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Not only is fall a great time to go fishing, but many people also get decked out in camouflage this time of year to go hunting. Some outdoor adventurers, like contributor Tom Keer, may even work in both activities during a brisk fall day.
If you don’t hunt, but think you might finally get to learn to tie your own flies this winter, you might want to shoot the breeze with your hunting neighbor.
It may come as a surprise, just how many natural materials are used in lure making. Pheasant, duck, goose, and turkey feathers are frequently found in fly-tying kits along with the hair of deer and rabbit. These materials are selected not only because of their color, but for density, rigidity of the fibers, and action in water that synthetic materials struggle to match. Trout are not the only fish that like organic lures; freshwater heavyweights like bass, muskie, and pike lures may have animal part components as well as saltwater species such as redfish, tarpon, and bonefish.
Not into making your own lures? Mepp’s Lure Co. has a program where they will purchase recycled squirrel tails or double the value by trading for lures. My favorite lure as a kid was the Mepp’s black fury, and I had no idea that the treble hook, dressed in squirrel tail hair was crucial to its success catching bass, crappie, and sunfish in Oklahoma ponds. But, check the hunting regulations for your state first.
I like hunting season because it reduces the fishing pressure on some of my water holes. Plus, if they have any luck, maybe my hunting friends will let me recycle some of that hair or feathers into lures while I’m stuck inside, muttering at the cold.
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