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flyfishpj

Hares Mask and Sculpin Wool

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I got a hares mask and was wondering what the best way to use each section of hair. Usually I just buy dubbing, but thought I would change it up a bit. Also, how do I use sculpin wool? I thought I would try this for the first time also. Thanks!

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I tried clipping small bits of fur directly from the hares mask and finger blend the dubbing, but did not like the results that much. I had much better results by clipping off all of the hair from the mask and "wet blending" my own dubbing. To do this you will want to clip the all of the hair from the ears and down the center third of the mask (the area between the ears is the pole). I clip the cheeks separately to get a courser dubbing for the thorax of a fly. You will end up with two small piles of fur. To wet blend the dubbing, put the clippings in a small tupperware bowl (or anything with a sealing lid). Add two of three drops of dish washing detergent and add warm tap water to the half way point in the bowl. Seal the lid and shake vigorously over the sink. After the mixture is well blended, you will need to slowly pore the mixture through a fine strainer and rinse with cold water. Squeese out the excess water and place the fur ball on clean paper towels to dry. Repeat for the other material.

 

This method may sound messy (and it is), but the dubbing that you make directly from the hares mask is outstanding (very buggy compared with the pre-mixed stuff). You can also add other dubbing to the clippings to tailor your color and flash of the finished dubbing.

 

I learned this method from Polly Rosborough's book "Tying and Fishing the Fuzzy Nymph"

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As you look at a typical hare’s mask, you will notice a range of colors -- lighter on the cheeks, darker between the cheeks and ears. You will also notice guard hairs distributed throughout the mask, except on the ears themselves.

 

I believe the best guard hairs for use as tailing material on fur nymphs (such as, surprise, the Gold-Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph pattern) are found in the area just above and between the cheeks, as the guard hairs there are the right color and sufficiently long for that purpose. (The guard hairs on the cheeks are too light, in my opinion, and those further up on the mask are often too short.)

 

Thus, I try to conserve the area with good tailing material for nymph tails. Otherwise, I use the rest of the mask interchangeably as dubbing. I only distinguish between areas in order to lighten or darken the shade of the dubbing mix. (I prefer the thoraxes on my fur nymphs be a little darker than their abdomens and draw fur from different areas and mix until I get the right respective shades.)

 

When clipping off fur for dubbing you will also clip off guard hairs in the process – I leave these in the mix for nymphs and wet flies but remove them for dry flies. To remove the guard hairs, just hold the butt end of the clipped-off fur in your finger tips and use the finger tips of the other hand to gently draw off the guard hairs.

 

I avoid the fuzzy stuff on the ears themselves entirely, although I’m sure someone has found a use for that stuff – it just doesn’t mix well using finger tips. Otherwise, I’ve been satisfied with just blending with my finger tips, but I’ll have to try that “wet blending” technique one of these days.

 

-- Mike

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I think you mainly use sculpin wool on woolhead sculpin patterns and such. The wool sinks, unlike deer hair. Stack it like deer hair, though it won't flare like deer hair will.

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