Offering fly tying materials is a natural extension of the "One Fly" tying kits, which are great for people who want to try out a new pattern without having to buy a large supply of new materials. If you know you are going to be tying a lot of the same flies, though, it does make sense to buy your fly tying materials in larger quantities.
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#1 Partridge skin natural - $29.00
Partridge is not the traditional hackle for tenkara flies, but it works very nicely. It is a traditional feathers for the North Country soft hackle flies tied in England and Scotland for hundreds of years, and North Country wets work quite nicely with a tenkara rod. These skins are a bit smaller and much nicer than any of the ones I've ever bought on eBay.
Because of government restrictions, I cannot ship partridge skins out of the country.
Partridge Feathers - $3.25
Everyone recommends buying a whole partridge skin instead of a package of partridge feathers. With the skin, you do get more feathers and you get the smaller feathers around the head that people like for tiny flies. Most tenkara anglers don't tie really tiny flies, though.
I'd rather you actually try them, and if it takes buying a package or two before jumping in with a whole skin, so be it. Partridge is a very nice choice for tenkara flies. Had the original tenkara anglers had access to partridge, I am sure they would have used it. If anything, it wraps better, and more of the feathers are the right size.
(Cannot be exported.)
English Grouse Soft Hackle - $3.00
The dark, barred feathers from the English red grouse are larger than partridge feathers and would be a better fit for larger flies. For tying the size 6 Keeper Kebari, grouse feathers may be the best choice if you do not have a hen pheasant skin or partridge skin.
(Cannot be exported.)
India Hen Neck - Prince Nymph Brown - $5.75
I have used the India Hen Neck for my Hen&Hound sakasa kebari, and I really liked the way the feather forms just the proper slant for a sakasa kebari almost by itself.
The "prince nymph brown" is a medium brown with just a touch of red. It makes a very nice brown soft hackle for tying Dr. Ishigaki's fly.
Woolly Bugger Saddle Hackle (Brown) - $5.00
I'm sure you could tie woolly buggers with this, but I got it in for the Ishigaki fly, which uses a brown hackle and black thread. I had initially been using dry fly hackle, but the woolly bugger hackle is softer and is much closer to what Dr. Ishigaki used when the gave his tying demonstrations in the Catskills and San Francisco. Tie in the hackle at the very tip for size 12 or 14 hooks.
Starling Skin - $7.00
One of the most underappreciated fly tying materials, starling is fabulous for soft hackle flies. Small, dark and iridescent, something about these feathers really attracts fish.
There are lots of feathers that are just the right size and color for a size 14 Stewart Black Spider. Because starlings have lots of small to very small to impossible-to-tie-they're-so-small feathers, you could tie size 26 spiders if you wanted to.
Because of government restrictions, I cannot export starling skins.
Peacock Eyed Sticks - $3.50
Natural only. The herl from the stick is much better than in the packages of strung herl. You really won't believe the difference. Even just a little peacock herl will give your Sakasa Kebari an iridescent "hot spot" thorax.
Pheasant Tail Pair - $2.50
Natural only. I use Pheasant tail for Sakasa Kebari. jd_smith uses it for his Mino Gujo. Frank Sawyer used it for nymphs. I think it catches fish no matter how you use it. Two center feathers, not complete tail as shown in the photo. Because of government restrictions, I cannot ship this out of the country.
CDC - $2.50
CDC floats naturally, so no waxy or chemical floatant is needed. The fibers are so wispy that they move with the slightest current or line twitch. Natural Dun.
Because of government restrictions, I cannot export the CDC.
Woolly Bugger Marabou - $2.50
I've heard it said that you can catch any fish that swims with a black woolly bugger. I don't think that's true, but if you can add a white woolly bugger and maybe even an olive, you could certainly catch just about any game fish. Use the black with the Little Dark Kebari yarn, the white with the Natural White yarn and the olive with Bracken or Thyme yarn to tie Killer Buggers.
Hare's Mask - $3.00
Hare's ear is not a traditional material for Japanese kebari, but it certainly is for some British soft hackles as well as the classic Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear (GRHE) nymph. Enough fish have been caught on a GRHE that you could fish one at all times in all waters and expect to catch fish. If you don't add weight you could cast it on any seiryu rod. If you add a little you could fish it with any tenkara rod. If you use lead wraps and tungsten beads do get it down to where the lunkers lurk, you could still fish it on some of the keiryu rods.
