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When shopping around for the best fly tying chenille, you’ll be looking for material that you can easily manipulate. It should mimic the color of the natural forage and be durable enough to stand up to a day of fishing.
Chenille is actually the French word for caterpillar. After taking one look at the material, you’ll see why it’s called that. When laid flat, it definitely resembles that insect.
However, you don’t just have to tie caterpillars with this material. It can be used for many different types of insects, critters, or anything else you intend on tying while sitting at your fly tying desk.
What Is Chenille?
The best chenille is used for many things, not just fly tying. Many times it’s woven into clothing. This material is truly versatile, which is great for fly tying.
Overall, chenille is a woven fabric. It can be used to wrap around the shanks of hooks and give bodies to the flies that you’re tying. The best chenille for fly tying is versatile.
It comes in many different colors and sizes, meaning you can tie big, medium, or small flies with it. It’s ideal for the angler who wants to have a variety of material to tie with.
When to Use Chenille
It’s most often used as the body of flies. Usually, it’s used on larger streamers and nymphs. However, there are smaller sizes that are great for pupae or egg patterns.
Streamers might be the most popular, though. The brightly colored patterns work wonders and can trigger reaction strikes from just about any type of fish, whether fresh or saltwater.
Types of Chenille
Below, I’m going to go over a few different types of chenille. The best chenille material has its own pros and cons, so think about what you want to tie and apply that to the list.
Pearl chenille has a sparkly outside, which when fished in bright conditions reflects the sunlight from beneath the water and can entice bites from fish.
Finesse chenille gives your fly a little bit of a different look. This is the best chenille fly tying material for tying different variations of the Game Changer.
One of the most popular, wooly chenille makes exactly what you think: The Woolly Bugger. The construction of the material is ideal for this fly and other alterations.
Glow in the Dark Chenille
Now this one is interesting. The glow in dark chenille can be used in many low light situations, whether it’s deep in the water column or fished during twilight hours.
What Makes Good Fly Tying Chenille?
Below I’m going to go over a couple of different features that chenille has. Each of these has their own pros and cons, so think about what you’re looking for and apply it to the list.
The color of the chenille is important because it needs to match the rest of the fly in order to imitate the natural forage that fish target.
Or, the color could be used to help initiate reaction strikes from fish. This is ideal for when the fish aren’t biting, but you can get them to react to something based on the color of the fly.
You need to pick a size for your fly that will allow you to catch the fish you’re pursuing. This means it’s all the more important that you choose a chenille that matches this.
Luckily, chenille comes in many different sizes. It can be used to tie large streamers and nymphs. Or, it can be used to tie small nymphs, pupae, and even egg patterns.
There are many different types of bodies that a chenille can have. One is finesse chenille, which I mentioned above is great for tying the Game Changer.
Then there’s also wooly chenille, which can be used to tie the Woolly Bugger as well as other variations of this fly.
High Vis vs Low Vis
This does not necessarily mean the color of the thread. This is in regard to any added props with color, such as sparkles or glow in the dark material.
The extra visibility could either give you the best day of fishing you’ve ever had or you could be skunked. So, it needs to be used only when you know it will work.
Best Fly Tying Chenille
Below, I’m going to go over three different types of chenille. Each of them will work great on any fly tier’s bench. Pick one out and see for yourself!
Phecda Sport 10 Cards Flash Chenille
The Phecda Sport 10 Card is a chenille kit that comes with 10 different colors and is sized at a width of 7mm or .28 inches. These are great sizes for tying a serious number of flies.
It can be used to tie different types of streamers and insects. Along with some normal colors, you also get some vibrant colors that sparkle as well.
Creative Angler Chenille Assorted Chenille
The Creative Angler chenille comes in either individual packs or in packs of five, allowing you the freedom to purchase however many you want and still get what you need.
Each roll comes in a pack of two yards. This means you’ll be getting a good amount of chenille each time you order some.
Tigofly 10 Cards Variety Chenille
The Tigo Fly 10 Cards Variety pack is a great set for someone who wants to tie a bunch of different flies or for someone who’s just starting out and needs a great selection. This pack comes with 24 different colors.
The width of these is around 7mm, making them pretty versatile. You’ll be able to tie many different types of flies with this material.
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Chenille is a great material for helping you catch more fish. It gives the fly a body that looks realistic, and it’s also easy to handle.
So, now that you know a little bit more about it, you should head on down to your local fly shop and pick some up!
Some images in this post are courtesy of Shutterstock.
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