Fly Tying 2 min read

[Video] How to Select Materials for Dry Fly Bodies

Fly tier Tim Cammisa provides some great tips on how to select materials for dry fly bodies in this fly tying video tutorial.

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

March 31, 2013

Fly tier Tim Cammisa provides some great tips on how to select materials for dry fly bodies in this fly tying video tutorial.

Fly Tying Material Selection

With the proliferation of fly tying videos on the internet it’s hard to keep up with all the cool tips and techniques being shared. One area that I was looking for more information on was fly tying material selection.

When Tim introduced himself a few weeks ago I asked if he could go back to the basics of how to select materials for various patterns. In the interest of time this step is often overlooked in many fly tying videos but it’s very important to the outcome of your fly pattern.

Dry Fly Bodies

In this video tutorial, Tim covers some of the materials typically used in constructing dry fly bodies including rabbit (hare) fur dubbing, cotton embroidery floss, and turkey quill.

Dubbing Fur, Prepackaged or Off The Hide?

Natural dubbing materials comes from animals, the most common of which is rabbit (hare). You can buy it in small bags or buy the whole animal hide. The advantage of prepackaged dubbing is that it has been removed from the hide and is ready to use. It’s also available in a large variety of colors. The downside is cost.

To reduce cost you can do as Tim does and buy a full rabbit hide and get a ton of material pretty cheap. You can find rabbit hides dyed in a variety of colors on ebay or dye it yourself. Dying fly tying materials is a whole other subject and takes some practice. We’ve previously posted a video on how to dye feathers, maybe we can get Tim to do a video for us on how to dye a rabbit hide – that would be fun!

Dubbing with Embroidery Floss

Next up Tim shows us how to create a dry fly body with easy to use embroidery floss, here DMC floss. You may remember a few fly tying tutorial we posted on using embroidery floss to make woven body Czech nymphs, well the same material can be used for dry fly bodies. You can pick up DMC floss at any craft store.

As Tim points out, embroidery floss is multi-stranded and can be easily separated to minimize material buildup on smaller flies. Nice tip, Tim!

Quill Bodies

The last dry fly body material that Tim demonstrates is Turkey biot from a Turkey quill (aka Turkey wing feather). Biots are great for dry fly bodies, in particular mayflies, as they effectively imitate body segmentation.

The key to tying in a biot is to remember to keep the “clear-side toward the hook eye” which allows the material to wrap nicely. Try it both ways and you will see the difference. As Tim points out, biots are fragile so avoid tying them in by the very tip and use hackle pliers to hold them as you wrap.

If you are struggling with a particular aspect of fly tying let me know and we’ll see if Tim can cover it in an upcoming video.