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Thread: Dubbing Rant

  1. #1

    Default Dubbing Rant

    So I've been tying flies for 25 years plus. Mostly warm and saltwater in sizes 8 to 3/0. I never had much need to Dub bodies on flies and when I did, I mostly just substituted in strung material.
    So this year I started tying more trout flies and some more intricate warm/salt patterns that involve dubbing. Problem is that despite trying all kinds of natural and synthetic dubbings, several threads, and 3 different wax's (plus spit!) I just suck at getting a dubbing rope to form AROUND my thread. My dubbing seems to form parallel to the thread and unevenly. I just can't get any of it to cooperate unless I make a loop ( which I do for bulkier flies).
    I'm watching some You tube video's on the topic but so far, I'm still all thumbs. Any advice on why my dubbing won't go where I want it?
    I've got all winter to work on it !

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dubbing Rant

    I am kind of new to tying and the biggest mistake I make is using too much dubbing, less is more. Also, the kind of dubbing makes a difference some are just tougher to dub.

    Bill

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Dubbing Rant

    You have to get the dubbing material pinched between the thread & your hook shank. You should have made a good thread base first. You can twist the dubbing all day & night & never get it to form a rope if you're not anchoring it at the hook. It's not just the matter of twisting it around the thread.

    I don't dub a lot of flies either and when I do have some to tie, it's with rabbit fur based dubbing much of the time. What brownbass said is true, they're not all the same, so you have to work with it and get to know what it's going to do & not do.

    Anyway, when I dub a body, I get the rope started and pull & add materials as I need as I wrap it along the hook. The tighter the twist the more it's going to look like a rope. The end result depends on the type of material and as I said I use rabbit fur mostly, and how much twist you put in it. Beyond that, it's a skill that needs to be developed thru practice.

    I often have to try several before I get them how I want them to look, simply because I don't tie with dubbing a lot. I've dubbed hundreds of fly bodies, but spread out over many years and I need to relearn some of it as I go.

    The trick is getting it started, which often only takes one turn of the thread and end of the materials. So jam a little of the dubbing up in there between the thread and the hook, take a turn & you should be able to get the rope going. You also have to learn to keep twisting to maintain the rope or like a rope it's going to try to untwist if you let the tension off and then you're back where you started. Add as needed and keep it as even as you can along the thread. You should be able to make the body any shape you want.

    BTW, this has to be done with tension on your thread, from your bobbin hanging. It's like wrapping a body rib or other body material in that tension has to be maintained or it's not going to work well.
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Dubbing Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by sixwtslinger View Post
    So I've been tying flies for 25 years plus. Mostly warm and saltwater in sizes 8 to 3/0. I never had much need to Dub bodies on flies and when I did, I mostly just substituted in strung material.
    So this year I started tying more trout flies and some more intricate warm/salt patterns that involve dubbing. Problem is that despite trying all kinds of natural and synthetic dubbings, several threads, and 3 different wax's (plus spit!) I just suck at getting a dubbing rope to form AROUND my thread. My dubbing seems to form parallel to the thread and unevenly. I just can't get any of it to cooperate unless I make a loop ( which I do for bulkier flies).
    I'm watching some You tube video's on the topic but so far, I'm still all thumbs. Any advice on why my dubbing won't go where I want it?
    I've got all winter to work on it !
    The problem you are having is because the dubbing rope is NOT attached to the tying thread and keeps spinning around the thread. Most fly tiers try to use dubbing wax to get the dubbing to stick but as you will find out as I describe the method I use, the wax prevents the tier from creating a looser or tighter body that you can control as you tie to form a tapered body. You do NOT need to use dubbing wax with this method and you will get neat tapered bodies!!

    I wrote about how I dub dry fly bodies and it was published in Fly Tyer Magazine in 2002.

    I have never seen this method described anywhere else and perhaps it is time to describe it again. I suggest you try this technique.

    Here is what I wrote:

    Noted Wisconsin fly tyer Royce Dam - FFF's 1994 Buz Buszek Award Winner taught me the single most helpful dubbing technique I have ever learned.

    "The International Federation of Fly Fishers’ Buz Buszek Fly Tying Award is the most prestigious award in the world of fly tying."

    Fly Tying Awards

    Royce Dam is the finest fly tier I have ever met and his wax-less technique is the easiest way to dub dry fly bodies that I know of. I’d like to pass it on. The directions are for a right-handed tyer. Lefties will need to make the reversal.

