Protecting natural tying materials? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Protecting natural tying materials?

Bob Pink
02-02-2002, 08:09 PM
I've heard of how bugs can invade natural tying materials (bucktail, hackles etc.. ) if left unprotected for too long. Rather than rely on mothballs or other chemical barriers, has anyone tried using natural cedar ( like they would use to line a closet? ).

I've been thinking of buying some at H-D and putting a few pieces in each of the drawers of my materials cabinet.


02-02-2002, 08:19 PM
That makes so much sense I would have never thought of it :rolleyes:

I am really turned off by the smell of moth balls (joke there somewhere) so have resorted to airtight containers for the last several years with success. The problem is that this can get to be a real pain in the butt. It would be a heck of a lot more convenient to use a natural material like cedar - also anxious to hear people's replies...

02-02-2002, 08:35 PM
Keep most of the material in plastic bags, now plastic bags in the
plastic file cabinet I bought last week along with a large 4 drawer tackle box. In 20 years of tying I have never had a problem with bugs, and I have not used moth balls or anything else.

Maybe I have been lucky, not sure. Have to watch those rabbit and pheasant skins.

Only problem I had was I left a bunch of older squirrel tails and buck tails in a bag, in a cabinet in the garage. Looks like some field mice decided to make a meal out of the squirrel tails and chewed them down to the tail bone.

Cedar is a good idea I have a few small wood blocks of those that I will now propagate to the new fly storage container referenced above.

I hope the Mrs. does not notice, don't think she will. :chuckle:

Lets see what other ideas, I am surprised I have not had more problems in this area to date. :smokin:

02-02-2002, 11:26 PM
Instead of Moth Balls, try some Borax or some Alum, both usually available at your local drugstore. I use Borax to tan some hides and I also put some in an old camera film canister which I place inside the plastic bag or plastic bin. Never had a poblem with bugs & no smell.

02-03-2002, 12:05 AM
Bob -

Between decoy carving and my new adventures in plug carving, I've got a plentiful supply of chips and sawdust of atlantic white cedar. It's not quite as pungent as red cedar, but it has that unmistakable cedar smell--probably enough to ward off parasites if you put a couple of handsful in mesh bags. Ping me back if you want me to bring a supply to casting clave or pack it up and ship it to you between now and then.


Capt. Mel Simpson
02-03-2002, 03:46 PM
There was once an awsome fly museum in a small town on the Oregon coast. I don't even remember the town it was in but the guy who owned it used tobacco to protect his flies from bugs. Boy, I'll bet that was 25 years ago and I started putting plug chewing tobacco and cigerates in my material then and have never had a problem either. Now, I do isolate any new natural materials, (it's rare that I even will take natural materials any more) by sealing them in zip lock bags and micro-waving them every 10 days for three weeks. Oh, it's a know fact that I'm a fanatical old fart, but I've got a lot of very expensive materials (like 31 Whiting American rooster capes, see what I mean?) and therefore just can't take a chance.
Good luck, I just don't think you can be too careful.

02-03-2002, 03:51 PM
If I had 31 rooster capes I would be paranoid to about losing them to bug infestation.

Tobacco and micro wave, interesting.

Thanks for the tips.

Assume you are tying all saltwater patterns ?


Capt. Mel Simpson
02-03-2002, 07:39 PM
pm, yes most of my tying now is saltwater but I still make one trip a year, right after tarpon season, to Oregon and BC to get in a couple of weeks of steelhead fishing. I'm a full time guide here in Florida, but if I get a few days off I work for a really neat fly shop. So that's how I come by some of the best materials. I also tied commercially for about 5 years and bought alot in bulk, and then I've been flyfishing all my life so....
Just a comment, this Forum, the threads and the participants are of a unique quality that is very enjoyable.
Thanks, Mel

02-03-2002, 09:09 PM

What size fly rods do you use for Tarpon 12 weights ?

Yes I have been pleased with the quality of the people on this board. Been on it since November and not seen any ranting or negative posts yet.

Great to have you with all of your florida salt water experience on the board.

You said the major work to me Tarpon, always wanted to take a shot at those. I see there was a new fly rod world record at 204lbs caught last year out of Homosassa Springs , FL.. Can't imagine one like that.

What is the biggest you have landed.


02-03-2002, 11:23 PM
Cedar would be a good way. I have a utility freezer in the basement conveniently located next to my tying desk that I keep my matrual materials in. Probably the safest way to make sure bugs stay out of your materials but maybe a little on the paranoid side....


02-03-2002, 11:43 PM
:whoa: You guys sure go out of your way for your materials...I am happy when they are actually in a drawe and not strewn across the floor!!

02-04-2002, 12:10 AM
Or at least tucked away so you're not rolling in bed having nightmares of Vlad the IMpaler! :hehe:

Capt. Mel Simpson
02-04-2002, 07:36 AM
pm, the world record was a very big deal here, mostly because of the controversy between the fisherman and the guide, ego's and greed at it's best. The record is not that big of a deal because it was on a 20# tippet. Now, 202.5 on 16# class tippet, Billy Pate's record, that would be. And that's the record most of us shoot for. The largest I've had to my boat is about 165, my personal best is about 175. You know untill you've been to Homosassa and seen it, it's very hard to explain, but the whole culture, the fishermen and guides, the beauty of the place and the scene that takes place during those two months in May and June is like no other. And on top of all that it's the very best flyfishing place for giant tarpon in the world. Oh, sorry...yes we use 12wts.
You can see I really look forward to tarpon season, I'm tying flies and leaders now. Mel

John Desjardins
02-04-2002, 09:47 AM
Originally posted by NrthFrk16
:whoa: I am happy when they are actually in a drawe and not strewn across the floor!!

Ryan, I guess were at different points in the cycle of life. If I don't put the materials away, my son thinks "these feathers will make a nice craft project". Thankfully it was only mallard flank feathers,and not a good cape or saddle.

Tod D
02-04-2002, 12:20 PM
FWIW, I keep small cedar blocks in all my tying bins. Sand 'em once a year to 'reactivate' their smell and, voila, no bug problems.

I'd stay away from moth balls. Them there are nasty things - both for you & the envronment.

02-04-2002, 06:19 PM

Thanks. My buddy who has lived in Tampa for the last 4 years has been asking me to come down there. He is not a fisherman.
Do you primarily fish the west coast of FL ? How is the Tampa area for fly fishing ?

200 pound tarpon on 16 lb test sounds like an impossible task to me. I've had 20 pound Chinnook salmon break 20 pound test easily on there way back to Lake Michigan on the end of my line.

God, I have to get down there for tarpon soon.