et al.

Assuming you'll be using some other body material (silk/floss/tinsel etc); the wing(s), to give a good bulky fishing profile yet sink well just using the materials you originally listed, I would agree that you would need a 'post' to boost the wings (fox underfur), then sparse a. fox guard hairs tied in the round over the post, then a goodly collar of marabou.


Mike
 

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I usually test steelhead/salmon wet flies by flipping out a rod length of line and leader, then watching as the fly swings back to me. We all know that wet maribou flies look like a drowned cat when lifted out of the water. But when swinging in the current, a normal amount of maribou holds a good profile. It's like an airfield wind sock, which, though open at both ends, stays semi-inflated when wind is moving through it.
 

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Matt Arciaga
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Kindove what I had in mind

So forgive me, I havent tied a tube or an intruder type fly in a damn long time, this is kinda what I had in mind with the coyote fur wings, used the underfur of artic fox as the dub ball to puff the coyote fur out, note only the long guard hairs were used of the coyote, this is on an 1.5 inch stainless steel tube
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great looking fly, any chance you could share the step by step recipe.

Thanks.

So forgive me, I havent tied a tube or an intruder type fly in a damn long time, this is kinda what I had in mind with the coyote fur wings, used the underfur of artic fox as the dub ball to puff the coyote fur out, note only the long guard hairs were used of the coyote, this is on an 1.5 inch stainless steel tube
 

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Matt Arciaga
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Arctic Fox ball

So others and I mentioned the need to sparse things up but to still give the giant profile, Ive always used a dubbing ball, this time I took the suggestion from BCBound and used just the butts of a pluck of Arctic Fox, which i believe you have. Take your pinch of Arctic Fox and cut about 1/2" away from the skin or cut low and cut about 1/2" off, then slip the entire section into the loop, take hold of the pinch from the tips and cut the tip section off so you have approx 3/8 inch set even in the loop (equal amount sticking out on both sides) then, spin like a pimp, and wrap. you should be left with a dense little ball like this! Take another dub loop, put temple dog in the loop (just the guard hairs and a very small amount of underfur) spin like a pimp, slick the hair so its like a one sided hackle and wrap right in front of the arctic fox ball, play around with it and have some fun. make a sparkle body, and repeat the ball and wing process in the front of the fly, or you could make a body with no back section and just have the front section, kindove like a single winger. Look around in a day or so for a full SBS.
 

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It is interesting how big differences are in using materials on two banks of pond.
Definitely material no1 in Europe for tube flies is fox. flies tied wit is are from 1cm to as big like 10-12cm. Fox is used for flies in two side symmetry when in flies with round symmetry much often is used buck tail . Such a flies have very limited movement which in my opinion is much over estimated . Simply fish can not see in fast current movement of fly elements.
I think that similar story is also with Pacific species but generally they like little bit slower current then when most rods ask for very mobile fly lets follow.
Arctic fox is as mobile as marabou but much more durable .
Next time I have to experiment much more with this material .
In fast current is the most important to tie fly which keep structure .
Instead of dubbing ball I used metal beads and nutria hairs . Such a construction supported soft material much better and is much faster to tie.
What I like it add also some weight in front of fly






 

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bead for plastic tubes

Could someone tell me where I can find brass beads to support materials, like the one in the photo above, with a hole that fits 3mm plastic Euro style tubes? Thanks.
 

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Rosebud. I had them from my guide Jaap Kalkman. I am not sure where you can buy them but simply the easiest is to ask him via Facebook.
https://www.facebook.com/skeenariverflysupply

Now he has also beads painted on pink and orange I think they will be good not only to support wing but also in front of fly. Next season will test them on animals :chuckle:

 
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