Deer Hair - $2.25
Like CDC, deer hair floats naturally. Why is the CDC & Elk tied with deer hair? That is a story for another day. All that really matters is that it works - and very nicely indeed.
Because of government restrictions, I cannot ship this out of the country.
Bleached Elk Hair - $3.00
When the shadows lengthen and the light dims, you'll appreciate the improved visibility of the bleached elk hair in your CDC & Elk.
Because of Government restrictions, I cannot ship this out of the country.
Brown Barred Rabbit strips (olive only) - $4
Together with the crosscut rabbit strips below and the sculpin helmets, makes an excellent sculpin immitation for the stiffer keiryu rods.
Crosscut Rabbit Strips (olive only) - $2.50
For use with the brown barred rabbit strips above to make a sculpin immitation.
Pearsall's silk thread - $4.50
The classic thread for British soft hackle patterns. Silk has a translucent quality that cannot be matched by polyester or nylon threads. Plus, silk darkens when it is wet, the hot orange turns almost a mahogany brown. The bright colors are only bright when the silk is dry. (Note: the spools are much smaller than standard spools.)
I now have Bill Bailey's cobbler's wax. See Miscellaneous section below.
UNI-Thread - $2.75
Black, gray and tan, etc. are natural and expected colors for trout flies, but if you tie flies for bluegills (and bluegills love sakasa kebari) do not ignore the chartreuse. And of course you'll want pink for tying the Utah Killer Bug. Do not forget Olive for the Punk Rock Sakasa Kebari or Royal Blue (hey, blue flies work).
Veevus 16/0 - $3.00
This is the thread that all the buzz is about. Very thin, surprisingly strong. Just what you want for the size 26 Daiichi 1100. Black.
Gordon Griffith's Sheer 14/0 - $2.75
If you are going to tie flies on size 26 hooks, you are going to want a thin thread. This one is lightly waxed, stronger than you would expect for being so fine, and creates minimal build up. Red to make size 26 Utah Killer Bugs. Don't laugh. They work.
Killer Bug Yarn Package - $2.50
Don't need enough for a whole sweater? Handy package contains about 4 yards of yarn, sufficient for at least 25 Killer bugs.
Utah Killer Bug Yarn Package - $2.50
This is the yarn used for the Utah Killer Bug variation developed by Tenkara Guides LLC in Salt Lake City. Darker, pinker, with some blue fibers, this is the "spectrumized" version. No Prismacolor Marker is required for this yarn. About 4 yards
Black Killer Bugger Yarn Package - $2.50
This is a very dark charcoal yarn with light fibers running through it. Not being a uniform color, it presents a more lifelike image. It makes a great Killer Bugger but can be used for any wet fly or nymph for which a dark, fuzzy appearance is desired. Goes very nicely with starling hackle or black woolly bugger marabou. About 4 yards.
Bracken Yarn Package - $2.50
Very few things in nature are a single uniform color. There is almost always a blending of colors or at least different shadings of color. I like to choose yarns that have different colored fibers running through the yarn. Bracken is primarily a light yellowish green with black fibers running through it. (It is quite a bit more yellow and less green in real life than the photo shows.) Like all 100% wool yarns, it darkens when wet, but the presence of black fibers makes the yarn a very dark olive when wet. However, it isn't as uniform dark olive, there are subtle darker and lighter areas, with some light stray strands. About 4 yards.
Fog Yarn Package - $2.50
Fog is a yarn with some red and blue fibers in with the natural white. It looks like a mix of pink and gray when dry, and a mix of red and dark gray when wet. About 4 yards.
Green Rock Worm Yarn Package - $2.50
Mostly green with a little yellow mixed in. As with all the other yarns, it gets darker when wet and is actually pretty close to the real thing.
About 4 yards.
Mist Yarn Package - $2.50
Mist is another yarn that I learned about from the Tenkara Guides. I haven't fished with this one but the Guides swear by it. I do know that blue works in flies and have wondered why there weren't more blue flies after Andrea Scalvini told me that they work quite well with his pesca mosca Valsesiana. Try the Mist yarn when you want a slightly lighter body than the Purple Haze will give you. Like all 100% wool yarns, it will darken when wet. About 4 yards.
Moorit Yarn Package - $2.50
This is another yarn that comes recommended by the Tenkara Guides. I had known of this one before. Moorit is the brown strand of the brown and gray Moorit-Shaela (nymph yarn) but I had never used it by itself. It makes a very nice body to go with either a hen pheasant feather or a partridge back feather. It is really more of a uniform brown than the photo makes it appear. About 4 yards.
