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Hair/ Fur type and holding water? (heavy when wet?)

rabbit muskrat fox fur squirrel

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9 replies to this topic

#1 JohnboyPotomac

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 02:13 PM

I'm looking for feedback on what type of fur/hair material would hold water very well and become heavy when wet. How would you rate rabbit, muskrat, squirrel, fox? As well as any suggested fur/hair types?

Many thanks - Johnboy

 



#2 Dave G.

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 02:40 PM

They all get overcome eventually but rabbit is quick to absorb water and muskrat the most repelling. The other two someplace in between but both get used in wet flies more so than dries dries.


John 7:38 ESV  is about "Rivers of Living Water"


#3 tidewaterfly

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 03:19 PM

When I first started tying, 50 years ago natural fur was the most used for wet & dry flies. The fur of those animals that spent a lot of time in the water, such as beaver, muskrat, otter, or mink have natural oils that help limit how much water the fur will absorb, at least initially, and these furs were often used for dry fly bodies. Fur from "land" animals, rabbit, fox, squirrel, raccoons, opossum etc were used more for wet applications because they absorb water more readily, but they too have some natural oils in them. Rabbit, likely does absorb faster than the rest, and how fast each may absorb water might depend some on the individual animal, it's age, and how the material has been processed. Tanned & dyed fur will have less of the natural oils as the processes remove much of it. Dried, raw fur will have more oils in it, even if washed. 

 

Both rabbit & squirrel will get wet quickly, but rabbit is a softer, denser hair usually so it's going to absorb & hold more water than squirrel which is a courser hair. 

 

Of course, any can be used for wet or dry applications, but a floatant will certainly be needed if you use something like rabbit on a dry fly body. The pinkish, urine stained vixen fox was a popular fur for the Hendrickson Dry Fly, and fox absorbs water quite readily. But, folks liked the natural color as it's difficult to match with dyes. 

 

Also, nothing says you can't mix various furs to get something that absorbs & sinks at a desired rate, but that will take some experimentation perhaps to find exactly what you want. I like to use rabbit as a dubbing for nymphs, but have mixed it with other furs, such as Aussie Opossum. By mixing both natural colors & dyed, and different textures the possible combinations are almost endless.

 

You haven't said what you're tying, but any fur has it's use. I've collected many types, and have yet to find one I don't like, and the best way to find out is try various types. 

 

However, a word of warning, be sure it's legal! That can get you in serious trouble if you're caught. 

 

BTW, welcome to the site! smile.png



#4 agn54

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Posted 05 September 2016 - 05:06 PM

Another thing to factor in if you are tying in strips is the hide itself which often absorbs water, especially for rabbit. 



#5 Cold

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:03 AM



#6 Brodrash

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 08:36 AM

Badger hair wicks up water rather well



#7 JSzymczyk

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 04:58 AM

I'll go out on a dangerous limb and ask what you mean by "become very heavy when wet"?  Rabbit strip flies hold a LOT of water which makes them heavy when you are trying to cast them.   IN THE WATER a material is not "heavy" because it is wet.   That's like saying your clothes are heavy in air because they are soaked with air.  Water in water is weightless (more or less).


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#8 mikechell

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 05:50 AM

Water in water is weightless (more or less).

True ... but would a weighted fly sink faster if more absorbent fur is used?  If the OP is trying to decide which hair to use to get the fly down, maybe it's not about the hair sinking the fly ... but about the hair not RESISTING the sinking of the fly.


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#9 Dave G.

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 06:47 AM

Today makes 4 days since we heard from the OP and maybe he would return and clarify his thoughts.


John 7:38 ESV  is about "Rivers of Living Water"


#10 Cold

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Posted 09 September 2016 - 09:40 AM







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: rabbit, muskrat, fox, fur, squirrel