September 16, 2009
Scored a soft tanned muskrat pelt from a coworker for gratis. Righteous. Sure beats the fly shop price of $1.50 for a one inch square. Even though you're not saving a ton of money here, it's the principle of the matter. Those extra bones can go into the beer fund.
Muskrat is a great material for dubbing; the back fur is the traditional dubbing for patterns like the adams and other mayfly patterns, as it is darker and has more guard hairs than the belly. It is also used on modern flies like the Czech nymph. The belly is used for the traditional pattern "Casual Dress". With the guard hairs removed, muskrat blends can used to build remarkably smooth bodies, perfect for dry fly patterns. While I don't fish much dries, this fur will blend well with other materials, creating a bitchin' blend suitable for a killer nymph.
I threw in a little kitty love into a batch of muskrat for some extra body and a bit more bugginess. It doesn't translate well on photo here, but it should make the difference when dubbing nymph bodies.
Because the underfur of a muskrat is so fine, it fluffs up real nice; a little goes a long way. The above blends consist of a base of muskrat back fur, antron yarn, and a colored blend of acrylic yarn fibers and Angelina. I'm not going for big and flashy here, incognito is where it's at; subdued.