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  1. Default Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    This prolly has been covered numerous times but wanted some feedback from my felllow tyers. What is better and why. I have tried both and see benifits to both.

  2. Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    Do you have particular materials or tying roles in mind? There are many, many different tying materials and they all have different purposes. For example, I use a lot of synthetic materials to add sparkle in ways that no natural materials can quite keep up with. On the other hand, I know of no synthetic material that can replace elk and deer hair for the way it floats, and for the way you can tie it flatter or tie it in spun out as in the head of something like a letort hopper.
    God does not subtract from man's allotted time those hours spent fishing.

    -from a sign in my Great-grandfather's general store

  3. Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    well i have een this stuff called treamer hair but i have always use bucktail this is the type of application i am referring to

  4. Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    I tie my streamers with mostly bucktail for bulk and color and with crystal flash or "supreme hair" for flash. Supreme hair is long strands of synthetic hair that is wavy/kinky like bucktail. It comes in every color imaginable including some useful shiny and flashy colors.
    God does not subtract from man's allotted time those hours spent fishing.

    -from a sign in my Great-grandfather's general store

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    quiet corner, ct

    Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    Both the bucktail and the synthetics are used extensively in saltwater style streamers and there are advantages and disadvantages

    Bucktail is a natural material and may people like it just for that. It also has a natural taper and good action in the water. But bucktail also wears out/ breaks and the dyed color can fade.

    Synthetics need to be tapered by hand, either by breaking, "stacking" or careful trimming. They can be too stiff or so flexible that they tangle and mat. The fibers are also longer than bucktai , have built in flash, and are nearly indestructible.

    Take a basic fly like a Lefty's deceiver. 90% of my deceivers are tied with the traditional bucktail collar. The flies don't last forever but they have good action, the collar keeps the tail from fouling, and when tying the hair spins easily around the hook (synthetics can 'stick')
    But I'll also tie some all synthetic deceivers if only for the reason that they're tough. When tied correctly, toothy fish cannot rip them apart like they can a bucktail deceiver.

    With another SW staple, the Clouser deep minnow, the natural bulk, action, and tapered ends of the bucktail seem to be best, but drag a Clouser across the bottom a few times and half the bucktail is damaged or worn off. Also Clousers can often benefit from being longer and thinner than you can tie with bucktail.

    So, like you say, one often works better than the other, but there are benefits to both.
    Last edited by Rip Tide; 06-28-2010 at 09:32 AM.
    The simpler the outfit, the more skill it takes to manage it, and the more pleasure one gets in his achievements. --- Horace Kephart

  6. #6

    Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    I like both, and use both. It depends on the type of fly I am making. I tie more things with natural hair like bucktail, but I also use a lot of synthetic as well, because I tie a wide variety of flies.
    As long as I get a bite, I don't want to leave!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Upper Mojave Desert

    Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    I have overcome the temptation to buy the synthetics telling myself to use all of the bucktail first, but I just tie for myself.
    One thing that I have started doing a lot is adding sparkle to natural dubbing for nymphs and flash to streamers.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Northern California, USA

    Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    You'll see some folks that tie for salt or heavy water flies, like those used for pike, muskies or LM bass using a mixture of bucktail and synthetic hairs... this gives a combination of the bulk and sparkle/flash they're seeking. Doesn't help much with the issues of natural hair eventually breaking off or wearing out, but improves the profile of the fly. I'm not too fond of using synthetics alone, especially for long winged/tailed flies because they tend to wrap around the bend of the hook or foul the hooking area, and unless they have a lot of 'crinkle' in them, they slim down too far compared to natural hair when being stripped in.

    As far as other materials to replace deer, elk, moose, calf (kip), antelope or other natural materials I'm with the others. Stick with what you know works. Foam or other synthetics act differently, don't trap air bubbles the same way, don't reflect light the same, etc. And if you have some pre-CITES treaty or other LEGAL PBH There's NOTHING that matches this stuff!! Those tri-lobal natural fibers refract light like NOBODY's business!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Animal Hair vs Synthetics

    ah yes the great question about tying. here goes. animal is best for what i ty...for the most part. Just remember, at times you cannot get around using synth when its called for natural (ie flashboo). I often find that most synth hair is far too short for me. ive ran into this prob on both large and small hooks (i mainly tie size 8-5/0 hooks). Fibers like EP Fibers work very well since they come in strips. It took me sometime to find out what synth will work for me vs natural. Thinking some items would work I ordered from say Cabelas only to find out that its a chunk of shag carpet...not very useful to me. on the other hand, some synths are too stuff and are better for use on a body or when a profile over movement is wanted. dear hair for the most part has very good movement while maraboo has even more. the shag carpet stuff i talked about earlier actually has a lot of movement and for smaller flies such as pan fish its some good stuff. I know I'd use an synth strip that mimics a zonker strip. but I dont know of anything that can give the same look or puffiness real marabou has. For me, they both have their place its up to you if you like to use them and can adapt them to the pattern u are making.
    <*))))>< Fish with teeth ... If I ty it a fish will hit it

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