    I am assuming that you wrap thread around the hook in the normal fashion by wrapping away from yourself over the top of the hook and then back underneath, and so on. Wrap the hook with thread, tie in a tail and take the tread back to the back of the hook so that you are ready to dub the body. Do not wax the thread.

    For a right-hander, dub the fur clockwise on the thread as seen from the top of the hook. The clockwise direction is critical, as you will see later. Taper the dubbing so that you have a fine dubbing tip at the top of the thread. Unwrap one or two wraps of thread from the tie in point and push the dubbing up the thread so that the fine point of dubbing is at the tie in point. If you wax the thread, the dubbing will stick to the thread, and it will be difficult to advance it up the thread to the tie in point.

    Take one or two wraps of thread to fix the tip of dubbing at the tie in point. This wrap traps the end of the dubbing so that is cannot spin free. Grasp the dubbing below the tie in point and dub/twist it clockwise on the thread. It should spin around the thread getting tighter and tighter since the tip is fixed under the first wrap. Gradually work down the dubbing, twisting as you go to form the dubbing noodle shape and taper you want.

    Hold on to the bottom of the dubbing so that it cannot untwist. Begin wrapping your dubbing forward on the hook. With each wrap of the thread, the dubbing and thread will twist tighter and tighter so that you end up with a very tight, compact and tapered body. If the dubbing noodle is getting too tight and thin you can let it untwist and push more dubbing up the thread until you get the thickness you want.

    The wax-less technique takes advantages of the fact that as you wind the dubbing around the hook shank, you introduce an additional twist into the dubbing. The dubbing twists one revolution for each wrap. The secret to forming a tightly dubbed body is to use this additional twisting to your advantage.

    For nymphs allow the dubbing to untwist as you wrap to get just the amount of bugginess rather than a tight compact body.

    You can precisely control the diameter of the dubbing as you wind. Without wax you can push the dubbing up the thread to widen the dubbing noodle or pull down to narrow the dubbing. Or you can twisting tighter if you used too much dubbing to narrow the body or allowing it to untwist to widen it. By using these two additional techniques you get exactly the tapered body you want.

    As you use this method, you will learn how much dubbing to place on the thread for the size fly you re tying and there will be no need to add or remove dubbing as you wrap.

    Here is another general tutorial about dubbing that you should read:

    Fly Tying: A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial – the limp cobra
    Regards,

    Silver



    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Dubbing Rant

    I don't see it being a rope unless you use a loop. But the terms can be relatively vague and subjective. The wax, imo, is used for touch dubbing short fine stuff and replaces the twisting, it's working against you if you are twist dubbing as Silver Creek points out and Marc Fauvet illustrates in his tutorial that Silver linked.
    I've done basically what Silver described, trapping that fine pointed end with a couple wraps , since soon after I started tying in the late '70s and thought that I had read that somewhere, musta been an accident that I did it the first time, but it does just what he said in providing you control. The link Silver provides is probably the best dubbing tutorial I've seen.
    brownbass makes an excellent point in saying less is better. It used to be "a little dab will do"
    What ever you think is a right sized pinch to dub with put about 2/3 of it back and splay the remainder out til it resembles a spiderweb to start wrapping. I watched a lady tyer at a show in Branson recently whose dubbed thread was no bigger than a strand of floss wrap some very nice bodies, adding dub as needed.
    In recent years I've used a lot more yarn than dubbing.

  9. #6

    Default Re: Dubbing Rant

    I second what brownbass pointed out. I do not load a lot of dubbing on the thread. You can build the taper with the amount of turns you take around the book shank. I use wondered on the thread. There are times the dubbing will not spin properly on the thread. When that happens i find a tiny amount of dubbing wax on my finger does the trick.

  10. #7
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    Default Re: Dubbing Rant

    The tutorial Silver posted is outstanding. A critical skill that must be mastered if you're going to tie trout flies with a true professional appearance.

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  12. #8
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    Default Re: Dubbing Rant



    Norm makes it look so easy with his Norvise, that you may think you need to have one too...

    Itís really is pretty slick!

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  14. #9

    Default Re: Dubbing Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by dillon View Post


    Norm makes it look so easy with his Norvise, that you may think you need to have one too...

    It’s really is pretty slick!
    I tried that vise once and couldn't adjust to it. Guess I'm just an old renzetti guy and unwilling to adjust. Slick how that dubbing goes on the thread though.
    Btw, is it just me or does Norm's voice remind you of Bob Ross (the famous painter from PBS) while he spins his happy little dubbing noodle :-)

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