Fly tying materials craft Fur
Fly Fur is a soft, thin, 2-3" long synthetic fly tying material originally made for the craft industry. It's sold in either 10x12 inch "sheets" or 3x8 inch strips. It can also be bought in bulk from larger craft stores.
Fly Fur comes in a wide range of colors. Pictured above (left to right) is white, yellow, lime green, chartreuse, black, grey, olive, tan, blonde, royal blue, light blue, and lavender. I also passed on several other colors available. Fly fur can also be dyed using standard dying methods, but with a huge selections of colors readily available it's probably not worth the trouble. The best color selection will be found at your local fly shop, but you can save a penny or two and get your "staple" colors like white and tan at a craft store. You'll also likely find white available in larger quanities, which is always a good buy as I'm sure I'm not the only one who ties through white faster than everything else!
Before buying any craft fur, remove it from the package and give it the once over. I've found that the materials properties can range from soft to semi-course, thin to bushy, and straight to wavey. Consistancy clearly isn't their strong suit, and I would assume there are several different manufacturers producing this stuff. Make sure you select a package with the right qualities for the flies you're tying.
Fly Fur comes on a fabric backing material and can be handled just like real hair on a hide. Before trimming, it's best to comb out the hair to seperate the fibers and ensure that you trim off just the right amount. Once off the "hide", the first thing you'll notice is that the "fur" is actually a blend of different fiber lengths. This is what makes Fly Fur truly unique from other synthetic body materials. By removing the "underfur" you can precisely control the amount of bulk your fly has and thus it's profile. Because of it's varied length, it's less prone to getting that dreaded paintbrush look common to some other synthetics.
fly fur backing
If you took my advise and combed the material prior to cutting you probably noticed small bits of the fluffy underfur on the comb. If you're nuts like me, you can save it and use it as dubbing later. You can also align the tips of the hair using either your hands or a hair stacker (allthough I always recommend your hands).
Because Fly Fur is such a soft, thin material it has excellent movement under water. These same properties means that it ties in with very little bulk. The fly below uses 3 colors of Fly Fur tied in front of the eyes, and as you can see from the picture the head is still very small. Try doing that with bucktail!
Fly Fur doesn't absorb water which makes casting big flies much easier, and because of it's small diameter it sinks very quickly. It's also quite durable and will withstand the abuse of many big fish.
clouser minnow tied with fly fur
I'll leave you with one last tying suggestion... like most synthetics, Fly Fur is rather slippery and your flies can fall apart if you're not careful. Try tying the material in reverse (with the tips facing forward) and then fold it back over itself with a few thread wraps to lock it in place. This will ensure that the materials stays put, and since it's so thin you won't add a significant amount of bulk at the tie in point.
More info: http://www.flyfishingchina.com