Posts Tagged ‘dubbing technique


Fly Tying: Touch Dubbing (A Little Dab Will Do You)

Dubbing….whether you twist it on the thread, or position the dubbing between the two strands of a dubbing loop or even split the thread and insert strands of dubbing….then wrap the dubbing onto the shank….it produces that fibrous look that suggests life in the water. But, there is another dubbing technique, touch dubbing, that I have used for years (LaFontaine technique). It creates a fibrous, buggy body. I use it for the thorax, but you could dub and entire shank with it.


Touch Dubbing onto Dubbing Loop (jrefsa pic)

A good, tacky wax is key, which is applied to your thread. Don’t overdo it with gobs of wax on the thread, which then have to be removed. Your impulse will be to use your finger tips…don’t. Use a small piece of paper towel. One of the aggravators of tying is wax on your fingers and dubbing attached to you and not the thread. Also, be forewarned that  the dubbing wax stick can be knocked over and its attractive/magnet qualities are legendary. All manner of dubbing, thread, marabou….all the fly tying detritus on your work station will find that wax stick tip…trust me. If it does get globbed up with too much gunk, gently wipe the tip with a paper towel to skim off the accumulated fuzz.

Back to touch dubbing, the tutorials suffice. Don’t overdo the dubbing. Whether you touch dub to a single strand of tying thread or a dubbing loop, keep it light. After you wrap the dubbing, use an old toothbrush or velcro on a popsicle stick and brush out any stray strands of dubbing. Remember just a touch will do. You are striving for a halo, shroud, transparency over the hook shank or a sub-body already wrapped onto the shank.


Fly Tying (Dubbing’s Master’s Degree)

The Goat by SwittersB

The Goat is a stillwater pattern I designed as a dragon fly nymph. The fly was tied on a size 8 hook. It is offered here as a lead in for the dubbed body. The UKFlyDressing site (ScotFly) offers up an excellent summary of all things dubbing.  I also highlighted this same excellent dubbing link for the Casual Dress pattern.


Fly Tying Casual Dress (Polly Rosborough Classic)

I did not recently tie these flies. They are part of a batch tied several years ago. I have always thought this Rosborough fly pattern to be his best creation. I have rarely deviated from the gray body, although you so easily could. I have used different body materials besides the called for Muskrat fur (and guard hairs). This is a good example of a ‘classic’ pattern (at least in the Western U.S.) that has evolved away from natural furs to synthetic components. The tail and dubbed/strung collar  are the guard hairs from a patch of Muskrat fur. Today, I would opt for the simpler brown hackle barbs of a hen feather for the tail and the collar. The body has been tied with the underfur dubbing of the Muskrat…even today one nice dubbing material. But, again, synthetics are available too..and, I have even used cat (Kudra the Cat) fur with good results, although it does not seem to have the density for larger flies. The very appealing Ostrich Herl at the thorax is a favorite of mine for a wound body (abdomen-gills or thorax-legs) as well as extended tails (The Orb). Research Polly Rosborough or better yet buy his simple little book Fuzzy Nymphs. Don’t discount the information as too simplistic or too old because of the older techniques shown. This Central Oregon legend was a bug stalker. He set the tone for the more sophisticated Rick Hafele and Dave Hughes. (The Complete Book of Western Hatches).

Thread: 6/0 to 8/0 black or red (if weighted shank)

Hook: Size 10-14  (2-3 xl), nymph hook

Tail: Muskrat fur guard hairs or brown hackle barbules

Abdomen: Dubbed Gray Muskrat or alternative synthetic dubbing

Thorax Collar: Muskrat Fur Guard hairs or brown hackle barbs inserted into dubbing loop and wound

Thorax between eye and collar: Black Ostrich Herl

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April 2020

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