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I have several questions about buying materials for fly tying, so I'm hoping to get as much info as possible in one thread. Here

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  • I have several questions about buying materials for fly tying, so I'm hoping to get as much info as possible in one thread. Here

    I have several questions about buying materials for fly tying, so I'm hoping to get as much info as possible in one thread. Here goes: 1\. I'm looking at buying some markers for coloring/mottling streamers and nymphs, and I've read that many like the Prismacolor markers: What do you use? Why? Which colors do you have by your vise? What do you carry on the stream? What should I pay for them? 2\. What are the advantages of mule deer hair versus northern whitetail versus elk versus moose body? I've used a little of each, and I have some opinions, but I want to know what other, more experienced tyers choose, and why? 3\. Is there any way to toughen up peacock herl when it's tied whole/long/flowing in streamer patterns, such as black-nosed dace, etc.? I've thought about spraying it with spray varnish, just to see what happens, but I was wondering if there's something else better that's already being used. 4\. Are there cheap common substitutes at Walmart, etc., for darlon, z-lon, tri-lobal fibers, antron dubbing, etc.? I know that antron was originally a carpet fiber (and I think tri-lobal was, too), but how do you find it to be able to use it? 5\. What are some tips for buying and storing Zap-a-Gap? I love this stuff, but there are several options available, and I don't want to buy them all. Also, I seem to always end up gluing the nozzle closed and/or spilling an opened bottle: how do you guys avoid this? Is there something cheaper than Zap-a-Gap that's as good? I love it, but it's not cheap. 6\. I hate mixing epoxy, so I try to use Hard-as-Nails or Hard-as-Hull after it's partially dry to build up thick, translucent coats on nymph wingcases or caddis larva. Am I missing a better way to do this? How do you guys do this? I don't know how many people will respond to all of these questions, but I promise that I will read your answers. I'm kind of isolated from other fly tyers (I live and teach overseas), so I have nobody nearby to talk about these things. Sayfu, your long, detailed answers would be most welcome here. Thanks!

  • #2
    first of all, the prisma colors are not bad and not expensive. do not use sharpies. they will run or fade easily, though i have in the past. i make and sell poppers for bass or bigger fish and can't use them forthat either. deer hair depends on what you are tying. for most flies i use only whitetail belly hair which is the best for spinning hair for mouse patterns and other flies. as far as moose or elk hair, they all float pretty well so again, it depends on what you are tying. i have used moose for an elk hair caddis and did just fine. no, you cannot strengthen herl. spraying it with somethine will tamp down the fibers and restrict the movement. most flies are desposible and don't last more than a couple fish. i do not try to substitute for z lon or antron. you can get it at any fly shop or online pretty easily. when using zap a gap,make sure to clean the tip each time you use it and make sure it is sealed right away. it will set up very quick and is good stuff. your hard as nails is pretty good, too. i use it a lot and get it for a dollar at the dollar store and it lasts a long time. i only use the sally hanson stuff. i use it during each stage of a fly or popper when i can and it makes them last a lot longer. if you get to much on a wing case, you will be hurting the fly. what flies are you tying and what kind of fish are you after? i might be able to give you more if i knew. hope this helps.

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    • #3
      sorry about the typos.

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      • #4
        Jamesti, you've helped, already. I'm just getting started fly tying, but I fish for anything that's available, which means mainly trout, largemouth, and smallmouth, in that order.

        I'm sorry that I wasn't more specific with the hair question: I was thinking in terms of hardiness and floatability, mainly. I know that the deer belly hair is popular because it dyes well, but does it have any other different characteristics from regular deer hair? I just learned how the bucktail hairs are more hollow as you move towards the base (away from the tip), so I'm wondering what else I'm missing. Also, I saw a YouTube video of a spun-hair mouse pattern that used caribou, which is longer. I like working with hair and bucktail, so any info is good.

        As far as flies I'm tying, I'm trying almost everything I've ever used before, and some things I haven't. I like the translucent effect of epoxy, especially on caddis larva and other in-the-round nymphs. I think that the translucence as the hook turns with the current makes the fly look like a squirming larva.

        Do you have a preference for epoxy?

        Thanks, again.

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        • #5
          the way deer stay dry is through their hair which, as you mentioned, is hollow almost like a straw. this is especially true on the belly. the only real difference that i have found is that you can spin the belly hair better than the rest of the hide. i totally forgot about caribou since have not lived in alaska for a long time. it also does very well. buck is more hardy but has he same flotability as a doe or moose or elk. actually, i think elk is the best of the three. the three can be interchanged if necessary as i said before. as far as mule deer goes, there is not a lot of difference except for the tail. if you want to use deer hair for general fly tying aside from spinning it which the belly hair is used for, the rule i have gone with is also use the patch along the back and the tail. the rest i don't mess with too much. if you really want to tie something buggy, use the under fur of almost any part of the deer. hope this helps. we should talk more. i remember when i was starting out. if there is something i don't know, i can always find out. i fish with the fly tying kings! let me know if i can help further. oh, and as far as epoxy, i just use the 2 part if i need it but i rarely do, except for certain flies. try a product called UV Knot Sense, especially for stick on eyes if you ever tie streamers. just make sure to get a UV light. very inexpensive and the eyes and whatever else you put it on will be bullet proof! let me know how things go for you and if you need anything else. good luck.

