Icelandic sheep hair for saltwater streamer

bbart

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Recently acquired a 10ft 8wt saltwater rod, but I have few saltwater flies. Not really knowing anything :), I put together a streamer using Icelandic sheep hair and flash. The fly is blue hair over black over white, and the flash is green Midge Flash and blue Fashabou above and pearl Angel Hair with strands of pearl Krystal Flash below.

The fly casts fairly well and comes out of the water easily, which surprised me for a largish hair wing. The sheep wool keeps it shape in the water and has a lot of action. I tested the fly in a nearby lake and had three small bass following it. Don't know if they looking for breakfast or a new companion for their school.

I haven't found many who use Icelandic wool for flies here in Maine, salt or fresh water, so I'm wondering if anyone here has any experience they can relate. Both in tying and fishing this type streamer. I've noticed the hair stays very lightly dressed when tied, giving the fly a see-through translucence. Others, Whitlock in particular, have added feathers along the flank to give more substance to the fly. I'm wondering if others feel this necessary or have used other fibers to give less translucence. To me, thinly dressed is wicked good, but then I've not yet fished any sheep hair flies. Anyone use this material to tie smaller bass-sized flies?

Photo attached, thanks in advance,
bbart

20190918_1949541.72.jpg
 

Unknownflyman

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Very nice fly, that will hunt!

I use Icelandic sheep for salmon and steelhead patterns, Sunray Shadows and classics and leeches. Its really great stuff to tie with.

I will use bucktail underneath and then stack in sheep and flash interspersed on top of the bucktail which gives it support so it doesn't tangle in the hook.
 

karstopo

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Looks good to me, but I’ve got zero experience with that particular material. I do like translucent, see through, baitfish shaped patterns in the saltwater. In my experience, sometimes too much flash can be a negative. You can always tie it in and then remove some later. I’ve noticed fish will shy away from flashy patterns at times and removing some or nearly all of it might lead to increased takes, at least in some conditions.

I like a loop knot for the hook to tippet connection when fishing
baitfish patterns.

Looks good and doing some of different sizes and color patterns sounds like a good plan. I may have to check out that Icelandic Sheep wool. Thanks for sharing.
 

bbart

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Very nice fly, that will hunt!

I use Icelandic sheep for salmon and steelhead patterns, Sunray Shadows and classics and leeches. Its really great stuff to tie with.

I will use bucktail underneath and then stack in sheep and flash interspersed on top of the bucktail which gives it support so it doesn't tangle in the hook.

Thanks! I thought about the bucktail, but in this experimental tie I just wanted to see how the material would perform when tied on a short-shank hook. The hair didn't tangle, but I think the bucktail is still a good idea. I like the sheep hair, too, as it doesn't put up a fight when tying it down.....much easier to layer than some other materials.
 

bbart

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Looks good to me, but I’ve got zero experience with that particular material. I do like translucent, see through, baitfish shaped patterns in the saltwater. In my experience, sometimes too much flash can be a negative. You can always tie it in and then remove some later. I’ve noticed fish will shy away from flashy patterns at times and removing some or nearly all of it might lead to increased takes, at least in some conditions.

I like a loop knot for the hook to tippet connection when fishing
baitfish patterns.

Looks good and doing some of different sizes and color patterns sounds like a good plan. I may have to check out that Icelandic Sheep wool. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks much! I've noticed the flash scaring off freshwater fish before, so add it carefully. I like midge flash and just a bit of Angel hair tied in between layers. Didn't know too much could also warn off saltwater species.
 

danmarino

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The Joe Bruce bullet head darter uses Icelandic wool. Your fly will work great.
 

bigjim5589

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bbart, that fly will catch fish! :D

I haven't used that material a lot, but the flies that I've tied with it have produced well. IMO, it's as good as any other material for larger streamers regardless of where they're fished or what you might be targeting.

This is one I've tied with it. About 5" long. 100_6468.jpg
 

bbart

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bbart, that fly will catch fish! :D

I haven't used that material a lot, but the flies that I've tied with it have produced well. IMO, it's as good as any other material for larger streamers regardless of where they're fished or what you might be targeting.

This is one I've tied with it. About 5" long. View attachment 19135
Reminds me of Whitlock's sheep hair version. I note you put the flashabou between layers, a better idea IMHO. Thanks for the response! Do you tie the sheep hair without removing the underfur?
 
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Rip Tide

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I'd be concerned about the wing of that fly fouling around the hook bend.
When looking at a deceiver or a flatwing style fly, you'll see that they are designed as they are precisely to avoid that.
Mr unknown's suggestion of the bucktail "platform" is a good one, but you might want to try a mono loop.
Ray Bondrow's buckail "Rays Fly" is a serious fish catcher but I've also had problems with it fouling even though the wing is tied with stiff bucktail

Like this



the Ray's Fly

 

bigjim5589

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Reminds me of Whitlock's sheep hair version. I note you put the flashabou between layers, a better idea IMHO. Thanks for the response! Do you tie the sheep hair without removing the underfur?
I remove a good bit of the underfur, but not always all of it. Depends on how I want it to look. I use Polar Flash on this fly, as I like it better than Flashabou for combining with these finer textured materials.

