Synthetic alternative to rabbit strips?

browell7

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Many of my leech and sculpin patterns include a 2"-3" rabbit strip (think Willie Nelson, Sculpin Bunny). Has anyone come across a synthetic material that could substitute for rabbit strips? I'm looking for a material that has a similar look and movement but doesn't absorb as much water.
 
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G_Smolt

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Short Answer: Nothing moves like bunny.

Slightly longer answer: If a fella is industrious, he can thin the hide on the backside of a rabbit strip to the point that it has very little absorptive capacity.With a few notable exceptions, I quit using bunny strips awhile ago and switched to rabbit in a dubbing loop or feathers trailed from the front of the fly...so far, the fish have few complaints.
 

BrownBear

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...a material that has a similar look and movement but doesn't absorb as much water.

The spectrum of colors available isn't so great and they're pretty skinny compared to rabbit, but I use a lot of Zonker strips cut from pine squirrel and mink. Neither hair absorbs water like rabbit, but the hide is still there. You might like it, since in fact the colors are more in line with what you might use on sculpin.

The link I provided to the pine squirrel is for half hides, but the same source sells smaller pack too. I use a lot of the white mink from the second source, since it's the only source of small white strips I've found.

BTW- Both types are fine for slender big flies, but really come into their own when you need smaller flies. John Barr's Slumpbuster is one of the best trout streamers I've ever used, tied in rusty brown with a copper cone, natural brown with a gold cone or black with a black cone. I use the white mink in small Zonkers, and they're a wonder in spring when trout are feeding on smolt.
 
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