There’s nothing quite like an epic outage of materials on the eve of a trip – where your own shortcomings cause you to lack whatever was required to catch fish…
I’ve been fishing rather than shopping – temporarily abandoning the quest for more materials in lieu of using some in anger.
Running out of Pink Cactus chenille was epic, so were the oaths sworn in the semi-darkness, wherein only trace amounts of the “perfect fly” would be available on the morn.
Steve Parton has addressed the entire Cactus Chenille issue for me. Steve has a store in the UK that sells “Fritz” by the pound and I’m no longer dependant on the microdot of material Hareline sees fit to hide behind its label.
The bulk skeins are available through the ebay version of Spartonfly, available in UV treated, untreated, straggle style, and regular cactus chenille in 6mm (Hareline) and 16mm sizes. 100grams ($16) is about a 1/4 pound and should serve the average tyer for a decade or so – saving considerable money in the process.
There’s more than one kind of “Cactus chenille”; the coarse filament material the Roughfisher uses, and the soft fiber material sold by Hareline in the traditional 3 yard pack. Three yards is about 3 dozen flies; no sooner do you discover the Shad’s innate weakness than you’re back at the store looking at the empty hook where pink used to be…
This type of chenille is (usually) 50% opalescent and 50% nylon, and while nylon takes acid dye quite well, the opalescent component – usually polyester, won’t. That gives the finished material a lighter sheen, as polyester requires a very hot dye bath with caustic chemicals to assist the color absorption.
Not seeing the colors I needed, Steve was nice enough to custom dye five colors of the 6mm and 16mm at my request, so if you don’t see what’s needed, drop the fellow a note.
Custom dyeing requires a reference color, so always supply a picture on the Internet that your vendor can see to give him which of the thousand shades of Olive you’re after… As different monitors and different resolutions can change colors a couple shades, send him the color by mail if you’re after an exact match.
The 16mm actually wraps as a hackle, its filaments being of long enough length to lose the chenille look. It makes a hell of a comet collar for steelhead and will cause shad to turn pirouettes on demand.
Roughfisher has been busy tinkering as well, and appears to have triggered a sudden lust for white on his home water.