We get a lot of questions here at Spawn and in this blog we will continue to address them all. The topic of soaking fly tying materials came up this week and we figured we would dive right in. Soaking fly tying materials is a common practice among fly tiers, particularly when using natural materials like feathers or fur. Soaking these materials can help to soften them, making them easier to work with and manipulate when tying flies.
When soaking materials, it's important to use the right amount of water and to not leave them submerged for too long, as this can cause the fibers to become weak and break. Generally, a few minutes of soaking is sufficient, and it's important to squeeze out any excess water before using the materials.
Some fly tiers prefer to add a small amount of conditioner or softener to the water when soaking natural materials, as this can help to further soften the fibers and make them easier to work with. However, it's important to use these products sparingly and to avoid using them on synthetic materials, as they can cause damage or discoloration.
One other note of importance is what to do with materials you have soaked and end up not using during that tying session. Before putting the materials back in storage it is a must that you let those materials dry completely. Once they are dry it is safe to store them without the worry of mold or rot.
While soaking can be beneficial and have practical applications for fly tying, the decision of whether or not to soak your materials ultimately comes down to individual preference. Some fly tiers opt not to soak their materials at all. However, for those who do choose to soak their materials, it is crucial to do so with care and consideration for each specific material's requirements.