Posts Tagged ‘LaFontaine Touch Dubbing


Fly Tying: Caddis Pupalicious II

Ok, I have these OCD moments that fixate me upon some facet of tying. Over the years: peacock, ostrich, CDC, Ice Dub, craft store boas. Of late, deer hair collars for legs/antenna/wings on Caddis Pupa/Adult patterns. I first saw this over on Westfly when Jeff Morgan was twist dubbing deer hair. I have since become increasingly fascinated with the possibilities.

This is a simple, beginner’s pattern “guaranteed” to produce. Ok, I had to throw in that sort of thing. But, I instinctively do know this is a worthy pattern for rivers or lakes. Remember presentation is critical to any pattern: is this pattern being dredged in riffles, swung and lifted up through the water column, diving down to lay eggs? 

Regardless, here is how you tie it: The hook can range from a size 10 to 16, given the materials used; they take up space so a smallish hook in not practical. Here it is a size 12, 2xl shank, nymph hook. The thread  used was black 8/0. I wrapped a layer of lead onto the shank at the mid point, about 6 wraps and overlaid those wraps with thread, then head cement.

Then I created a dubbing loop and inserted strands of a synthetic dubbing material between the thread loop. The loop was spun into a dubbing noodle and then wrapped up the shank like a small rope. About two thirds of the way up the hook shank (the abdomen area), I stopped and tied off the dubbing noodle, removing the remainder.

The thorax/head area remained. I formed another dubbing loop and applied tacky wax. I took pieces of cut deer hair, black in color, and touched dubbed (Gary LaFontaine concept) them to the tacky thread loop. The dubbing crook is carefully spun and the deer hair is trapped between the tightening loop. One again a few wraps of the dubbing (deer hair this time) are wrapped in the thorax area. Tie off the extra upon reaching the head area and cut. Then form a thread head and finish. Mix up the body colors to match the various Caddis in your waters, the deer hair could be black, brown, or even natural. 


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.

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