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Shmang

Kapok Dubbing - can I use regular floatant?

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A question for folks who have tied dry fly patterns using Kapok Dubbing - can I use regular floatant? Do I need any special treatment to keep it floating high? Just got it in and starting to whip up a few flies. I was going to add some Water Shed but I figured I might ask before doing so if that would be alright.

 

Thanks

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I’ve never used it, but why not put some of the material in some water and watch how high and how long it floats. That should tell you something.

BB

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I think you can use regular floatant or powder floatants. As you know, Kapok is much, much lighter than cotton so it should be more naturally bouyant.

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I use Loon Aquel and it works fine on my kapok dubbed flies

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Since 1 lb of kapok can support 30 lbs in the water I'll think that floatant is moot.

Kim

And NO, I have never applied a pound of kapok on a fly!!

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46 minutes ago, WWKimba said:

Since 1 lb of kapok can support 30 lbs in the water I'll think that floatant is moot.

Kim

And NO, I have never applied a pound of kapok on a fly!!

Kim.

Kapok in life preservers works by lowering the specific gravity of what it attached to just below the SG of water, ie, below 1.0

To do that, Kapok must be SUBMERGED. So Kapok works like a bobber works. If Kapok dubbing was to work by submersion, the fly body would have to be partially sunken.

But that is not what we want in a dry fly dubbing. The dry fly must float ON the film if used as dubbing on a parachute fly or if supported by a palmered hackle dry fly, above the film.

Fly Floatants work by actually REPELLING water so they support the fly on the film if the fly body hits the water.

Water is a polar molecule. Oil is a non polar molecule. Oil and water do not mix because their molecules actually REPEL each other.

Here's a post on how fly floatants work

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/general-discussion/345179-fly-floatants-noobies-what-floats-your-fly.html#post642614

 

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Thanks all for your feedback and comments - much appreciated.  My intent is to use it on Parachute dries. I picked up a pack each of the BWO and Adams colors -- should cover most hatches was my initial thought.

In the past my dry fly tying game has not been the best (using inferior hackle and bad technique on my part) so using this dubbing hopefully make for a better fly.  I have picked up some quality hackle and am being mindful of tying execution in a quest to up my game.

The package says  to the effect "Supporting 30 times its weight. Perfect for dry flies - finer than Superfine dubbing at 30-36 micron and 1.8cm fiber in length".  

It does dub on nicely and achieving a taper is relatively simple for my fat hands. 

A link:  https://www.wholesaleflycompany.com/kapok-dubbing

 

Thanks

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2 hours ago, Shmang said:

Thanks all for your feedback and comments - much appreciated.  My intent is to use it on Parachute dries. I picked up a pack each of the BWO and Adams colors -- should cover most hatches was my initial thought.

In the past my dry fly tying game has not been the best (using inferior hackle and bad technique on my part) so using this dubbing hopefully make for a better fly.  I have picked up some quality hackle and am being mindful of tying execution in a quest to up my game.

The package says  to the effect "Supporting 30 times its weight. Perfect for dry flies - finer than Superfine dubbing at 30-36 micron and 1.8cm fiber in length".  

It does dub on nicely and achieving a taper is relatively simple for my fat hands. 

A link:  https://www.wholesaleflycompany.com/kapok-dubbing

 

Thanks

Parachute flies are NOT actually DRY FLIES.

35593320661_8d45a33b08_o.jpg

The parachute hackle is ABOVE the fly body and since the hackle supports the fly, the fly body is IN THE FILM.

Gary Borger published an article in Fly Fisherman Magazine titled, "Film Flies - The Five Stages of Insect Emergence and The Best Flies to Imitate Them"

Unfortunately, the original is now now longer available and the wen archive has only the introduction and none of the illustrations

https://web.archive.org/web/20101230025309/http://www.flyfisherman.com/content/film-flies

Here is where the parachute fly fits:

“TStage 3. The insect pulls its head out of the shuck, followed almost immediately by the legs. At this point it enters stage 3, which is matched perfectly by the universal emerger: a Parachute Adams (or other fly with an upright parachute post such as the Klinkhåmer). [See “The Klinkhåmer Special” in the Dec. 2006 issue for more details. The Editor.]

All three of the surface-emerging insect groups look the same during this stage. That’s why the Parachute Adams is the world’s number 1 dry fly: it matches any mayfly, caddis, or midge in stage 3.

Most fly fishers think of the Parachute Adams as an adult dun imitation, but in reality it is an emerger. In stage 3 the nymphal or pupal body is just under the film and the legs are spread out on the surface to support the body. The body sticks almost straight up, with the wings plastered tightly along the top of the thorax as they continue pulling up and out of the wing pads.

Light reflecting off the upright body with the wings plastered tight along the top, gives the emerging insect a shining, light-colored look.”

