Over the last couple of years I have tended to use synthetic materials more than natural ones, and the results have been quite good, and my 'artificial' flies have caught plenty of fish.
This year I decided to play around with naturals a bit more and see if there was any difference, in the ( my ), tying of them, and the amount of fish produced. The latter part of that will have to wait until the Bass arrive, but I can say that I have found the Naturals to be much more to my liking than I had anticipated from a tying aspect. My pals and I did very well on SF flashblend last season, utilising the material for Clousers as well as a few other patterns. It's fairly easy to work with, though a bit messy, and you can produce a nicely pre-shaped ( tapered ), fly.
The only thing is that it lacks any real movement in the material itself compared to naturals like Bucktail, which has lots. I love the Flashblend but am curious as to whether there will be any marked difference in catch rate with the Bucktail Clousers. The Bucktail is also enormously easy to work with and you can get just the right amount of material you need simply by picking out any excess hairs or stray ones that are the wrong length for what you are doing.
Bucktail is incredibly versatile too with literally hundreds of different patterns suiting its combination of rigidity and mobility. Of course this is all very well known, but it will be an interesting experiment never the less. My gut feeling is that it probably won't make any odds the the fish, either way, but half the fun of fishing is in the experimenting with different methods and tactics, and if it makes my life easier when tying, then all well and good!
Here are some of the patterns so far....
This is a variation of the little white Minnow that has done me proud, now available in Bucktail!
Some Sandeel versions, with all the material tied on the inside of the Hook to achive the profile and stop wrap arounds.
So nothing very revolutionary there, simple basic patterns that will be the bread and butter catchers, I will be trying some other patterns from time to time when the need or opportunity arises, I am working on a version of a Mackerel Flatwing at the moment plus various 'Ray's' fly versions in different colours like this :
This is the Mackerel Flatwing prototype, I have chosen Olive as opposed to Blue, as I believe the fish only turn that blue colour once out of the water?
As I said it's a work in progress at the moment, a few bars on the olive bucktail perhaps, or some peacock Herl to top it off maybe.
I have only tied a few of each colour and pattern so far but will be tying some more when time allows. Roll on April!