Catgut – a great material for tying flies

Catgut, a natural absorbable suture is obtained by longitudinally slitting the intestinal submucosa of sheep and goat, twisting the ribbons and joining them in wet condition giving monofilament finish. Catgut have 2 colors: natural or plain (ivory -cream color) and Chromic (dark brown color).For a long period, catgut was the most common material for the strings of harps, violins, and  as well as other stringed musical instruments.

Catgut is a great fly tying material and  lies tied with catgut looks very realistic.

Here is a few pictures with nymphs tied on size #10 and #12


Flies tied with size #16 and #18:

8 thoughts on “Catgut – a great material for tying flies

  1. Hi Lucian. Great idea. Where do you buy catgut? Also, did you tie an underbody to change the color of the fly or use a coloring marker on the catgut?

  2. Looks great, I’ve just got some from troutline. Do you tie it in soaked or dry? Thanks

  3. Hello Lucian! Great post and we love that you show the fly wet…it really provides an excellent perspective on how the fly appears to the fish. Question about catgut. Surgically, the suture is absorbable. Do you know if these flies eventually fall apart due to water use? I guess the idea is that all our flies will fall apart because of hookups. I am curious though about this awesome nymph material. Thanks for posting. Love your site! Take care! 

    • Hi Jay,

      I’m glad that you find interesting thinks here :)
      I use this material for flies for years. I don’t have have any problems with falling apart. You can keep the material in water for days without any problem. It is very possible that your flies will be disintegrated in 10-14days  if you fish in a “soup” with enzymes:)


  4. Pingback: Fly Tying & Catgut: Not What I Thought | SwittersB & Fly Fishing

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