11-08-2011, 12:22 PM
Good question-- considering all the different types of synthetics out there it gets real confusing, with some having distinctly different properties (thickness of the fiber, stiffness, length and durability) and there's a million different names for products, and new names and products are constantly coming and going. And there are many similar products with different names that can be used interchangeably, often at substantial savings.
Because of this, probably the best way to go would be to ask for recommendations based on specific patterns you'd like to tie. But for what it's worth here's some of the stuff I use.
From your previous posts as I recall you are mostly interested in salt water patterns???? i haven't used EP fibers but here's some of the stuff i use:
Krystal Flash - thin twisted, subtle flash, used to add some bling to patterns with bucktail
Flashabou - mylar strip similar to christmas tree tinsel for more flash, ther are a zillion variations. Adds more flash to patterns and also can be used to imitate a lateral line
Flat braided mylar it comes wrapped around a card and is used for bodies on baitfish (sold under various names including Diamond Braid, Sparkle Braid, Bill's Body Braid)
Craft Fur- very thin wispy material used for wings on shrimpy looking stuff for bonefish, Kwans and other mostly flats type flies. At rest the stuff waves around in the current. Not as useful on baitfish patterns because it collapses when stripped and loses it's shape and baitfish profile. It's just like the hair on those scary looking troll dolls
Kinky Fiber and Slinky Fiber coarse texture, stiffer than craft fur but not as stiff as Ultrahair, holds it's shape in the water when stripped.
Polar Fiber and Poly Bear supposed to be synthetic equivalent to polar bear in that it is translucent and similar in thickness. Comes in 14" length hank bundled in the middle to form 7" strands. Although not as long, I generally just use bucktail in place of this stuff
Angle Hair, Wing N Flash, EP Sparkle super thin flash material, very wispy, difficult to use by itself, often blended in with another type of fiber like Kinky Fiber on flies like Skok's mushmouth. Dave Farrar's is a mix of Angel Hair and Kinky fiber. Although other swear by it and the stuff may look nice on a fly, for me it's been a pain to work with and the very fine fibers seem to end up all over the place and snarl easily just getting the stuff out of the package.
Ice Wing Fiber,and Awesome Hair basically 8" long ice dub fibers
Synthetic Yak, SynYak a long fiber use on large flies-- it's very thin and best used in conjunction with an underlayer of other stiffer flibers that serve to give a baitfish profile. I prefer natural yak hair for about the same price but the synthetic stuff is similar and easier to find. The advantage of synthetic or real yak is that it adds length and definition without adding a lot of bulk and it does not pick up water so the fly remains light to cast.
Big Fly Fiber and Hairabou- is similar to synthetic yak but is crinkled at one end (where it is tied in). It's used for big flies to imitate large bait like herring for striped bass and large flies for stuff like sailfish
Super Hair, Supreme Hair, Unique Hair 11" long also use for large flies, Unique hair is softer. Super Hair is relatively stiff and is the hair of choice for flies like the Surf Candy or if you want to tie a longer clouser than you can with bucktail. Some patterns also use Super Hair coated with something like Softex as the "spine" around which to build a baitfish profile with thinner flashier material like Slinky Fiber and Angel Flash use din combination.
As you see it's easy to get overwhelmed with the choices-- and there is usually some new must have product being hyped every week. There
s a lot you can do with old school stuff like plain old bucktail deer body hair for spinning and hackle and a lot of creative ways of using them to replicate the many different profiles of baitfish.
If you know the patterns you'd like to tie and or baitfish you'd like to imitate perhaps folks could give you more specific suggestions.