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calf tail substitute
Posted 02 November 2016 - 04:31 PM
Happily living in "Longmire's" county
Posted 02 November 2016 - 05:58 PM
To be pretty good.
Posted 03 November 2016 - 03:59 AM
To me nothing looks quite like calves tail. That said, these days I mostly use poly yarn or even antron, unless the calves tail was for tailing fibers. But I do posts and wings mostly with synthetics these days. I do use some deer hair and mallard as well. Calves tail is pleasing to the fisherman, has a traditional look etc. For tying, the synthetics are easier, and the fish just plain don't care either way. It's all about the human acceptance, not the fishes.
John 7:38 ESV is about "Rivers of Living Water"
Posted 03 November 2016 - 08:04 AM
I've been told badger hair is a good sub if you are tying streamers
Posted 03 November 2016 - 12:26 PM
Posted 03 November 2016 - 08:04 PM
Try calf body hair as a substitute for calf tail on Wulff flies. It is much easier to use.
Calf Body Hair
A good piece of calf body hair will be one of your best finds. Calf body hair is fine and often somewhat wavy. The most useable calf hair is dense and straight, making it much easier to clean and stack than its wavy counterparts. Tiers come into the shop all the time complaining about the overall quality of calf body hair, and for the most part I have to agree with them. Most commercially available calf hair is extremely short, wavy, and sparse, rendering it perhaps the most frustrating of all materials to work with. A bad piece of calf body hair is enough to make you give up on the hair and look for an alternative.
So, what to do? Keep looking. There is some good hair out there. In my shop, I typically order calf hair two dozen pieces at a time. Out of those twenty-four patches of hair, a little more than half is useable, and the remainder is typically garbage and goes back to the supplier. Most shops just put them all on the peg and leave it up to you to know what to look for.The inherent process of elimination leaves these weak links on the peg for eternity, and the shop owner doesn’t order any more because, well,the peg is full.What’s left for you is the garbage.Ask your favorite shop’s fly-tying guru to order a new batch of hair and perhaps even bribe him into letting you high-grade through the patches when they arrive. Tying gurus are easily bought off with shiny bits of flash and pretty materials, not unlike crows or raccoons.
Once you have a new batch of calf hair in front of you, look for densely packed hair with few bare spots or sparse areas. You’ll want hair that is as straight as possible, although if a small portion of the patch is wavy and the rest is straight, it is still a viable candidate. Calf hair is generally short, but select the longest hair that you can find. If you can find a patch with hair that is three-quarters of an inch or longer, you are doing pretty well. Check for nicely tapered and intact tips; broken tips on calf hair ruin the overall effect you want on flies like Royal Wulffs and other hairwings.When you find good calf hair, grab several pieces so you’ll have them when you need them.
"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy
Posted 03 November 2016 - 08:38 PM
it's not created equally
the gales of November remembered...
Posted 03 November 2016 - 09:24 PM
Happily living in "Longmire's" county
Posted 03 January 2017 - 01:58 PM
Hi Mountain Mama,
All the posts in this thread are excellent and offer good advice. If you decide you still want to use calf tail hair then you can do a couple of things to it to improve its handling properties. We wash ALL of our calf tails with warm water and Woolite, run a comb through the wet hair then hang the tail to dry (hair fibers pointing down). Once it is dry, we dust a bit of talcum powder (or baby powder) in the tail then shake out as much as we can before tying the fibers on the hook. When treated in this manner, calf tail hair can even be stacked reasonably well as long as the hair isn't too kinky. Good luck. Take care & ...