I've believed from my early days of reading about emergers that naturals in the process of emergence are continuum of metamorphosis. We try to imitate this prices of change with flies which are a single moment in this process. that is why there are soooo many emerger patterns. I happen to believe that parachutes are closer to emerger than the subimago immature adult, so I now tie them with saddle hackle with convex side down, tied off on the post to get the lowest profile I can.

Still not convinced? Toss a Parachute Adams in a glass of water and view its position.

A more complete explanation is available in Gary's Book, Fishing the Film

Here is a an earlier FFNA post on Fishing the Film, in which Fly Bum notes that Gary calls the Parachute Adams "the universal emerger."

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/general-fly-tying-discussions/135714-reading-fishing-film-gary-borger.html

Here is a post on parachute flies from Gary's Blog.

http://www.garyborger.com/2016/09/09/parachute-flies-stage-3-emerger/

""Supporting 30 times its weight" is really misleading for true dry flies. Since the dry fly body is ABOVE the water, the dubbing CANNOT support the fly. To support the fly, Kapok has to be submerged just like it is in life preservers.

What it can do is make the fly bodies weigh less, but if the body is not IN the water, it CANNOT FLOAT the fly!

Ironically, since a parachute is NOT a dry fly, In your case it can help a parachute lie higher in the film.

 

 

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@SilverCreek that was very educational. Thank you

 

55 minutes ago, SilverCreek said:

Parachute flies are NOT actually DRY FLIES.

35593320661_8d45a33b08_o.jpg

The parachute hackle is ABOVE the fly body and since the hackle supports the fly, the fly body is IN THE FILM.

Gary Borger published an article in Fly Fisherman Magazine titled, "Film Flies - The Five Stages of Insect Emergence and The Best Flies to Imitate Them"

Unfortunately, the original is now now longer available and the wen archive has only the introduction and none of the illustrations

https://web.archive.org/web/20101230025309/http://www.flyfisherman.com/content/film-flies

Here is where the parachute fly fits:

“TStage 3. The insect pulls its head out of the shuck, followed almost immediately by the legs. At this point it enters stage 3, which is matched perfectly by the universal emerger: a Parachute Adams (or other fly with an upright parachute post such as the Klinkhåmer). [See “The Klinkhåmer Special” in the Dec. 2006 issue for more details. The Editor.]

All three of the surface-emerging insect groups look the same during this stage. That’s why the Parachute Adams is the world’s number 1 dry fly: it matches any mayfly, caddis, or midge in stage 3.

Most fly fishers think of the Parachute Adams as an adult dun imitation, but in reality it is an emerger. In stage 3 the nymphal or pupal body is just under the film and the legs are spread out on the surface to support the body. The body sticks almost straight up, with the wings plastered tightly along the top of the thorax as they continue pulling up and out of the wing pads.

Light reflecting off the upright body with the wings plastered tight along the top, gives the emerging insect a shining, light-colored look.”

I've believed from my early days of reading about emergers that naturals in the process of emergence are continuum of metamorphosis. We try to imitate this prices of change with flies which are a single moment in this process. that is why there are soooo many emerger patterns. I happen to believe that parachutes are closer to emerger than the subimago immature adult, so I now tie them with saddle hackle with convex side down, tied off on the post to get the lowest profile I can.

Still not convinced? Toss a Parachute Adams in a glass of water and view its position.

A more complete explanation is available in Gary's Book, Fishing the Film

Here is a an earlier FFNA post on Fishing the Film, in which Fly Bum notes that Gary calls the Parachute Adams "the universal emerger."

http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/general-fly-tying-discussions/135714-reading-fishing-film-gary-borger.html

Here is a post on parachute flies from Gary's Blog.

http://www.garyborger.com/2016/09/09/parachute-flies-stage-3-emerger/

""Supporting 30 times its weight" is really misleading for true dry flies. Since the dry fly body is ABOVE the water, the dubbing CANNOT support the fly. To support the fly, Kapok has to be submerged just like it is in life preservers.

What it can do is make the fly bodies weigh less, but if the body is not IN the water, it CANNOT FLOAT the fly!

Ironically, since a parachute is NOT a dry fly, In your case it can help a parachute lie higher in the film.

 

 

 

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Interesting thred and replies, especially the part of kapok. I have miles of undyed carpet yarn. Makes great parachures, wings, etc. as it floats like a cork without dressing.

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"@SilverCreek that was very educational. Thank you"  I concur that indeed was an outstanding reply - thank you for all the knowledge you provided.

I need to ask then is Kapok dubbing best applied NOT on a parachute pattern? Would standard Superfine be a better material for a standard parachute pattern - or something else other than that even?  Thoughts?

skeet3t - got a photo of a fly tied with your undyed carpet yarn? I like the idea of high flotation with minimal upkeep - that is a winning hand in my book!

Thanks

 

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I've never used Kapok dubbing but I see no reason why it would not work on parachute flies.

