Baitfish Materials...What to use?

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Thomas Williams, Jul 15, 2013.

  1. Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Posts: 1,380
    Ansbach, Germany
    Ratings: +387 / 16
    I've been tying up some clousers with buck tail but I'm not liking using the bucktail for the bodies. I'm also wanting to tie up a bunch of baitfish for fishing the beaches for SRC's and salmon. What are the alternate materials?
  2. Stonefish Triploid and Humpy Hater

    Posts: 3,862
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,262 / 1
    Fish Hair, Super Hair, Ultra Hair, Farrar Blend, Slinky Fiber or Blend just to name a few that will work.

    Nothing I've found swims or give you a more natural taper for clousers then bucktail.
    What don't you like about the bucktail, difficult to tie or the appearance of the fly?
  3. Thomas Williams Habitual Line Stepper

    Posts: 1,380
    Ansbach, Germany
    Ratings: +387 / 16
    Pikerman....????? I just think bucktail ties in too bulky and tends to spin like deerhair. I was told its poor material I bought and I believe that's correct but I still dislike bucktail. I'm gonna try some of the other materials you mentioned.
  4. Steve Saville Active Member

    Posts: 2,482
    Tacoma, WA
    Ratings: +312 / 1
    I tie a lot with Superhair. It shimmers in the water and is not real bulky. I prefer sparsely dressed flies with flash. I use yak hair once in a while but it's not my favorite. I think I like the Superhair best but have to buy it on-line these days to get the variety of colors I like. Most shops don't carry it anymore.
  5. Stonefish Triploid and Humpy Hater

    Posts: 3,862
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,262 / 1
    Sparse is the word when tying with bucktail. Trying lying down a thread base first before adding the belly. That will stop the bucktail from rolling.
    Use soft wraps first before cinching it down so it doesn't flare.
    Lastly, use hair at the tip of the tail. That is the best hair. Once you get about 1/2 down the tail from the tip the hair quality goes down and can become more hollow.
    SF
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  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,990
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,560 / 0
    Craft Hair, Pseudo Hair... there are a lot of synthetics out there these days that easily replace buck tail.
  7. Mark Mercer Member

    Posts: 1,135
    port orchard, wa
    Ratings: +502 / 0
    BT is the best for clousers imo, I've used just about everything for them, and I think it's the best. Like Stonefish say's sparse
    is key as is a thread base. Firm wraps behind the eye's and softer wraps as you go back towards the tail, this will keep it from spinning and going crazy. Also look closely at the BT you buy, look for small diameter hair but fairly thick and straight. Some of the other suggestions are good and will work, I sometimes use softer materials on smaller clouser's but like marabou it will have a tendency to wrap around the hook when casting.
  8. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,202
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
    Ratings: +958 / 1
    DSC01072 copy.jpeg Thomas,
    Whenever I hear a tier express a dislike for buck tail I find I must defend the material. Could be that you just don't like the stuff. That's fine. Often, however, I find the dislike is due to a lack of familiarity with the material.
    Buck tail (actually deer tail because it comes from both sexes) is a wonderful material. It is naturally tapered, very durable, dyes well, and is relatively inexpensive and readily available.
    The problem with it is that no two tails are alike. They vary due to age, sex, and time of year and place harvested. The preserving, washing, and dyeing process also affects the hair. It also matters which part of the tail you use. As mentioned in other posts, hair taken from the middle of the tail to the tip is generally the best while hair near the base of the tail tends to be hollow and crinkly. It tends to "flair" when tied in and it will float. Sometimes a tier might want this; depends on the pattern. Also, deer tail hair is not the best part of the deer from which to obtain hair for spinning. The rump is best for that.
    Many tiers use too much hair in their streamer patterns. Sparse is good as we are often just creating an illusion of a baitfish. For example, most of my saltwater "buck tails" have only thirty or so hairs.
    If you give deer tail a chance, you will get used to it and soon know what to look for when you purchase tails.
    Regarding the synthetics mentioned: there is some really great stuff available. I try them all and like many but somehow I always come back to good ol' BT.
    For whatever its worth.
    Jack
  9. Roger Stephens Active Member

    Posts: 1,198
    .
    Ratings: +297 / 0
    I have been using artic fox tail for baitfish patterns for many years. What I like about this material is: (1) you get a nice tapered look about the same as bucktail,
    (2) it is supple which gives fly patterns a lot of movement, (3) probably easier to use than bucktail. Extra select craft fur has about the same characteristics.

    Roger
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  10. Pat Lat Mad Flyentist

    Posts: 1,042
    Des Moines
    Ratings: +765 / 0
    another vote for finding good buck tail, there's no real replacement.

    IMG_7173.JPG IMG_7180.JPG
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  11. totallycustom Member

    Posts: 56
    Gig Harbor
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    I've always used bucktail but am interested in trying some caft fur. It is a little cheaper but seems to move more under water. Any body else have a preference on craft fur over bucktail? Who makes the best craft fur? And do you guys mix craft fur and bucktail?
  12. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +133 / 0
    Craft Fur makes a very cool clouser type bug, but its very different from the traditional bucktail clouser. Is also likes to foul more then bucktail but it moves really well so its definatly worth a try. The best craft fur on the market is Extra Select Craft Fur marketed by Hareline. Far Superior to the others I've seen on the market.

    I'm with the others though, bucktail or nothing.
  13. troutdopemagic Active Member

    Posts: 406
    Lake Stevens, Washington
    Ratings: +133 / 0
  14. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 3,990
    Willamette Valley, OR
    Ratings: +2,560 / 0
    Hareline sells a product called Pseudo Hair that is a little easier to use than Craft Fur. When it comes to Craft Fur, the Rainy's product seems the best with the Hareline Premium Craft Fur coming in second.

    I use both BT and synthetics... it just depends on the pattern I'm tying. There is a place for both. BT works fine for Clouser's so I normally use BT. But for other baitfish patterns I prefer the synthetic materials.
  15. AlaskanDan Member

    Posts: 72
    Roy, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I was using extra select craft fur today, I forgot how much I hate that stuff. I tied up some small clousers today using squirrel tail, it keeps the flies nice and sparse, we'll see how it fishes soon.
  16. Jack Devlin Active Member

    Posts: 1,202
    Western Washington, Puget Sound area
    Ratings: +958 / 1
  17. Brooks Werner Member

    Posts: 74
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +9 / 0
    Clouser.JPG I am trying Hareline's Baitfish Emulator Flash this year. Found it late last year, but it makes a nice sparse Clouser with flash in it, and its super easy to use. It comes on a long strand with fibers about 3-4" long so you can just cut off a chunk for the top and a chunk for the bottom. Pics are of hot pink/fuschia (front) and fuschia/chartruse clousers. The pearl baitfish is another great color. The way its strung you can also wrap it around the hook shank if you want your fly to be more full bodied.
  18. DennisE Topwater and tying.

    Posts: 316
    Tacoma, Washington
    Ratings: +65 / 0
    Recently I've had really good luck on the water with Marabou clousers (shrimp pink). Can't tie them as large but SRCs, Cohoes and Pinks didn't seem to mind.
  19. kelvin Active Member

    Posts: 2,012
    Seattle,WA
    Ratings: +285 / 0

    use the hair from the tips it spins less
  20. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,786
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +316 / 1
    I'm with Rodger, I like artic fox, especially for smaller flies