Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ode on a Hare's Pelt

Oh, Hares Fur, how can I use thee?
Let me count the ways...

The Hare fur has long been my favorite material, with only CDC Feathers coming close to its versatility. But unlike the CDC feathers which - wonderful as they are - are just one kind of a material, the Hare fur comes with several different types of hairs, all having their places in a fly tiers arsenal.

The dark and spikey hairs on the back of the hare are extremely scruffy, excellent material for a nymph body. This is the premium material on the hare, greatly desired by Czech fly tiers. Each hunting season I am able to bum at least one hare pelt from my hunting friends in exchange for a Ziploc bag of processed dubbing of this type.

The longer and lighter hairs on a hares's flanks are finer and much more mobile. Very good for larger patterns, such as this #8 Peeping Caddis.

The underfur of the hare is very fine and easy to dub into a tight rope. On the abdomen of this CZ Nymph it is seen in its natural greyish color, but it takes dye very easily and the range of its use on both wet and dry flies is limitless. Note the difference of the structure of the abdomen and the "legs" made from hair from the back of the very same pelt as the abdomen (the hot spot is rabbit fur).

Update: a very interesting article on the use of Hare can be found on blog pages of my UK based friend Alun Rees.