Uses for Mink

Discussion in 'Fly Tying' started by Calvin1, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. Calvin1 Member

    Posts: 610
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    I just came upon a mink skin through my brother's mother in law's estate. I've never used mink nor seen it called out for in a pattern. Does anyone have any suggestions for use of mink fur in flies? Not sure of the qualities, but was wondering if the guard hairs would be good for hair wings and if the dubbing would suffice for some dry flies. It sure looks like March Brown up near the tip of the tail.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Calvin
  2. Preston Active Member

    Posts: 2,453
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    I believe the original Assam Dragon called for mink, it's still a good dragonfly nymph pattern. I think mink strips make superior leech patterns.
  3. Brad Niemeyer Old School Member

    Posts: 672
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +42 / 0
    Strips for zonkers, dubbing loop fur hackle flies. Dub the fur for nymphs...mink doesn't have any floatation qualities so use it mostly for subsurface flies,,,great stuff!
  4. kjackson Banned or Parked

    Posts: 177
    Port Townsend, WA, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You don't say what color mink you have, so I can't be specific about patterns as I might. However, try dubbing the underfur and guard hair together. This makes a spiky blend that is really good for a variety of fish.

    The mink pattern that got me into fly fishing is one my father got from his co-workers; it resulted in him buying a kit from Herter's plus a mink tail, and that suckered me into this obsession.

    Here's the pattern: prepare the dubbing by cutting the fur off the skin and keep the guard hairs in the mix. Coarsely mix the fur-- don't blend it. The hook we used was the old Herter's Crooked Shank English Bait Hook . Use a dubbing loop to wrap a thick body of mink on the hook, picking out the guard hairs to make it very shaggy. Tie a turn or two of soft black hackle at the head and finish off. Use black thread.

    It's a very simple tie, but if you tie it on a caddis or shrimp hook in about a size 10 (with both 8 and 12 being useful as well), you will catch just about anything in the local lakes and trout in the streams. The curved shank of the hook was one of the conditions of the pattern: it resembled, I think, a caddis larvae. The color of mink we had was natural-- a dark beige underfur and dark brown guard hairs.

    Good luck,

    Keith
  5. Wakemaster New Member

    Posts: 56
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    Mink underfur is an excellent dubbing material, with or without the guard hairs. Any pattern calling for muskrat, beaver or otter fur can be tied with mink. One big advantage of mink is that it comes in a very wide variety of natural colors from beige to coal black and all shades of brown and grey in between. I even have a natural mink in a tawny yellow. In addition to its outstanding dubbing properties the guard hairs can be used for tailing dry flies. The guard hairs from mink tails are especially useful in that regard and a clump of them, stripped of the underfur, makes a very attractive hairwing for smaller steelhead and Atlantic Salmon patterns.

    Neat Stuff! :thumb
  6. Rxfisher New Member

    Posts: 113
    Sedro-Woolley, Washington, US.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I ran into a guy a couple years ago at Rocky ford using a pattern he called a "hairy mink". It was very simply a heavy wire nymph hook dubbed with mink hair and then ribbed with gold wire, the guard hairs were picked out and that was it. With this fly this guy was putting on a clinic, nailing fish after fish. I was getting one fish for every 3-5 of his with a small hares ear nymph. Go figure, may want to use it to tie up some hairy minks. RX