Opened up my parcel of shrimp tails from Flymen fishing co the other day and was pleasantly surprised to find they’d slipped in a sample pack of their new Faux Bucktail which I’ve seen being showcased on FB and through their newsletter. It’s nigh impossible these days to find quality decent length bucktail especially here in SA, Primo tails out in the States probably supply the best over the net but it’s so pricey to ship over here that its actually not worth it. So I have to admit the thought of trying something, all be it synthetic that has “similar” qualities to Bucktail certainly tweeked my interests. I must say now before I do carry on that all I know about this product is from what I’ve read through the Flymen fishing Co’s newsletter. I’ve also refrained from watching any tying tutorials that I see dotted around the web purely because I wanted this to be as impartial a review as I could possibly make it.
On first glance it looks the bizz!! 6 inches of equally lengthed tapered strands that comes in 12 of the usual suspect colours. There’s no getting past the fact though that this is a synthetic plastic material and it will have its limitations with certain tying techniques. Forget it if you think you’ll be able to use it for deerhair stacking and due to its composition it will have unforgiving memory. As I’m going to be demonstrating the Hollow fleye technique at this years FFFTExpo, the arrival of this sample Faux Bucktail couldn’t have come at a better time for me to give it a test run, and so I set about trying to construct an articulated hollow fleye baitfish pattern which in all honesty probably isn’t the easiest pattern to be coming to grips with this new material, but sometimes it’s best to just jump into the deep end straight away.
The first thing you notice is that it’s extremely easy to extract the exact amount of strands you want from the hank by just pulling them loose from the glued base. You’ll need a slightly more robust pair of scissors to cut your clumps to the desired length you’re wanting to work with, purely because it is a hardened plastic synthetic. The bonus with Faux Bucktail is that there isn’t any irritating underfur and unevenly lengthed strands to contend with, and tapering of the clump is just as easy as working with natural bucktail and I would also hazard a guess that blending two different colours together would also be rather easy due to the materials sleekness.
Attaching the Faux bucktail is off course a little different as I found the material extremely slick and needed a number of more wraps around it than normal bucktail to secure it onto the articulated shank. I recommend laying a base of thread down along the surface (Articulated or Hook shanks) that you’re going to work with first, as it will help in securing it in place a lot easier. I squeezed & jimmied the material as equally as I could around the shank before securing it with a drop of zap a gap. In fact after every clump I tied off, I ended up adding a blob of glue purely for ease of mind.
The second clump is where things started to get a bit tricky as this was the first fleyed clump I was working with. You really do need a lot more wraps of thread to secure the Faux bucktail down and you really must spend a little longer evenly spreading the strands around the hook shank because if you don’t, the more unevenly they are spread around the shank when you come to splay it backwards you’ll end up with uneven sides so to get around this problem I recommend using half the amount of Faux bucktail that you think you would have used to get an equally desired splayed effect your looking for.
Another reason for less is more and evenly spreading your strands is that once you start to build up your cone at the front, if your faux bucktail strands aren’t evenly spaced, your cone will inevitably become unevenly wrapped, and will be noticeable from the front of the fly. Yes I’m a perfectionist when it comes to fly construction, but having your fly unevenly set up with stiffish synthetic materials which Faux bucktail are made from, will inevitably make it track unevenly due to uneven weight distribution. One side becomes a little lob-sided (and let’s face it, this is a hollow fleye styled fly that demands sleekness and perfect body weight distribution) I also must add that with this hollow fleye style of tying and the materials memory, I did use ¾ of a 50m bobbin of 12/0 Semperfli nano silk to construct this pattern and would have been better placed to have used a far thicker thread from the start (Note to self). I also toyed with the idea of using some UV Resin to lock the strands in place but to be honest once it gets to that stage then all the fun goes out of fly tying and fly construction for me because your constantly swapping hands fart arsing around picking up the UV resin applicator, then your torch, while still holding the fleyed clump in place with the other hand and you’ll end up with the faux bucktail setting at different angles to the last batch you previously tied on.
Anyway it did take me much longer to eventually construct this fly than normally would using bucktail, but on overall appearance I’m rather stocked with the end product.
What would interest me to know is ?……………..Is there a marked difference in the speed of the subtle vibrations given off at the tips of both Faux bucktail & natural bucktail strands? ……… and would there be subtle differences in the volume of sound vibrating off both the different strands? I would presume that the hollowness of the natural bucktail would have a deeper tone to the vibration that Faux bucktail would emit. I’m also hoping that after 30 to 50 good casts and a number of fish later that the tips on the faux bucktail will have a slight raggedy look to them which I think would improve the swim action ever so slightly.
I then tied up a bog standard clouser and a surf candy which obviously were a lot easier to construct due to the ease of tying technique, and although I’ve just had the Grey Faux bucktail to play around with I’ve still been able to add different colour combinations to the flies by just colouring in the different clumped strands with a permanent marker.
I then used a couple of strands which I coloured dark Grey with a permanent marker for feelers on this shrimp pattern instead of silli legs, which I think gives the pattern a slightly more realistic edge to it. Yes it isn’t hollow, and it does have memory, and you do need to make sure that you have it evenly splayed around your hook shank for equal weight distribution for curtain tying techniques, but I think Flymen fishing Co have come up with a great product that will have numerous application benefits throughout both disciplines of the sport! Especially within the saltwater fly fishing brigade as it has an obvious toughness and longevity that Natural bucktail doesn’t and will definitely be able to stand up to most toothy critters chomping on it regularly. In fact, tied correctly, and washed religiously after every use, saltwater styled patterns should last the fly fisherman ages.
Lastly, here’s a “Top tip life hack for all fly fisherman”Lose your shaving foam brush? Then just head to your tying cave and use a hank of Faux bucktail to apply your shaving cream to that grizzly Adams beard….works a treat!!