Cat tail Kebari

hahahaha…yup gone off the deep end.

Forgive my poor skills but thought I would share this.

So recently I harvested some Zenmai…aka…fern cotton.

I had not tied any flies with it until tonight, but also did a bit of a comparison.
My wife and I were having lunch at the local pond and some cat tails caught my eye. They were going to seed and it looked like Zenmai…accept…hahahahah…one does not need to pick tiny plants. One cat tail can supply one million flies.

cat tails in summer/fall

cat tails in spring…hahahhaha…furry!

so I grabbed a ball of it…compared to fern cotton…zenmai

left is cat tail

tied up some flies…the flies on the left are cat tail.


cat tail




Zenmai is more pulpy…cat tail is more gilly.

I found the cat tail fibers easier to deal with. I still have to get my technique down with dealing with the zenmai. That was literally the first attempt at using it and it shows, I am not a trained tier…self taught so my forms are very crude and inconsistent. My techniques is pretty bad and the Zenmai was a challenge.

Interesting stuff. I bet the cat tail will work equally as well as the fern cotton. Now is the time to get some to try…its all over the place.


Hmmm, never thought of using cattails. Interesting idea. Does it float? Or how does it look and behave when wet?

Personally, I don’t like tying with zenmai. I find it to be quite a pain in the backside to use; so, I quit.

This could be CATastrophe for zenmai fly tyers. Excellent idea, it’s purrfect.:smile_cat:

@Peder yeah…the pics above show how they look in water then wet out of water.

It is a strange material. Sheds water but does not float…or not bouyant enough to overcome the hook. longer straighter fibers compared to the zenmai…easier to dub as it doesnt clump.

There are seeds in it. It is a seed pod like a dandelion…so the material is light and probably designed to resist weather.

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This is a great idea. I never thought about this before but it would be a great substitute for Zenmai.
Excellent thinking Gressak. Thank you for the tip.

Columbus’s Egg comes to mind!

I like the idea of excluding as much plastics and animals from my fly tying desk as I possibly can.
In spring my orange cat needs brushing and his underfur makes great dubbing. Down by the water park in town I can pick as many feathers I want.


A word of caution. By all means collect/use fresh feathers but may I suggest you sterilise them before use/adding to your fly tying materials collection.
I always sterilise them first by placing in a sealed plastic bag and leaving in the freezer for at least 24 hours. This gets rid of any mites, etc., so they don’t infest any of my natural materials collection.



Very good point davidsr! I actually soak them in warer withantibacterial soap and rinse them well before freezing.
Overly scared of germs, diseases and other nasty stuff.


I was collecting zenami just last week and came across some cat tail. I had the same thought process as you except I had my 2 year old with me. He had already lost interest in the ferns so I didn’t push my luck with the cat tail. I’m glad you were able to grab some! I may have to go back out to see if I can get some now.

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Welcome, @TenkaraOdyssey. We’re glad that you’ve joined us.

Yes welcome to the fun. I collected that cattail but did not tie a ton of flies with it. It catches fish, but I am really lazy. I tie mostly with sheltland yarns as I can just go into robot zombie mode when I tie. Dubbing any material requires a few more steps and a skill that I do not have refined.

My dog ​​sheds twice a year. I do not bind so many flies. Zenmai and reed does not grow with us, but you can try using dandelion or ivan tea. If the translator does not cope, add pictures.
_Buryatia%2C_Russia ivan_chai_uzkolistnyj2


красивая собака.

Beautiful dog.

Thank you Peder, this is dubbing with my dog.


это выглядит очень похоже на Zenmai.

It looks very similar to zenmai.

Maybe because it is a Japanese breed of dog?:grin::grin::grin:


Thanks for sharing