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Discussion Starter #1
Well, since I won't be doing any serious steelhead fishing until September, I guess its time to tie,tie,tie or something to that effect, broken up of course by friends, a patio, and beer and oh ya that hindrance we all know as work! Anyway, I had some success this spring with "bunny leeches" and hence am tying up some new color schemes to try out. My problem is that I can only tie these flies to about a size 6 and then the rabbit strip becomes too thick for anything less than a #6. I am using the 1/8" strips and was wondering if you can get a narrower diameter in pre-cut strips, or do I have to buy a whole hide and cut them myself, and if so does anyone know of a good supplier.
Thanks, for your help, and now it's time for me to go and celebrate the rest of Canada Day with friends, on a patio, and, well you get the picture!!:)

Mike
 

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Mike, make sure you get in contact with

"ST69" on this subject. He tied up several sizes/colours for my use down here on the Rogue. OUTSTANDING job .... and he still holds the edge for fly with most salmon hook-ups.
Fred
 

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I've purchased hides and sliced them myself with awesome results. It's not easy to find a good hide though. I like a thin "leather" thickness and prefer the dye to have penetrated the hide as well as the fur. I also like no fluff, just hair that breathes.

If you are selective with the purchases you make at the flyshop peg you can get some nice stuff; they are not all the same.

I've used quite a bit o bunny in my steelhead days for my black bunny rat pattern (see archives). It's essentially a leech with a matching deer-hair muddler head. Wobbles like crazy in current and I have caught a lot of steelhead on it.
 

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I saw (and probably bought ;) ) some rabbit strips that Umpqua refered to as fur hackles which had a thinner strip a while back. I'll try to stop at Blue Northern tonight on the way home to verify this info.
 

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MikeB,

I just got some Magnum Bunny strips at my fly shop a couple of weeks ago which I think would fit on a size 6 hook. When I get home tonight will advise who they are from. I am also becoming a bunny strip convert, had a summer run slam a big black one last Friday.:smokin:

Hal
 

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Some suppliers are offering mink strips for smaller flies. I haven't tried them. But for smaller leeches, why not just use maribou?
 

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I stopped at the Blue Northern last night and they had strips by Spirit River that were 1/16" wide. The Umpqua strips I mentioned were 1/8"wide. I hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks!!

Thanks for the help guys, I will definitely look into seeing about getting some of the 1/16" strips, but I might try Juro's method of buying the hide and cutting them myself. I would probably end up saving money in the long run and then I can cut to the exact size(s) I might need.

Any suggestions on color combos above and beyond the basic blacks, purples, oranges, etc??

Thanks

Mike
 

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Mike,

I stopped at my fly shop today and picked up some more of those Magnum Bunny Strips, there from Hareline Dubbin.

They look like there are 1/4 inch but you can cut and tapper the end to tie on your hook. I'm tying white, black, purple, and chartreuse, and orange for steelhead.

Give white a try a guide turned me on to this pattern this year and the big browns also like it. Tied with bead chain eyes and a body of white or silver sparkle chenille with the white bunny strip it is a killer fly in michigan.

$ 2.50 for a pack of three, each a strip about 12 inches long.

Just keep them in Ontario and NY waters far from my drifts :chuckle:

Good luck !

Hal
 

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Discussion Starter #10
No Promises!!

Hal,
I will also look for the magnum bunny strips you mentioned next time I'm in the local shop. I too have had some good success fishing a white bunny strip with a white crystal chenille body and a silver bead just in behind where the bunny is tied off at the head. I have caught fish on the Niagara RIver, whre the baitfish bite is definitely what's happening!!

Unfortunately I can't promise that I will only stick to ON and NY waters, as I may take a jaunt out to the Big M. to sample some of those fine summer runs you've got. Ontario and New York have great fishing don't get me wrong, unfortunately that fishing is still a couple of months away!!

Mike:devil:
 

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cutting rabbit strips

If anyone has found a good way of cutting rabbit strips, I would like to hear about it. I find that it is nearly impossible to cut a uniform width, and to cut only skin and not hair. The people who cut for the retail market must have some kind of jig and/or special knife. Cutting on a board scalps about half of the strips when cutting zonkers strips, and scalps almost all of the strips when cutting cross-cut. Also, no matter what I try, I end up with a lot of fluff flying around.
 

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Mike, I tie a lot of bunny leaches for steelhead. I've never had a problem finding good quality, full pelts. They are very inexpensive (~$12-$15 CDN.). Any fly shop that sells good quality tying materials should be able to quickly order a pelt to your specs. I use a seam ripper to cut strips to whatever width is appropriate for my tying needs. You can get a seam ripper at any sewing store for ~$3-$4 CDN.

Regards!

P.S.: If you use a seam ripper to cut strips, you might consider doing it outside - the fur will fly.
 

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rabbit strip cutting tool

Mark B. at his Fly Shop at Welches (www.flyfishUSA.com) once showed me a cutting tool made from box cutter blades, Stanley type, etc. and washers.
He had simply lined the cutting edges together, separated by the thickness of the washers to produce the desired width of strip, and used superglue or silicone to secure the assembly together.
Holding the rabbit hide by hand or in a stretching device, think needlepoint frame, he then ran the blades through the skin from the leather side, in the direction needed to produce the crosscut or zonker style of strip.
Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the tips on cutting the rabbit hide. I am currently tying the strip leeches zonker style, but would also like to tie some like the "big black" with the palmered strip as they look pretty neat and a little fuller than the standard zonker style tie.

Mike
 
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