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          • #6
            I live in South Dakota where there are both mule and whitetail deer, and it's a question of preference for which tag to get. If you had to choose one or the other for bass bugs and floating mayfly and caddis dries, would you have a preference? I've also never used a muley tail, yet. Does it work for bucktail streamers, etc.? I'd think it would dye well, and I'd think the black tip would be handy.

            Also, have you ever worked with antelope? I've hunted them but never tied with the hair, which seems shorter and more brittle, but also more hollow. If it's usable, I'd think that all of the white patches would be handy for dying.

            I have a friend who traps small fur-bearers in his spare time, so I'm hoping to get some hides from him. He's not a fly fisherman, but he says that he especially likes the soft feel of skunk fur, which I assume would mean it also breathes in the water. Besides the common ones--hare, bunny strips, squirrel, muskrat, and beaver--have you used other hides that you've liked? If so, what did you use it for, and what were the qualities that you liked about it? I think it would be fun to experiment, so I imagine what a raccoon zonker would look like or a leech pattern made with skunk hair. Have you ever used American opossum? I assume that it must not have similar qualities to the Australian, or else you'd see it for sale more often.

            Once again, thanks for taking the time to answer. I appreciate it a lot.

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            • #7

              You ask questions that could fill a book to answer..like deer hair. Different parts of the deer create hair for different uses. And that is just one question.

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              • #8
                Sayfu, it's difficult to find a posting on fly fishing on this site on which you haven't commented--often at great length--but when I specifically ask you to comment, you're overwhelmed?

                I have asked several questions, so pick one you like and ignore the others. You don't have to write a book--you don't have to do anything. You like to share your knowledge, and I'd like to access it.

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                • #9

                  Naw, how could anyone be overwhelmed with all of those questions? I'm a college graduate, and didn't read that much material in 4 yrs. of college. You need to enroll in a flytying class, and gather that info over time, not have someone answer all that stuff in a post. And hair is a 400 level course. Few on this site for sure, know that much about deer hair I can guarantee you that.

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                  • #10

                    Jan...I can't speak for you, but I've quit posting much about what I know because I spend a lot of time answering a poster's questions, and they don't respond back. I may need more info, and no response, no thanks...I quit posting especially if it can be answered in a short response.

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                    • #11
                      Did you really read this thread? If I could enroll in a fly tying class, I wouldn't be writing here. I've already responded to everything posted, usually quite quickly, so that excuse is also moot.

                      You "guarantee" a lot, but now that you what you've repeatedly asked for--someone who asks serious questions about fly fishing-related topics, who responds to posts, etc.--you're ducking out. You have a chance to prove that you know what you're talking about, and you've got ... nothing. Thanks, buddy.

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                      • #12
                        P.S.--Jamesti answered most of the original questions in one posting, and he was kind enough to follow up with more afterwards. Apparently, he knows what he's talking about, and he's not afraid to share it, so I think you already blew your "guarantee."

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                        • #13

                          jamesti is not the greatest source for someone wanting to know about fly tying, and material characteristics, but I hope your satisfied. Just the topic of deer hair attracted my focus. It has been a decades long pursuit to understand the characteristics of deer hair, and the best ways it can be used. And I did duckout. Not you, but previous posters have me duckin. There are far better sources of info in this age of communication than this F & S thread I can guarantee you that.

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                          • #14
                            I'm late to the party here , but if I may, I'll offer these observations. The "softer" the hair from a cervid(deer, elk, moose, etc.)the more hollow it is, that is, along the length of hair, hence its buoyancy and ease of use for spinning, because it flares so well. Deer belly hair and so I've heard, carabou, are fine examples of this. Harder hairs, like that from the upper part of the body, don't flare nearly as much and that's why it is better used for wings(it also has a more abrupt taper at the ends too)and such. Some hair, like coastal deer, has very little "hollowness" and little flare, and it's the preferred hair for tying comparaduns and sparkle duns, since the hardness of the hair makes it very stiff and serves the same function as hackle in floating the fly. Moose body hair is relatively hard as well, and I use it predominantly as tailing material. A word about so-called "hard" hairs like moose and coastal: they can be difficult to tie in because of that hardness, and the thread can slide right down the hair bundle, the best way to tie it in is to use several firm "pinch wraps" to keep it in place. As for super glues, I use the Locktite brand gel that comes in the bottle that you squeeze the sides on and has a twist-on cap. It's cheap, widely available, the gel form stays right where you want it, and IMO, can't be beat for ease of use. Also Sharpies are alright for general marking purposes, but they come in limited colors to the fly tier. Prismacolors come in a more vesatile range, plus they have a broad end and a fine end for precision work. Hope this helps.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks, backcast, that is good info. Have you ever tied antelope hair? I don't have access to it, right now, but it's about the most hollow hair I've ever seen.

                              Comment

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