You don't have to be a chemist to know that fox pee stains fox belly fur the perfect shade of another one of nature's creatures, Ephemerella subvaria - The Hendrickson mayfly. It's a rare find, this fur, that many traditional Catskill Fly Tyers covet. It's been said that some tyers have had wet dreams about it, and why shouldn't they? After all, perhaps they might be trying to create their own magic fur.
Pick up any book on the history of the Catskill Fly Tying Tradition, and you'll see this material was the
reason for bar fights, marriage proposals and dissolutions, hunting "accidents", and in a number of cases, wader slashing.
One old-timer recently recalled how he overheard two local Roscoe, NY fellows named Walt and Harry, discussing over a couple of beers how they would carry out a trip to their safe deposit box at the Salmonid National Bank, to cut a smidgen of fur from their treasured fur so they could tie some fresh Hendricksons for the upcoming hatch in the spring of 1957..........
And now, after 40 years of tying flies, I have my own piece of pee-stained fox belly fur to tie my Hendricksons with thanks to one of the finest Catskill Fly Tyers known, Dave Brant. And now I can see for myself why this fur "gold" has reached mythical status - the creamy gray with a pink cast fur color is found no where else in nature...........or labratories. All those years I had mixed a blend of pink, gray and cream dyed rabbit fur to get the desired shade, and now I have the real deal.
So now I just have to pull out all the guard hairs, then cut off and blend the remaining underfur into a natural creamy, pink gray dubbing in a coffee grinder. The result will be the ultimate Hendrickson dubbing. I'll tie a few up and share them with you all (photos that is) sometime in the very near future.
Another reason to look forward to spring!
Sharpen those hooks!!