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Sharkster

Protecting rubber legs

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what do you use to keep your rubber legs from getting stiff, or breaking down. I know sun is the enemy, but beside keeping them out of the sun there has to be a solution. I'm not convinced armor all is a good choice.

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I've never used it on flies with rubber legs but 303 aerospace protectant works well on everything that is rubber, latex, silicone, vinyl, etc. there slogan is "SPF 40 for your stuff". It would probably wash right off when it got wet though.

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I've NEVER had a problem with the legs getting stiff. I have had real rubber get old and break ... but only on store bought flies. I've got some rubber leg material that I've had for close to 20 years that I still use today ... it's fine.

Real rubber is a natural material ... and as such, breaks down if exposed to sun, ozone, etc. "Plastic" rubber leg material usually doesn't have the same problems, but the wrong chemicals will cause all materials to degrade. Certain flotants and scent products are not made for rubber leg material and can cause them to rapidly deteriorate.

 

If you have material that is breaking down quickly ... I'd recommend getting rid of it and getting a new supply.

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If your legs are getting stiff, I recommend Glucosamine with Chondroitin.

 

In the old days, fishing lure skirts (e.g., Hawaiian Wiggler) would dry out in the tackle box, and get all crumbly. For fly legs, many of them are silicone these days. I have also used the rubber-like strands from bungee cords for legs, and I've got some recently made lure skirts that appear to be silicone as well. I've not had any of them dry out (yet) but I don't keep my tackle out in the garage like I used to. Here in Florida a garage can get very hot, so I don't tempt fate.

 

I'm curious if any of the legs you have getting stiff are modern leg material, and if so do you still have the labeled package they came in? Or are they perhaps older material?

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I've had rubber legs in my tying kit since about 2000 and still use some of my original

purchases. None of those in my original purchase, mostly colors I rarely use, are stiff.

I keep them in plastic containers in my tying/general storage room illuminated only by

artificial light.

 

Mikechell is probably onto something about the difference in materials from which the

rubber legs are made. As I recall some rubbers tend to become hard and stiff and some

tend to become soft and sticky over time. Some rubbers combine the two kinds in an

attempt to balance the two tendencies.

 

Another issue when dealing with rubber legs is that some rubber legs have a memory

like mono. The round rubber legs sold in ribbons commonly come in a bag folded over

on itself several times. The only thing I have found to remove most of the memory and

have long lengths of straight rubber legs is to place them flat on a flat surface and place

a board or other substantial weight and leave them like that for several months.

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I've had the same issues with rubber legs. I quit using them maybe 10-15 years ago, when I saw spinner bait silicone skirts and silicone skirt strips(known in the fly fishing world as "Sili Legs") in both the Barlow's and Jann's Netcraft catalogs. Much better selection of colors, no memory, stiffness or crumbling issues of the rubber legs and a lot cheaper than the packs of "sili legs" you see in fly shops and catalogs. Threw the last of my rubber skirts away when I found some when I was doing a material inventory last year.

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I use silicone legs.

 

Had to many old Peck's and Accardo bugs with legs that got crusty and developed a memory - took a pretty long time though. When silicone came out, I just went to that for my bugs.

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I believe I purchased these from net craft maybe 15 years ago. They are orange and only about 20" or so are getting stiff. I also seperated about a foot of them years ago and these are hardening slightly as well. They are stored out of the sun. I just cut off the hardened material and the layers underneath seem fine. I was just wondering if I could do something to stop it, because you know its prized high dollar stuff....lol. As far as the silicone stuff, I use it as well, but I tie a lot of bluegill bugs and the round just seems to be what my eye is used to. I'm sure the bluegill know too....(smile)

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Sharkster:

There are round silicone skirt materials out there, I have some just can't remember where I picked them up or ordered them from.

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One problem I've had with Sililegs, and haven't purchased any recently, is that they easily broke.

 

Has this problem been corrected? When I tried to pull them through cork bodies, they always

broke in half on me and the bream would bite on them and break them off which didn't happen

to me with the round rubber legs.

 

My experience with the Cascade Crest Micro Mini Silicon legs has been much better. But I wish they

also came in a larger diameter.

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sharkster.... if you want round, get a length of that nylon covered bungee cord. Strip the nylon mesh off and you'll find about a hundred round rubber (or rubberish) strands, just right for popper legs. All I have found were white, but most people (me included) use indelible markers to add "joints" and other colorations to them. PS if you leave a couple of inches of the nylon mesh at one end, it makes it easier to keep them all bundled together.

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I have rubber from a skirt kit BasPro had bout ten yes ago. They're in sheets and you can leave them double when you needle them thru cork bugs and they last. Problem is can't find them anymore....wish they were bigger! Sili legs are just that silly....

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