November 22, 2008

The new front

Craig Matthews of Blue Ribbon Flies, and the Umpqua Feather Merchants may hold the world supply of Zelon, but I'm not going down without a fight. The battle begun, when I began looking for a substitute for antron yarn. The original antron yarn fiber is no longer made, though the INVISTA company purportedly still produces antron. It is near impossible for an layman to get a hold of this stuff outside of the industry. Since BRF and Umpqua cornered the market with their monopoly on zelon, not much is left to the discriminate angler in search of a bargain basement alternative. That was until today.

I had gotten some good insider information regarding a legitimate antron substitute. The downside was that this product has not been produced in over a decade, and can only obtained through eBay. It was a craft and rug yarn, and while I had looked at some different brands' offerings in this realm, nothing thus far had met the quality and characteristics of antron. I visited the craft store this afternoon, family in tow, to pick up supplies for children's activities. My wife asked if I wanted to go through the yarn section to see if there was anything there worth looking at. I pilfered through these aisles nigh on a week ago, unwavering in my search of an antron substitute. Unfortunately, I had shared the same results as the other week's quest, unsuccessful, again. Mrs. Roughfisher made her way over to the fabric section in search of vellux (aka furry foam) for yours truly. What a gal. On the way through, she stopped and looked at some latch hook stuff for my daughter. When I looked on the other side of the aisle, I was in disbelief. There of all places was the craft and rug yarn I'd been looking for all along.

A whole rainbow of flavors.
A whole rainbow of flavors.

The stuff I found was a 2 ply Needloft craft yarn by Uniek, in a 10 yd hank for $0.79. This stuff was a lot like antron, the shape, the texture, the tensile strength. The only difference was that these fibers displayed better body than antron. You get more than three times the amount on a hank than at a fly shop and for less than half the price. Since it is a 2 ply yarn, you basically get twice the amount of antron, essentially 20 yards of yarn.

Which would you rather tie with?
Which would you rather tie with?

Each ply strand of craft yarn contains more fibers than on most cards of antron yarn. You can see for yourself how much more body each strand has. The value per yard really increases, if you purchase a 92 yd skein of this stuff. Incredible. I'll put this stuff to the test and tie up a bunch of patterns this weekend. If the weather holds, I may go against my word and go back down to the Brownline Depot one last time and field test this stuff.

Only one way to find out if this truly is a substitute for antron. My guess is that its not.

It's better.

- the roughfisher

1 comment:

  1. I've been sayin' the same thing for years! Seems it often falls on deaf ears since some are convinced that if it doesn't come from a fly shop, it's no good. I got news for those folks - aside from hackle a few other specialty items, not much else is made specifically for fly tying!

    The Needloft yarn is excellent for most tying. I even color plain white with markers for colors you can't get. It's shiny, krinkly and stiff enough to not get wadded up in to a ball.