Sunday, November 17, 2013

Some Tips on Working with Dubbing

I have been asked many times by other anglers and I find myself asking the same question every time I sit at the vice, what can I do to better my tying and continue to develop my flies; it can be a frustrating question at times and the answer is different for every pattern. But there is one area that I have been focusing on, adding to and developing my dubbing by mixing it to achieve desired looks and movement from it.
Often the dubbing can be a bit overlooked by ribs, body hackles and the like, especially in lough style tying, where by working the dubbing through the dressing and by using mixed dubbings can help create very attractive and full bodied flies that work well with and in the water. I spend a good bit of time mixing dubbings to create different and sometimes effective changes to patterns, then by brushing them out at different stages or applying them in different ways to the hook I tend to gain more confidence in the fly which also I feel is a very important component of fishing the fly effectively.
Spending a week with some Polish fly dressers several years ago I saw them making all their own dubbings and how effectively their methods enhanced their flies, I began to do the same and have continued to do so till today for some of my dubbing.  I am always on the look out to buy packets of different and unusual dubbings from different places and when I am tying a fly I'll mix the different materials to get my desired look from that fly. Also buying and dying wool's can be a good source to experiment with, mixing dubbing and getting different looks to your flies; chop them up, blend them and  mixing them through with other materials you can create wonderful colours and textures.
There is a few things that will help you achieve unique colours and textures in dubbing and dressings, two of the most important tools you will need you won't find in any fly-tying shop and they are:
A Tooth Brush

This tooth brush has brushed out thousands of flies for me and remains one of the most important tools on my desk. You must trim down the fibers as seen this allows you to have short hard bristles to the front to dig out the dubbing and longer ones at the back to drag the dubbin fibers in the right direction giving you what I call the fishy look to the fly. Brushing the body at several stages while making the fly gives you that nice folded back look on your hackles and draws out the fibers of dubbing out through the hackle or rib. Some tiers also use a stick with some velcro stuck to it for this brush but I do find the trimmed back brush digs deeper into the body. But you do want to make sure your dubbing is tied in well and maybe even spun onto the hook so when you are brushing it out you don't expose the under body.

A Coffee Blender
This device is the best way to mix dubbing, if I am mixing up Hares ear dubbing I trim the hare and put it into the blender I use different parts of the mask to achieve the tone I am looking for, then I might add in some other synthetic dubbing like Hends UV Ice or spectra Dubbing and blend it all up, if it does not turn out right then I just add more of either dubbing till I get it right. 
As you can see from this picture i have three different tones and textures of hare dubbing from the same mask depending on how I have mixed it and where I have trimmed it from the different parts of the hares mask and added in some synthetic materials to enhance some of the dubbing. 
The blender is also very important for mixing up your wool's you must cut it up into lengths, short sections will give you a fine dubbing and long sections will achieve a more course texture, once blended up you can add in other products to give the required effect. 

Point to note the blender won't cut the dubbing but if you blend it for too long it can heat up so its worth doing the blending in short bursts. Its really worth trying different stuff in the blender like Glo-brite and see what you get, one of my favorite dubbings is red egg yarn cut up and add in UV Ice dubbing, I use this in a lot of flies for hot spots, bodies, tags and anywhere else I feel it will be effective and trout love it.
Here you can see how brushing out and using the different Hares ears dubbing in this nymph has created a real fishy and scraggy look that looks really natural when in the water and more importantly attractive to fish.
I am always on the look out for different materials that I can cut up and blend into or with other furs and hairs to create unique looking dubbings for my flies, this can include carpets and rugs. But I can't over state the importance of the tooth brush and brushing your dubbings out to give your fly's extra life.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any comments or questions just drop me a line below, also if you would like to see what post I am doing next  just sign in and follow this blog. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. Found an article in one of my old magazines the other day where the guy uses 2 fine wire pet hair brushes to mix his dubbing, he claims that it does not chop up the dubbing as much as a coffee grinder.

    http://www.kiene.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-9514.html ...one reference .....