Rabbit strip is one of the coolest materials available to us fly tyers. It's relatively inexpensive, easy to work with, and best of all, it produces an awesome action underwater. Both freshwater and saltwater flies are tied using rabbit strip to imitate forage like various baitfish and leeches. One problem this material can pose is that some flies tied with a long strip at the rear can get fouled pretty often. When rabbit strip is wet, it gets really limp and loves to wrap around the bend of the hook during the cast, thus killing the look and action of the fly upon retrieval. Yeah, it can be pretty dang annoying, but when tying a fly like this there's something you can do to stiffen the strip and help prevent it from fouling!
1.) Grab some stiff line—I often use 20 or 30 pound test. I was out of hard mason line, so I'm just using some spare fluorocarbon here.
2.) Cut off a few inches of the line and tie it in on the top of the hook at the rear. If there's a curve to the line I'll secure it so the curve goes upwards.
3.) Cut off the length of rabbit strip you want to use and secure it on top of where you tied-in the line.
4.) Swing the rabbit strip around and use the hook point to poke a hole in the strip (or use another hook to do it). You can poke the hole a bit further down the strip than I have if you want (especially if using a very long strip), but the further down you poke it the less action the strip will produce when these steps are concluded.
5.) Next, I take the end of the line and run it through the hole in the strip from bottom to top.
6.) Bring the line forward over the shank and get ready to tie it down which will form a closed loop. Before doing so, make sure the strip is coming straight off the back of the hook and the sizing of the loop won't cause the strip to bunch up or be crooked. You can pinch the end of the loop a little bit (where it runs through the hole) which makes it easier to manipulate and gauge. Once the loop size appears to be adjusted perfectly, secure it with thread (shown next step).
7.) Before fully securing the loop of line and clipping the excess line, double check the loop size. If it still looks good, wrap it down tight and snip off the extra line—you're done! This loop of line helps stiffen the strip and makes it less prone to wrapping around the hook bend while casting. Now just proceed with the rest of the fly....THE END!