Nymph Yarn Package - $2.50
This is the yarn that got me started with yarn-bodied flies (I raided my sister's knitting bag). I tied nymphs with it with extra yarn wraps to create a wider thorax. It is a two-ply yarn with one brown ply and one gray ply. When wet it turns very dark but not quite black.
Instead of nymph yarn, I should have called this Partridge Yarn. Separate the strands to make great soft hackle wet fly bodies, along with partridge hackle. Use the gray strand with the gray breast feathers and the brown strand with the brown back feathers. About 4 yards.
Olive Killer Bugger Yarn Package- $2.50
What you see is not quite what you'll get. I could not capture the color exactly with my camera and light (and photography skills). It's kind of an olive green with a hint of gray, and maybe a touch of yellow. It is more olive than the Bracken and not nearly as yellow. About 4 yards.
Purple Haze Yarn Package - $2.50
This is a yarn that I learned about from the Tenkara Guides in Salt Lake City. They swear by it and now I do, too. The first fly I tied with it, a simple soft hackle with a Purple Haze yarn body and a partridge back feather, was surprisingly effective for both trout and bluegills. About 4 yards.
Shaela Yarn Package - $2.50
Shaela yarn is the gray strand within the Moorit-Shaela (nymph yarn). It is a medium gray, but unlike most gray yarns, it is not spun and then dyed a uniform gray. It is spun from a mixture of very dark gray fibers and very light fibers. The color is much more interesting and is more lifelike when wet. It makes a very nice body to go with a partridge breast feather. About 4 yards.
Sulfur/PMD Yarn Package - $2.50
This yarn is a light yellow color and would work very nicely for a yarn bodied sulfur if you are a hatch matcher or an Amano Kebari if you aren't. About 4 yards.
Tupps Yarn Package - $2.50
Try this one. It makes an excellent Killer Bug and a passable Tups. I am certain that an Amano Kebari with a thorax of this yarn would be a very good fly. About 4 yards.
White Killer Bugger Yarn Package- $2.50
Use the White Killer Bugger Yarn along with white woolly bugger marabou to make white killer buggers, which will imitate small shiners about as well as anything. The natural white yarn isn't bleached or dyed. It's just the way the sheep made it. About 4 yards.
Wren Yarn Package- $2.50
The overall color of the wren looks like a greyish tan, but it is made up of a number of different colors, and also contains some very light and very dark fibers. It should make a very nice yarn bodied soft hackle with a hen pheasant or partridge feather. About 4 yards.
Ultra Wire, Small, Copper - $1.75
The killer bug is tied with copper wire instead of tying thread. It provides a bit of extra non-toxic weight and holds up well to trout teeth.
Ultra Wire, Small, Red - $1.75
I tie the Utah Killer Bug and the white Killer Bugger with red copper wire.
Cobbler's wax and white wax - $5
These waxes, produced by Bill Bailey, are tying waxes, not dubbing waxes. Used for hundreds of years to prepare silk thread for tying. Waxed thread holds the materials in place as you tie (critical for tying in hand), makes the fly more durable, and changes the color of the silk (particularly when using the cobbler's wax). They do make the silk a bit tackier, so a separate dubbing wax is not necessary. One piece of cobbler's wax and one piece of white wax per package. Store in a cool place.
Mini Sculpin Helmets (Olive) - $5.00
The Mini Sculpin Helmets provide a bit of weight so you can fish near the bottom, have a keel that reliably causes the fly to swim hook up, and gives the fly the broad profile that suggests a sculpin.
Tungsten Beads $6.00
Interestingly, a size 18 Daiichi 1560, along with a 5/64" tungsten bead weighs less than a size 10 Daiichi 1120 hook by itself. It should not feel any different when casting. A fly tied on an 18 hook with a bead will sink faster than a fly tied on a 10 hook without a bead because it is smaller and is thus less affected by water resistance. With a small fly and a small bead, you don't need a stiff rod to cast it or to fish it.
These are slotted beads so they will fit over the barb and around the bend. A pink bead with a bit of sunglow yarn on a size 18 Daiichi 1560 actually works pretty well. Give some a try.
Copper or pink
Prismacolor Marker, Sand - $5.00
This marker transforms the killer bug yarn from a light oatmeal color to the tan that creates the crucial pinkish tan color when wet.
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Please note: Because of US Government regulations, I cannot ship some fly tying materials outside of the US. Bird skins, deer hair, bleached elk, pheasant tail feathers and natural dun CDC feathers are restricted to US addresses.
Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa