As a fly tier I am continually experimenting with different materials. I enjoy incorporating both natural and synthetic materials into my flies. One material in particular that I have enjoyed working with over the past few years is Craft Fur. I am amazed at the versatility and functionality that Craft Fur provides to my designs. Craft Fur will always have a place on my tying table and it should have a space on yours as well.
Craft Fur is a durable synthetic material reminiscent of my childhood watching the characters of The Muppets and Sesame Street. This synthetic fur is a wonderful substitute for buck tail, marabou, calf tail and wool. Rainy’s offers a premium grade Craft Fur that is available in twenty-six colors that will not bleed or fade in the water (for the full list of colors visit rainysflies.com). Rainy’s Craft Fur is packaged and sold in a five inch square patch. The length of the fibers ranges from three to four inches in length with just the right amount of underfur to taper your flies and add bulk if desired.
I have found that Craft fur is ideal for subsurface patterns. Craft Fur moves and breaths underwater giving a lot of action to a fly. It also sheds water easily making patterns light and easier to cast. Craft Fur can easily be incorporated throughout many flies that you are tying and creating, it can be used for tails, bodies, wings and heads.
Craft Fur is a user friendly material that is easy to use and handle. The most popular way or tying with Craft Fur is by stacking and layering the fur, this easily builds realistic minnow bodies. Try stacking different colors together to create firetiger, rainbow or other multi-colored patterns. If you are wanting a longer or wider profile fly, try cutting and attaching a rectangle patch of fur kept on the ‘backing’ material. The backing of the fur will hold all of the material together and is easy to attach to your hook. For water pushing flies, like those used for pike/muskie or sculpin imitations, spin Craft Fur into a dubbing loop or brush. Doing so you will create wonderful looking heads that push water and are still cast-able. As you work with the Craft Fur don’t worry about the stray wild hairs, they are easily trimmed and shaped with your tying scissors after. I usually cut along the fur at shallow angles to shape, trim and taper my flies.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Blend in small amounts of flash such as Ice Wing Fiber into the Craft Fur. You might also try blending different colors of Craft Fur together to create truly exceptional color tones. Apply finishing touches by use a permanent marker to add barring and/or other fishy markings to the Craft Fur.
Below are some good examples showing various techniques and uses of Craft Fur in contemporary fly design. So next time you looking at a wall of tying materials grab a pack or two of Craft Fur and give them a try. Hopefully Craft Fur will find a permanent place at you tying table too.
Mason’s Meat Market uses a patch of Craft Fur to add length and width to the patterns profile.
Colby’s Flat’s Fiend uses a Craft Fur wing.
Clouser’s Deep Minnow tied with Craft Fur, an excellent substitute for buck tail.
Rainy’s CF (Craft Fur) Baitfish incorporated many different technique including layer and stacking Craft Fur.
Granato’s Truffle Shuffle, spin your own water pushing heads by using Craft Fur in a dubbing loop or brush.
PJ’s Lynch Mob uses Craft Fur in a dubbing loop to create the head.
Granato’s Sasquatch uses stacked and trimmed Craft Fur as the head.
Paul Mason grew up fishing the rivers and lakes of Utah, Idaho, & Wyoming. He began tying flies at the age of ten and has pursued his passion of fly fishing for over 20 years. Paul spent his academic career studying fisheries and aquatic science and obtained his Master's degree in fisheries from Utah State University.