I think it would be good to collaborate on the easiest way to incorporate dubbing loops into flies.
I will start by saying that I think loops work best with dubbing materials that have medium to short length fibers. An example of a long-fibered dubbing that I would not work well are "super-fine" and the pure Antron dubbing that wapsi sells.
I think the easiest way is to dub as much dubbing material as possible onto a single strand, attach the loop tool at the bottom of that dubbing, make the loop, twist, and pick it out with velcro.
If you want a fly that is more sparse, but still has the scraggly strands sticking out, you can use the same method but just with less dubbing.
I personally like my "Dubbit" tool, but the above method would work just as well with a coat hanger bent into shape. After cutting the desired length of coat hanger, you'll want to use a file to remove the shapr spots that could cut the thread. The opposite end of that coat hanger is useful for working with epoxy as well.
I love using dubbing loops on all sorts of flies and am contantly working on new ways to use them to improve existing patterns. My latest favorite uses Orvis new steelhead spectra dubbing in prismatic silver or gold spun in a loop to take the place of the deer hair head on a conehead muddler. The dubbing pushes just as much water as the deer hair did, but doesn't impede the sink rate of the fly like deer hair does.
Guess it depends on the size of fly and the thickness of the body you're seeking. Many times, I'll spin the thread flat and split the thread and add dubing directly into it, then spin it back to trap the fibers (size 14 and smaller flies). Yep, I do still use Danville Flymaster and Champion Silk thread at times!
If I'm tying a bulky nymph, like a stone, sometimes I'll use a fine copper wire for my loop, apply a tacky wax and spread the dubbing through the loop, then spin it. This adds a bit of weight and also toughens the fly,helping the buggy dubbing stay put- works well when you're blending fur and synthetic or natural fibers.
For salmon/steelie flies where I want more open/translucent fibers in a dubbed thorax, I'll tie in and use a thread loop of a color that compliments the dubbing then "fold" the fibers over onto one side of the loop before wrapping it- this makes it easier to pick out or brush the fibers and then if necessary, you can trim them to shape.
I've used any number of dubbing tools, I find the Dubbit tool too long and a bit awkward,a torpedo shaped sinker with an opened loop works well, the DynaKing dubbing whirl is pretty convienient, but my favorite is the old original style Cal Bird dubbing tool... the one they sell now is sorta flimsy, but if you can find an old one they're nice. As for a pick/brush, I use a .22 cal gun barrel brush for larger, heavier flies and a tool I got from my dentist that's used for cleaning teeth for small flies.
And yeah... I have a dedicated dubbing blender (aka coffee grinder) and if I'm making a LARGE batch of dubbing for tying stone fly nymphs by the dozen, I have a dedicated blender and I do the "mix materials with water, add into blender, pour through a strainer, allow to dry on a paper towel" deal... I know, I know... OLD SCHOOL =)
Some neat tips. Thanks. One of the tools that my tying instructor suggested was the "Dubbit" tool.
Another method that we used recently was "touch" dubbing. It wasn't real easy to get the effect we wanted. I still haven't bought the super tacky dubbing stick to make it work properly.
Some good advice here . . . any suggestions for using dubbing tools for really small flies (22x & smaller)?
I stopped messing with real bodies on tiny flies awhile back. I just make the bodies with whatever silk I am tying with. Crude I know but they seemed to work fine and were much easier to make.
As for dubbing bodies; even those thick bodies on my steelhead flies are made with a single strand of tying thread and a generous rubbing of Overtons Wonder Wax. Crude I know but I have been twisting hair and fur unto a single strand with wax applied since I tied my first Hare's Ear Nymph and I still do it the same way.
I have often referred to myself as both a dinosaur and a caveman in regard to keeping up with new trends in fishing and tying. I know I am missing the boat sometimes but I also am the Grand Imperial Poohbah of the If it ain't broke, don't fix it club.
stimmy7, you can use the blender with the plastic blades it comes with or if its only for dubbing you can just file the sharp edge off then there is no messing with water, I have a food processor like this for blending huge amounts of fur and a baby one for doing up to one pac of fur (the big one can do a whole pelt) altho I sell dubbing so can justify it too my better half
Fly2fish, you can get super fine for wee ones this is what I use for klinks
I couldnt get a dubbit tool the guys in the store looked at me funny and diddnt get it
Now I just use a pin with an open loop at the end for spinning and it works just fine still use valcrove tho
My best success has been with the integrated loop as cliff lays out in the opening post. The same process works quite well for spinning fur hackles as descriped in Dave Hughes book 'wet flys'. In fact I have often used the fur hackle (usually pine squirrel) as the thorax on many of my wet flies.....basically it's an under hackle and then I use a regular soft hackle over the top.