While at the Coast over spring break, I found some great Clouser patterns at Rockport Outdoors that were tied with Arctic Fox instead of bucktail. The fox tails are great tying materials, and the flies can be tied full or sparse, depending on how much of the underfur you take out before tying down the guard hairs.
One of the problems I've had in the past was finding a good, inexpensive source for Arctic Fox tails. Most that I've seen come in small patches or "zonker strips" and sell for $2.50 to $4.50 for a small amount of fur. While in the Northwest fishing for steelhead, I found a much better source. Waters West Fly Shop in Port Angeles, Washington, now sells both Arctic Fox and Silver Fox in quarter tail, half tail, and full tail sizes in a wide variety of colors for $5.50 to $17.50, depending on size. Even a quarter tail will tie ten times as many flies as you could get from one of the zonker strips.
You can order the tails online at www.waterswest.com. You'll get great service from Dave Steinbaugh, who owns the shop and does the custom dyeing himself. He tells me he's just done several batches in various shades of tan for bonefish flies for Barry Beck.
So check it out and let me know what you think.
Fun with fur and feathers
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