Tie Dye Fly Shirt – The Best Carp Camo Going

| May 31, 2013

How about a fly fishing project that is easy, can involve the kids, wife, husband or significant other?

A few years ago I began wearing tie dye cotton a fishing shirt that I had commissioned by a UNT student friend, and she did a fantastic job on a single shirt – a well used Columbia cotton shirt – that lasted until I literally wore the dye right out of the fabric.

I began to notice immediately that I was able to move in a lot closer to carp and had numerous experiences with carp swimming in very close to me while I stood still. In short, I guarantee that well done tie dye camouflage shirts can get you closer to carp.

Fast forward a few years, and my tie dyer has moved back home to Austin. So it fell on me to learn the tie dye process and take on another do-it-yourself project. Luckily it coincided with a friend Ann (of A&P Vintage Trailer Repair) tie dyeing a bunch of shirts for one of their Airstream gatherings. From her, I learned a few nuances of tie dye, and about the Tulip brand of dye. I guess I should confess that I am old enough to have gone through the original round of tie dyeing in the 1960’s and dyed my own tee shirts as an infant okay child.

Back then, all we knew was boiling vats of Rit Dye. What I was seeing with this Tulip dye made me think I could take on the project myself – so I did.

The three variations I used from the instructions in the Tulip box were; I tried using zip ties to gather the fabric instead of rubber bands. I also left the shirt in a trash bag for 30 hours instead of their 8 hours. Overall, I think my first shirt needs just an 8 hour dye and the rubber bands may be better than zip ties. Definitely do not use small skinny zip ties. I also diluted the dye into a cycling water bottle to lower the intensity of the blue a bit. My next shirt will be even lighter blue.

You can find Tulip Dye at most craft and fabric stores.

1 – Match your tie dye to the environment you find yourself in. You can use tie dye shirts for stealth in streams and rivers. Just look at your surroundings next time and note; is there a tree canopy, mix of clouds and trees, greens, browns or blues? If you are floating Colorado canyons, why not do rocky brown tie dye.
2 – These projects should start with a “cheap” shirt. I now use Sports Authority “Magellan” shirts that are custom cut for me – shirt tales are removed so that bottom is squared off and does not tuck in anymore. I offer this sewing service on any fly fishing shirt for $15 + shipping. This alteration, for fly guys, is just common sense.
3 – We are only talking 100-percent cotton shirts here. There are new dyes that work on synthetics, and I will be trying those in the future.
4 – One of these Tulip bottles of dye does one shirt. Purchase more for the kids so they can get involved too. Then, slowly and subtly tell them what a great job they are doing … and voila – you will have them doing all your future dyeing and everything you get for this father’s day will be lovingly tie dyed!


Click on above thumbnails to enlarge.
I will make sure you see what final tee shirts looked like – photographs later.

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Category: Equipment, TIPS

About the Author ()

https://www.shannondrawe.com is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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