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Deer belly hair


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19 replies to this topic

#1 Poopdeck

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 10:50 AM

Since making the poopdeck packer I was excited to start packing some deer hair and I ordered 10 packs of belly hair in various colors from a well known, well respected online fly shop even though it was not the cheapest price that I found. I went with the well respected shop for piece of mind that I was going to get a better patch of hair.

My hair came today and to say I am disappointed is an understatement. I typically do not buy much online other then threads, lead, beads, hooks and such while preferring to stay away from feathers and fur simply because I like to physically see them. This has really taken the wind from my packing sails.

The hair packs do not have a consistent patch size, hair length, and some have very inconsistent coloring that bleach out to white at the roots. I can understand the patch sizes would very slightly but some are exceptionally smaller then the others. Only a few packs have hair that seems to be in a good workable length and some look like they have been stored under a crushing pile of crap that folded the hair out of shape.

Some questions to the guys who do lots of hair packing:

1) Is this normal when buying belly hair?

2) Where is the best place to buy quality hair.

#2 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:01 AM

Wapsi belly hair has always been first rate for me... I normally order it in five different colors.  They've been consistent just like everything from Wapsi... Find out if your shop stocks their products since they're a wholesale outfit (but they do supply a lot of shops here and around the world...).

 

Once I found belly hair for spinning that's all I've used (unless I"m working with wool...).


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#3 TheCream

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:25 AM

I only buy belly hair from Pat Cohen at www.rusuperfly.com.  I have not had a bad bag yet from him.  Other online places seem pretty hit or miss, with a lot of misses. 



#4 Mogup

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:34 AM

White tail fly tying supplies and Pat Cohen have been my two sources.

#5 johnnyquahog

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:36 AM

Is the "well respected shop" processing their own hair?  I'll bet they are simply selling you off the shelf pre-packaged Hairline, NatureSpirit or as Captain Bob mentioned, Wapsi processed hair.  I've found that you really need to sort through a bunch of those packs to get what you want.  If it was from one of these vendors then I'm surprised about the dying issues you describe.   Unless you called them up and specified that if it is not a certain length then you don't want it then it is not their fault.  Pat Cohen offers a decent product but don't expect to get the quality you see him using on the videos unless you request it.   Whitetail Fly Tying, which used to be Chris Helm's place, has custom strips of hair in either natural white or bleached white.  If they happen to have 2" hair you will pay a premium for it.  The web site used to have, probably still does, a good explanation on how much usuable belly hair is on a typical whitetail and how scarce 2" hair actually if.



#6 Flicted

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 11:41 AM




If this works, here are a couple interesting videos on deer hair.

#7 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:22 PM

+1 on rusuperfly.com -- I've gotten all my belly hair from Pat for a couple of years now and have never gotten a bad batch.


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#8 tjm

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 12:52 PM

I don't use a lot of deer, but they like all animals have very little hair on  the belly; look at your dog's belly fur/hair then look  at his back- see a difference? Of the common furbearers only cats have much on the belly, other animals are similar  to the family dog. Even cows have sparse belly hair. So if the supplier is just cutting strips or chunks of hide you will find some very lacking. There's a deer hide in my drive right now that Her dog dragged in and Capt's comment has me in the notion of salvaging it for at least a trial of belly hair.



#9 Mark Knapp

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 01:12 PM

Why belly hair? Because it's white? or are there other reasons?



#10 mikechell

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 01:29 PM

 very little hair on  the belly

Almost ALL great deer hair guys use the belly hair.  It's not, at all, like a dog's.

 

Poopdeck ... I don't know what the rest of the hair looks like, but the "roots" being white is NOT a problem.  You'll trim all that off as you shape the fly, anyway.


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#11 Flicted

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:37 PM

There are reasons that deer hair from different parts of the body work better for different applications. Caddis, comparadun, spinning... Watch the top YouTube above on selecting the right deer hair.

#12 Capt Bob LeMay

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:42 PM

The belly hair spins very nicely but... the main reason I like is that it's naturally white so that any dyeing leaves much brighter colors than dyed body hair that is naturally brown... Really bright colors are a staple of materials being used when bright colors are wanted in the salt... Funny thing, about 1/4 of the stuff I do is designed to be the opposite of bright (when doing shrimp or crab patterns - or when running stuff meant for winter conditions when "drab" ought to be the primary color(s)...

 

Here's a mullet pattern -the Razor cut Mullet.. using belly hair... the second photo is a mullet pattern - used mostly in winter with wool instead of spun hair - for a sinking pattern - the Woolhead Mullet.   Each has their place and time - both come with wire weedguards for the bad places my anglers have to toss them into... 

 

emap5Wm.jpg

 

1u2p4xM.jpg


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#13 tjm

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 02:59 PM

You have likely butchered more deer than I, Mike, so I won't argue the point. But I do suspect "belly" in marketing terms means white from flank to chest. The deer here just don't seem to have any good hair on their actual belly, it's sparse and swirly, growing from the flank down, from the legs up and from the chest rearward doesn't seem to leave much that can be straight. 

The point of the dog was not the quality of hair but the sparsity of it, Four legged animals as a rule have the belly area protected most of the time and consequently it is relatively bare. 



#14 Bryon Anderson

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 03:51 PM

Mark Knapp -- (sorry, the "quote" function doesn't work on my work computer) --

 

Belly hair is desirable for spinning and stacking on floating bass bugs because of its propensity to take dye well and achieve brighter colors, as Capt. Bob pointed out above, but I would say the reason most hair guys prefer it for floating bugs is because of its texture and composition. It has little pockets of air in the stem of each hair, making it partially "hollow". This obviously aids in floatation, but it also makes the hair highly compressible. This means that it flairs severely when compressed by thread. It also means that spun or stacked bunches of hair can be tightly compressed with a hair packer to form a dense body.


"... trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience." -- John Voelker (aka Robert Traver), Testament of a Fisherman


#15 Mark Knapp

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 03:53 PM

You have likely butchered more deer than I, Mike, so I won't argue the point. But I do suspect "belly" in marketing terms means white from flank to chest. The deer here just don't seem to have any good hair on their actual belly, it's sparse and swirly, growing from the flank down, from the legs up and from the chest rearward doesn't seem to leave much that can be straight. 

The point of the dog was not the quality of hair but the sparsity of it, Four legged animals as a rule have the belly area protected most of the time and consequently it is relatively bare. 

 

I don't know much about what deer hair is good for what flies, but I do know this. Northern deer have thicker belly hair, and hair in general than southern deer. I bet if you get to know someone who hunts a late hunt in the north you could get some 2 inch belly hair. I don't have any right now or I'd share with you. I will be on the look out for some though.