Rip, this material does have a tendency to foul because it's not very stiff, not like bucktail. My use of a short shank hook, some adhesive behind the head, and the feathers on each side helps reduce the fouling. The mallard also adds to the baitfish look, so serves two purposes.

McGlothin, traditionally bucktail hair has been the most used and most popular natural material for streamer patterns in saltwater. Unfortunately, it's limited in length, so other materials have gained use and popularity. Yak hair is likely the most popular for length, but it's also stiffer. I've tied with other materials, including Tibetian Lamb and other sheep/goat hairs, Yak, and Mohair. Synthetics have replaced natural for many of the larger, longer patterns. I have not tied a lot with them, but kanekelon is one that I like using and have used it in place of Yak to add length and combined it with natural materials.

If you're really interested in larger baitfish patterns, take a look at some of the fly designs that Bob Popovics has designed. They can be tied in many sizes, and with materials that are not always long.

Check out Bob Popovics books for his flies & tying techniques. ;)
 

bbart

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I remove a good bit of the underfur, but not always all of it. Depends on how I want it to look. I use Polar Flash on this fly, as I like it better than Flashabou for combining with these finer textured materials.

Rip, this material does have a tendency to foul because it's not very stiff, not like bucktail. My use of a short shank hook, some adhesive behind the head, and the feathers on each side helps reduce the fouling. The mallard also adds to the baitfish look, so serves two purposes.

McGlothin, traditionally bucktail hair has been the most used and most popular natural material for streamer patterns in saltwater. Unfortunately, it's limited in length, so other materials have gained use and popularity. Yak hair is likely the most popular for length, but it's also stiffer. I've tied with other materials, including Tibetian Lamb and other sheep/goat hairs, Yak, and Mohair. Synthetics have replaced natural for many of the larger, longer patterns. I have not tied a lot with them, but kanekelon is one that I like using and have used it in place of Yak to add length and combined it with natural materials.

If you're really interested in larger baitfish patterns, take a look at some of the fly designs that Bob Popovics has designed. They can be tied in many sizes, and with materials that are not always long.

Check out Bob Popovics books for his flies & tying techniques. ;)
I've migrated to Angel Hair or Polar Flash for smaller streamers, and as you mention should be a better addition to the fine sheep hair.
 

bbart

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I'd be concerned about the wing of that fly fouling around the hook bend.
When looking at a deceiver or a flatwing style fly, you'll see that they are designed as they are precisely to avoid that.
Mr unknown's suggestion of the bucktail "platform" is a good one, but you might want to try a mono loop.
Ray Bondrow's buckail "Rays Fly" is a serious fish catcher but I've also had problems with it fouling even though the wing is tied with stiff bucktail

Like this



the Ray's Fly

The short shank on this hair fly seems to have prevented the fowling as I cast a few days ago. I have used a few strands of Unique Hair tied on the shank and stiffened with ZapAGap. The idea being the twistier stuff will wrap around the stiffened fibers. I also use the mono loop when tying on longer shank hooks. Not sure anything works 100% of the time, but thanks for the input.
 

oldskewl808

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Damn, I just got back from Iceland. I could have stocked up!


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TwoThumbsUp

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Damn, I just got back from Iceland. I could have stocked up!


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I've got 2 full sheep pelts slung over our stair banister that my wife brought back from Iceland. I could start snipping bits and pieces out of them and my wife would never know. She'd kill me if she found out, though.
 

bigjim5589

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Just an FYI, some of these hairs are also sold for doll making. I have purchased it a few times from an Ebay seller who sells such doll making supplies. Unfortunately, color selection is not always the best, but white is usually available and I dye some of my own materials anyway.

The colors I used in the posted fly, white, light blue & pink, all were as purchased, so many of the colors used for making dolls, can be worthwhile for tying flies.

Of course, many fly shops carry these supplies too. Check with Theriault Flies in Maine. They raise some of these animals and have a good selection of tying materials. ;)
 

Unknownflyman

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Icelandic sheep is not expensive fly tying material and easy to get, my local shop on the river has a full selection and not expensive at all. Don't cut up your nice pelts.
 

danmarino

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Here is a craft fur version I tied up a few years ago, but recently caught some bass and bluegills on.

 

fq13

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I use it and love it here in So Fl. (Though I do wonder what an Icelandic sheep would think about his tail being died chartreuse and sold in the Everglades) :p? I tie a little #6 long shanked bass fly with sheep over sparse white marabou with the hook wrapped in peacock heal or the same colored thick tinsel with a black thread head. Sort of like the original fly shown. I also use it like craft hair on the on wider body flies tying in one clump over another for wider body bunker type flies.

Like trophy wives in Boca Raton Florida fish believe there is no such thing as too much flash, so lots of pearlecent Crystal flash or a bit of thin good tinsel never hurts.
 
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