Do you love big bluegill?
Last Friday I was looking at tying materials online, and decided to pay a visit to a couple of our local deer processing businesses near here. With deer season in full swing, I thought perhaps I could purchase a few deer tails or a patch of hide. The first place I stopped at told me he just got rid of what he had on hand, but a place down the road may have some. He said that he would give me all I wanted once he got some more deer in. The place down the road told me they sold their hide and tails, but he would give me a tail if I wanted it. Not being one to turn down free tying material, I gladly took him up on his offer. I skinned it out in less than a minute, and then split the tail length wise and put salt on it to dry and preserve it. I have used Borax to preserve hides with excellent results, but didn't have any here last Friday. If you are looking for free, or very low cost deer tails or hides, check out your local processor.
I also scored 6 peacock tail feathers from a guy I work with whose mama raises peacocks. I told him I would tie him some crappie jigs and bream flies in exchange for the feathers. A couple of them are shorter and pointed looking, and are bright green in color. The others are what I would call a standard tail feather with the eye in them. I don't know a lot about peacock feathers, but they should make some interesting flies.
My next venture is going to be to several pet stores that sell exotic birds, and see if they will save me any feathers their birds may lose.
I also keep a sharp knife in my truck for collecting fresh road kill. I have never tried tying with any, but I would like to find a coon tail and a fox tail.
I live in a bottom apartment. About 5 years ago I could hear some creatures running across my ceiling late at night and early in the morning. I thought maybe they were rats. My landlord trapped a red squirrel, but he discarded it. I told him if he trapped anymore just to put them in a plastic bag, hang them on my door, and I'd skin them out when I got home from work. He ended up trapping 3 more squirrels, which gave me 3 red squirrel skins. I use it a lot for many different patterns. I still have one more full skin left.
I have had beaver, fox and bear hair given to me. As a matter of fact, I have more tying materials than I will probably ever use in my lifetime, simply because I kept my eyes open for close out sales everywhere. Feathers, too. But I haven't done any bird jigs yet. I'm too hung up on the simplicity and effectiveness of the grass shrimp patterns to deviate much lately. But...I do like those auto and semiauto jigs from Ledhed and Fabbi with the rubber skirted legs...lots of options here.
Sure have been some great looking jigs and flies put up on this site...wow!
I talked to a guy thats a taxidermist today and he is giving me a bunch of different scraps of hides