Flies that use muskrat?

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
#17
Oh, right, and as posted in the rediscovered old patterns thread, I used muskrat as the B.D. grey dubbing called for in the classic Gold Ribbed Hares Ear pattern. The hackle, by the way, is grizzly schlappen, as I wanted it to be the softest, webbiest stuff I had.


It's a shame I can only "like" a photo once as I like the looks of this fly. Years ago I fished one of these up at Chopaka in the early morning hours. The trout were out slurping up callibaetis spinners. Some felt this fly in a size 10 was close enough for sunken ones. That was my first trip up there in 1977.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#18
When I first started tying, I seem to remember muskrat as the body material indicated in the recipe books for a traditional style Adams.

I did some research and yes-sir-ree, muskrat was the stuff.

http://hipwader.com/2005/adams-dry-fly

Of course nowadays I use rabbit fur or synthetic dubbing for dry flies.
 

dogsnfish

Active Member
#20
When I first started tying, I seem to remember muskrat as the body material indicated in the recipe books for a traditional style Adams.

I did some research and yes-sir-ree, muskrat was the stuff.

http://hipwader.com/2005/adams-dry-fly

Of course nowadays I use rabbit fur or synthetic dubbing for dry flies.


Same here. A friend of mine taught me and two of the first few patterns we did were the casual dress and the adams. He gave me a muskrat pelt because those were two of his favorite patterns and he wanted me to have the correct materials. Great guy and teacher, and great patterns. I use synthetic now, but I sill prefer the muskrat body on adams. Don't know why I stopped using the original muskrat, just easier to use the synthetics I guess.
 
#21
Same here. A friend of mine taught me and two of the first few patterns we did were the casual dress and the adams. He gave me a muskrat pelt because those were two of his favorite patterns and he wanted me to have the correct materials. Great guy and teacher, and great patterns. I use synthetic now, but I sill prefer the muskrat body on adams. Don't know why I stopped using the original muskrat, just easier to use the synthetics I guess.

Having spent yesterday evening tying a few traditional patterns, I have to concur that synthetic materials of many sorts are much easier to work with. Poly upright divided wings are a cinch, whereas paired duck primary sections upright and divided require a good deal of care in order to not split the fibers. Just one example. While the synthetics are easier to work with, I must say, they are not nearly as aesthetically satisfying in terms of the end result.
 
#23
I agree with this and prefer looking at old style flies over the new ties. Having said that some of the new versions last longer when fishing or float better.

So true. For durable, quickly tied, utilitarian flies that I'll actually fish on a very regular basis, I will not be moving away from synthetics - though I must say, there are two things I never substitute synthetics for, because they lack the magic: peacock herl, and hares mask.
 

GAT

Dumbfounded
#25
I kind'a like my dry flies to float and synthetic dubbing has a tendency to float much better than some dead animal's fur :p
 
#26
Interesting stuff Dick. As usual the devil is in the details but why do they produce an abundance of oil? I am assuming that at least part of the reason they spend so much time grooming is to distribute that oil. Like a duck. I understand comparing birds and mammals is like apples and oranges but they share a similar habitat so parallel evolution makes some sense at first glance.

Given the air trapping qualities of the underfur it would seem that a tightly spun dubbing would compromise those qualities significantly. Could be a big part of the reason that a well chewed, dubbed bodied fly is so attractive to fish. I'm thinking the choice of muskrat on the original Adams had more to do with color than assumed hydrophobic qualities.

TC
I did some further research on materials I had on hand last night.

The muskrat and beaver underfur both had very fine kinks or waves in them. I suspect this helps to keep the individual hairs from collapsing together and, thus, keeping air trapped among them. In contrast, the rabbit, squirrel, and dog (my dog, at least) underfur was more or less straight, or had long-amplitude waviness, such that it would be easy for the hairs to collapse against each other and clump when wet.

I think the kinkiness of the beaver underfur I used to dub some dries last night was sufficient that it would not collapse as dubbed on the thread, and might retain its air-trapping quality.

Unlike Gene, I've always restricted hare/rabbit and squirrel (mostly) to wet flies and have used muskrat and Beaver for dries. I tried dubbing with my dog's underfur once, but it was too long and slippery to dub well. Too bad; she sheds a ton of it, and it's a nice tan color.

One other arcane fact. The same reference that described the air-trapping quality of semi-aquatic mammal underfur said that one exception was the water shrew, which has individual hairs that are hydrophobic. There was no elaboration on who this is achieved. Got any patterns that call for water shrew fur?

Dick
 

Tim Cottage

Formerly tbc1415
#29
I did some further research on materials I had on hand last night.

The muskrat and beaver underfur both had very fine kinks or waves in them. I suspect this helps to keep the individual hairs from collapsing together and, thus, keeping air trapped among them. In contrast, the rabbit, squirrel, and dog (my dog, at least) underfur was more or less straight, or had long-amplitude waviness, such that it would be easy for the hairs to collapse against each other and clump when wet.

I think the kinkiness of the beaver underfur I used to dub some dries last night was sufficient that it would not collapse as dubbed on the thread, and might retain its air-trapping quality.

Unlike Gene, I've always restricted hare/rabbit and squirrel (mostly) to wet flies and have used muskrat and Beaver for dries. I tried dubbing with my dog's underfur once, but it was too long and slippery to dub well. Too bad; she sheds a ton of it, and it's a nice tan color.

One other arcane fact. The same reference that described the air-trapping quality of semi-aquatic mammal underfur said that one exception was the water shrew, which has individual hairs that are hydrophobic. There was no elaboration on who this is achieved. Got any patterns that call for water shrew fur?

Dick
In the fiber world the kinks or waves are referred to as crimp. Most of the worlds warmest fibers come from creatures living at high altitude or the far north where it is very cold and often windy, Alpaca, Cashmere Goat, Musk Ox and others. Those fibers tend to have the finest diameter (measured in microns) combined with the highest frequency crimp thus trapping the most air. It is the extra fine diameter and the high crimp count that also makes these fibers so soft and warm even after being spun and plied into yarn.

TC
 

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