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Tying with AZ Simi Seal

Simi seal is the invention of John Rohmer of John Rohmer Materials over at azflyfishing.net.  John probably has more days on the water fishing than I’ll ever have if I live to be a million and he knows his stuff. I first found Simi Seal years ago, “back in the day” when John was still running Arizona Fly Fishing shop in Tempe, AZ.  Since I’ve been tinkering with simi seal, well over a decade now, I’ve come up with at least a dozen different patterns that use it in one way or another, some original, some just modifications of patterns.

The incredibly versatile Simi Seal leach is built entirely of Simi Seal dubbing
The incredibly versatile Simi Seal leach is built entirely of Simi Seal dubbing.

I’ve replaced all my standard wooly bugger type bodies with simi seal.  I also use it to replace dubbed bodies on standard nymphs when I want something buggier or just to change the color a little.  If the simi seal fibers are too long I just simply cut them in half or I’ll switch to AZ Synthetic Dubbing which comes in very similar colors but is much shorter and easier to use on smaller flies.  For larger flies I go to AZ Diamond Hair which is similar but super long and is the basis for John Rohmer’s awesome Diamond Hair Minnow, which is the starting point of a lot of my new baitfish pattern tinkering lately.

The MOAD crawdad incorporates a Simi Seal body in a wide variety of color combinations
The MOAD crawdad incorporates a Mega Simi Seal body in a wide variety of color combinations.

Simi seal comes in a couple different varieties, my favorite being Mega Simi Seal. This material is  longer than the standard simi seal and allows for larger bugger type flies and for heads on streamers.  I like using a dubbing loop for bodies and is what I use on the original MOAD Crawdad pattern.  One of the things that make this dubbing great to experiment with is the ability to wind a tight body and then use the velcro trick to shag out bodies that give the illusion of bulk.  In the water, the MOAD crawdad looks like a full size lobster-like body but still casts with a five weight.

I also believe a lot of the success that comes with simi seal is the complexity of colors.  If you look closely you’ll notice several colors in a very complex mixture, especially in the colors labeled Canadian, such as Canadian Olive/black/brown etc.  I have a weird theory that I think fish actually see individual colors instead of several blended together into a single shade of color like we tend to do.  But until fish learn to speak English, this will remain just a theory.

The "Canadian" color series. Clockwise from top black, brown and olive
The “Canadian” color series. Clockwise from top black, brown and olive

The colors I use most are:

Brown
Canadian Black
Brick Brown
Bronzeback
Olive brown
Crowley perch
Amber olive

The color that I use the most and absolutely catch the most fish on?  Brown.  Yep, just plain brown.  I go thru bags of that stuff.  Crawdad patterns and buggers as well as just the original simi seal leech in brown color never fails me where ever I use it and it’s my go to color whenever things get tough.

Just of few of the flies modified or created using Simi Seal dubbing
Just of few examples of patterns modified or created with Simi Seal dubbing

Simi seal is one of those materials that come along and make you wonder what all the rest of the stuff you have is for.  It’s like the ranch dressing of fly tying, I put that shit on everything. Nymph bodies to double articulated streamers, it has a use on a huge variety of applications.   If you’re a fly developer or inventor/tinkerer type and you haven’t tried it yet you’ll love this stuff, and with SEVERAL DOZEN colors, you won’t get bored with it anytime soon.  ….and just like all ranch dressing, simi seal dubbing is made in someone’s garage somewhere…

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