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David Dodd:  

David Dodd

Fly-Tying Tips

For many fly-tiers the vast amounts of tying material available to us seem almost endless. Consequently the selection of good dubbings, hooks and hackles may seem quite daunting to the beginner. Fortunately there is light at the end of the tunnel. You do not need every dubbing material available, but a general selection will be great value. Dubbing takes up very little space at the tying bench and is relatively inexpensive. Pre-loaded dubbing dispensers are excellent: they assist the fly-tier in organizing dubbing material more efficiently. These are convenient plastic boxes containing a selections of the 12 most popular colours. The following are a few of the most versatile and a good start to any fly-tiers kit.

Superfine Dubbing:

This is one I would not be without. It’s an extra fine dubbing with a smooth texture perfect for slim bodied dries in the medium to tiny range #12 - #24. Very easy to work with.

Hare Tron Dubbing:

A standard favourite for many nymph patterns, Hare-Tron is a blend of rabbit and Antron.

Awesome Possum Dubbing:

This unique blend of possum includes the guard hairs and two Antrons. This provides a mottled effect as well as an iridescent sparkle to the dubbing. This comes in a good range of colours which allow the tier to match the hatch nicely.

Hare’s Ear Plus:

The 12 colours in this selection are more inclined towards imitation. Work with this blend is quite simple and results are excellent as hares guard hair is fairly stiff the dubbing produces a nice spiky profile to the finished fly. This dubbing may by further enhanced by blending such as a small amount of lazerlight.

For many years there was no better material to create a shaggy nymph body than seal’s fur, giving the illusion of bulk whilst allowing some light to pass through the fibre and bring it to life. Fortunately today’s blends and substitutes alleviate the frustrations of sourcing and using this increasingly scarce material.

Natural Rabbit:

The humble rabbit offers a wonderful source of relatively cheap and easily obtainable material. As well as dubbing, the soft mobile nature of rabbit fur makes it a great winging material for a number of lures, smelt patterns and Zonker wings. It can also be used as a substitute hackle for emergers by placing the guard hairs in a dubbing loop. For other natural looking nymph and dun patterns the mottled shades of natural or dyed hare’s fur dubbing are the best choice.

Blends to try:

For tiers who blend their own dubbings, here are two tips:

(1) Cut light brown natural rabbit fur from skin leaving grey under-fur. Blend with orange seal’s fur until a dirty, rusty red. Perfect for red and orange spinners.

(2) Cut white & grey belly fur from rabbint skin. Blend together to obtain a fine soft silver-grey dubbing. Ideal for Adams, midges, grey duns, smelt bodies etc.

Now you have acquired your dubbing materials become familiar with their colours, textures and applications, each will have its own specific characteristics and usage. This will become very important when you have the need to create your own imitations. Have confidence in them and your newly tied creations will in turn maximize your fishing success. Good luck & tight lines.


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