Just as a pointer I thought I’d post about natural mink tails and the superb dubbing obtained used on some of my best patterns around Derbyshire. First of all most of us now a gamekeeper, river keeper, stalker, fishing club, wildlife group, farmer or God knows whoever else traps Mink (horrible little gits). Hopefully somebody will oblige you and be kind enough to lop a tail off after dispatch. If they're really kind they might even skin the tail for you, a relatively easy job I'm told using 2 sticks to get a start before pulling back the whole tail skin, just like mine shown in the picture below.
Me being a lucky chap had this one handed over my threshold prepared clean as a whistle by a good friend who surprises me now and then with the odd pheasant, venison, duck, I guess you get my drift ,he’s a pleasant phucker who I’m always glad to see. For those not so lucky, then be satisfied with the whole tail, in fact this is equally easy when preparing a small bag dubbing that will last an age. First step is to trim off the guard hairs on to a clean surface being sure not to leave too many long ones as they can prove hard to dub. Next cut down to the skin ensuring all the fluffy down is mixed in with the long hair before discarding the bold tail, unless you fancy a dodgy soup or something. Now freeze the bag for a few days before using to kill of any unwanted guests that might take fancy to your treasured fly tying box.
Above and below show 2 piles of guard hair and down leaving the stripped tail to throw away. I then mix together, Simples!
Now you will have the finest dubbing material for your lovely flies and probably for the cost of a pint in your local. One mink tail provides tons of dubbing and this will last a couple of seasons, but my advice is never pass up an opportunity to store another bag of mink dub, its dynamite on bugs and just as good on dries, I wouldn’t be without it.