Last weekend my neighbor knocked on my door with a little present. She’s a big-time knitter, and had just returned from buying some alpaca yarn, which (in case you’re not versed in yarn) is pretty pricey stuff. Apparently the lady who sold it to her had a few bags of raw alpaca fibers from the animals’ hind quarters handy, so my neighbor asked if she could have them to give to me because I tie flies. Score!
You can find alpaca dubbing if you search on the Internet, but it seems not that many fly shops carry it. I also found a few flyfishing and tying forum posts about alpaca, mostly from people asking where to buy it and if it’s any good for anything other than dubbing. Some actually hinted that it’s on par in rarity and movement underwater with polar bear fur.
If you’ve never felt alpaca, it’s incredibly soft but pretty tough. I have hunch it will “breathe” and flow most magically. My plan is to save some for dubbing, but whip out some nice trout and smallmouth streamers for this fall, plus some striper and false albacore flies for the salt. Only a fisherman could get this excited over three bags of hair.