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Fur and Skin preparation for Fly Tying

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By Simon Young

If you tie flies using body fur from Hare, Rabbit, Squirrel or similar, it pays to prepare the whole skin before use. This can save a lot of time during the tying process by removing a lot of the soft underfur and just leaving the more important spiky material and guard hairs. The soft fine underfur will not be wasted, as it is an excellent dubbing for very small nymphs and dry fly bodies. The skin cleaning tool I use is often called a "Slicker Brush" These can be purchased quite cheaply from most pet shops and are used to clean away dogs underfur leaving a smooth glossy coat.

To prepare a whole skin or patch for flytying, lay the skin on a flat solid surface, then it is important to only pull the brush down the skin in the direction of the hair growth. By putting a small amount of pressure on the brush and going over the skin several times, its possible to remove a surprising amount of underfur which can be bagged up for use later, a great Dormouse substitute.

Slicker Brush

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