When I tie, I like to dub without using any dubbing wax. Dubbing wax gums up the dubbing and makes it harder to make adjustments to the dubbing noodle and move the noodle up or down the tying thread.

I wrote a tying "tip" that describes the "wax less" dubbing technique I use. It was published in Fly Tyer Magazine in 2002. I suggest you try this technique.

 

Here is the article:

"Noted Wisconsin fly tyer Royce Dam - FFF's 1994 Buz Buszek Award Winner taught me the single most helpful dubbing technique I have ever learned. It’s a technique for dubbing tight dry fly bodies without using dubbing wax. I’d like to pass it on. The directions are for a right-handed tyer. Lefties will need to make the reversal.

I am assuming that you wrap thread around the hook in the normal fashion by wrapping away from yourself over the top of the hook and then back underneath, and so on. Wrap the hook with thread, tie in a tail and take the tread back to the back of the hook so that you are ready to dub the body. Do not wax the thread.

For a right-hander, dub the fur clockwise on the thread as seen from the top of the hook. The clockwise direction is critical, as you will see later. Taper the dubbing so that you have a fine dubbing tip at the top of the thread. Unwrap one or two wraps of thread from the tie in point and push the dubbing up the thread so that the fine point of dubbing is at the tie in point. If you wax the thread, the dubbing will stick to the thread, and it will be difficult to advance it up the thread to the tie in point.

Take one or two wraps of thread to fix the tip of dubbing at the tie in point. This wrap traps the end of the dubbing so that is cannot spin free. Grasp the bottom end of the dubbing, and dub/twist it clockwise on the thread. It should spin around the thread getting tighter and tighter since the tip is fixed under the first wrap. Hold on to the bottom of the dubbing so that it cannot untwist and wrap your dubbing forward on the hook. With each wrap of the thread, the dubbing and thread will twist tighter and tighter so that you end up with a very tight, compact and tapered body.

The wax-less technique takes advantages of the fact that as you wind the dubbing around the hook shank, you introduce an additional twist into the dubbing. The dubbing twists one revolution for each wrap. The secret to forming a tightly dubbed body is to use this additional twisting to your advantage."

For nymphs allow the dubbing to untwist as you wrap to get just the amount of bugginess rather than a tight compact body.

You can precisely control the diameter of the dubbing as you wind. Without wax you can push the dubbing up the thread to widen the dubbing noodle or pull down to narrow the dubbing. Or you can twisting tighter if you used too much dubbing to narrow the body or allowing it to untwist to widen it. By using these two additional techniques you get exactly the tapered body you want.

100% synthetics are more difficult but they can be dubbed around the tying thread using this method. They tend to uncoil if you do not hold the bottom of the material with your left hand between twists of your right hand."

I rarely have to use a dubbing loop. The reason is that once you have the material locked into a dubbing loop, you CANNOT rearrange it to thin some areas and thicken others. If you dub without wax and use the method above, you can let the dubbing unwind and crowd the material to add or thin the material to subtract to get the taper you want.

Dubbing loops will give you a rougher spikier looking body. If you want this appearance using the method above, go over the body with a dubbing brush. I use a 22 caliber cleaning tip.

35724586895_8f110cd4ef_o.jpg

You may not believe me but I have seen Royce tie his mouse pattern which he calls an "arctic shrew" WITHOUT shaping the body with a razor or a pair of scissors. I think he uses caribou hair and he layers so the shrew/mouse body tapers naturally. He leaves the body unclipped so the fine hair tips look like fur over the fly. The only shaping of the fly he does is to take a razor blade to the bottom of the fly to cut out any projecting hair flat against the bottom of the hook.

He does the same thing with a Muddler Minnow. Royce tied the head so it is layered and shaped without clipping and shaping the head after tying as most tyers do. He stacks the hair, and used his experience to tie the hair in and the head is shaped without any trimming after tying. You have to see it to believe it.

I have posted some of Royce's flies below to show what is possible with skill and dedication.

Royce passed a few years ago but Royce was no ordinary fly tier. He tied full dress salmon flies, salt water patterns, packed hair bass bugs. Here are some of his shadow box flies that I have displayed in my tying room.

36765256091_64f73b3cda_z.jpg

35557334942_4533a3d814_z.jpg

35594963131_8234fbe44b_z.jpg

35594962941_d752deeecc_z.jpg

35594962761_7bb6b9436c_z.jpg

35557334752_d4263dcf28_z.jpg

 

The Buz Buszek Award is the most prestigious fly tying award of the International Federation of Fly Fishers.

https://www.flyfishersinternational.org/About-Us/Awards/Fly-Tying-Awards#:

 

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I’ve only started using kapok recently, but I like it quite a bit.  It is very easy to dub with.  When it comes to floating a dry fly, I use all the help I can get.  Starting with the right choice of material, I like treat the flies with Water Shed after they come off the vise, then apply Loon Aquel floatant at the stream.

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