Howdy. I've found so much wonderful stuff in the last six months, that I decided to stop sharing the greatest part of it.
I've mentioned the "Hair Clips" in the Beauty departments of the Big Box Stores before. There is some fantastic material in those things.
I even called -Walmart earlier in the week to order some, only to find out they have discontinued a certain clip in a nice reddish burgundy color that was excellent for San Juan Worm, Leeches, and other flies.
I did find recently however, an actual reference in a 1991 book on the history of the worlds most common flies, that Dog Hair really was used for a fly. This appears on page 94 of "Fishing Flies: An Illustrated Album" by
Robert Atkinson. The author writes:
"Dog hair is an easy source of material for the tyer, and Harry Powell used the hair from a mongrel sheep dog to tie his pattern the DOGSBODY in 1924."
It looks like a Dark Brown Hare's Ear with about 5 dark brown tail pieces and a Dark brown and black Hackle around the upper thorax.
However, I have found so much fiber from Stuffed Animals at the Thrift Stores, and Ladies Clothes and the Hobby Stores that I would not even bother with trimming my Brown or Black doggies (Pomeranians) to get material. I know that hurts the feelings of the Dogs, but what can I say. Substandard is Substandard.
I must mixed up a special and unique batch of RS-2 Dubbing this morning, and that new blender I bought for the job works like a dream when I just use a little bit at a time to mix it.
The Coffee Bean Grinder works, but it is slower, and does less.
I've been experimenting with many things, from plastic bags of different colors, to using cheap paint brushes for fibers, to using various twines of Synthetic fiber.
Also, I am still using ordinary Blonde Colored Sisal with satisfaction and I intend to start Dying some of that to get the colors I want.
Sisal, cut to 1/4" to 3/8" and added to Dubbing, can give a fly like a Hare's Ear a "very buggy" look.
I started buying India Ink to dilute with Alcohol and Blend it to get just the shades I want. I get a great deal of pleasure with using something like a Sparkly Antron fiber with something a little more dull and plain that I get from some clothing or stuffed animal or the other materials I've scavenged.
If you want to really see some fantastic possibilities, visit a Hobby Lobby and start walking up and down the aisles in the artificial Flower area, and where they also keep the materials for wedding banquet decorations etc. That place is a Fly Fisherman's dream.
Eyelashes from the Beauty Departments make for some great fine fibers for Dry Fly Legs and tails, and the Ladies Make-Up Brushes are a great supply of fine fibers too.
If you haven't visited the local Beauty Salon Supply Store, you could be in for a few surprises too. I walked through one just yesterday and found matierals for Crayfish Patterns and a few Hair Clips in Red etc, which I hope to use to compensate for what Wal-Mart has discontinued. Also, there is a shop called "Claires" which carries a different kind of selection of Sparkly/Shiny junk of the sort that Teenage girls like to use in their Hair, etc. A few things may be had there.
Also, I bought some more Plastic (glue-on) fingernails to make some small "spoons" with. I will paint these with Nail Polish.
I do not buy Brass Beads anymore. Instead, I use the "6/0" Glass beads from the hobby bead departments of the box stores.
They come in different colors, and the Gold is a very close approximation of the Brass in appearance.
The 6/0 size is the larger size, as will fit on a #8 to #10 hook or so and smaller.
Another type of Glass Bead they offer is also 6/0 in a type called the "Czech Glass Bead".
I move very slowly on some of these materials, sometimes thinking about a single pattern such as a Streamer for literally half a year before I actually start to put the thing together. Sometimes I just cannot quite find the material that I want, but sooner or later, something I see in a store, will work.
Also, I have lead, but I have come to use it only rarely now; because I have busted up several old household appliances like blenders, etc,
and now have a lifetime supply of Copper Wire.
I just bought some Twine in Orange, Yellow, and several Browns yesterday, and my wife says she can teach me to do a Three-String Braid, and I intend to use these for Stonefly Bodies, with other materials added in of course.
The Fly Tier wants to avoid using natural threads such as cotton, because cotton rots.
Synthetic Fibers are the best for flies. Of These, "Coats & Clark" (known also as "Coats") is a thread manufacturer who makes synthetics in two forms. One that can be used for fly tying is Polyester, and Polyester "coated" Polyester.
The second is Rayon, and the nice thing about the Coats Rayon thread, is that it comes in the sewing stores, on a Bobbin that is 1-3/8" wide (3.5 millimeter). What this mean is that it fits perfectly on to a fly tiers threading tool. It holds more thread though.
That's all I can think of at the moment.