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The Art Of Dyeing Fishing Colours Which Are Pig's Hair Mohair Fur & Hackles Commonly Called Dubbing

The great advantage the fly fisher must derive from a knowledge of

dyeing his colours and hackles is obvious. It affords amusement to the

enthusiastic fisher to be acquainted with the various shades required

for making his flies to suit the rivers, and the flies become valuable

when made of good colours and hackles. Every hackle and colour that is

used for making a salmon fly must be of the richest dye imaginable, that

they may show brilliant and good to the fish's eye at the bottom of the

water, and entice them to rise and take it at the top. The hackles must

be taken from old cocks, both the neck and saddle ones, as they hold

the dye best. Wool is not good for the fly, as it soaks the water, and

is dull and heavy. Pig hair, that next the skin, with the stiff and

coarse bristles picked and cleared away, and mohair, which is Spanish

goat hair, a most beautiful brilliant substance for fly making when dyed

well; white seal's fur, and furs of different kinds of a white colour.

White hackles are best for yellows, oranges, gold colours, blues,

greens, &c.; red hackles do best to dye claret, red, or fiery browns,

olives, and cinnamon browns, &c., and black hackles for sooty olives,

and tawny colours. When the angler sees a white old cock he should buy

him to procure his hackles, or a black cock, a grey cock, and old red

cocks of every hue, all of which are good for dyeing. These also must be

washed in soap and hot water before being dyed, and the flue stripped

off, tied in bunches (see the bunch of white hackles in the Plate of

Feathers, ready for the dye) of proper sizes, and when about to be put

into the dye-pot, wet them and the hair in hot water.

Provide a small crucible or earthen pot, glazed inside, with an earthen

handle, to hold a quart of soft water, and before you put in your

hackles or hair, wash them well, as I said before, in soap and hot

water. The five principal colours to work upon are blue, red, yellow,

brown, and black. From the combination of two or more of these may be

produced every shade required, from the lightest to the darkest, so that

it only requires some practice, to know the different ingredients to

use, to become a Dyer of Fishing Colours.