Driggs/Jackson area fly fishing guide Boots Allen ties up his Elk Liver Nymph fly pattern. I really love the finished look of this little nymph, but if you don’t have access to creating dubbing brushes, you can use a simple dubbing loop to get the job done. The result is a very mottled looking nymph with a decent amount of flash.
Elk River Nymph Fly Pattern Recipe
Hook: Dai Riki 700 #10
Bead: Brass bead
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Black ostrich herl
Abdomen: Wire dubbing brush (crystal flash ep fiber micro rubber legs)
Wingcase: Crinkle mirror flash – rootbeer + epoxy
Thorax: Ice Dubbing Bloody Mary (Black, red, purple, maroon)
Youtube: The Weekly Fly
Making your own dubbing is something most fly tyers want to try out. It’s not just for economical reasons, but more for the desire to get a blend with certain properties. I use quite a bit of fox hair in the patterns I tie for clients. I will sometime save the underfur to create a custom blend which matches the hair. The underfur on it’s own is dull, but by adding a little bit of UV pearl ice dubbing, some seal or both, I can get a customized mixture with the properties I’m after.
Cheech uses a beard trimmer to quickly get the hair off of a pelt, and mixes the hair with other dubbing in a coffee grinder. There are a few different methods of mixing the dubbing such as the hair dryer method, water jar method, coffee grinder method, compressed air, pet grooming combs, Hareline dubbing mixer and hand mixing. Which one you use depends somewhat on the length of the fibers you plan on combining and the type of fibers.
I usually mix up more than needed, and package the extra into a ziplock bag. Make sure that you keep track of the ratios that you blend together so that if you need to mix up more material in the future, you won’t have to guess.
Specific to this video is the use of the beard trimmer. I have to admit that I’m also struggled getting the hair off the pelt in any quantity, and will be getting a trimmer to use for the tying table. I really love the idea. Cheech also shows how to match the fiber size, an important detail that will ensure you get a nice even blend. Have any other tips on blending dubbing? Let us know in the comments.
Hareline Dubbin’s Custom Dubb Kit
Compressed Air Dubbing Mix
Youtube Channel: Fly Fish Food
Youtube Video: DIY Dubbing
You can put away the coffee grinders, compressed air and hair driers, Hareline Dubbin now has a kit for the ever adventurous fly tyer with their Custom Dubbing Kit. I’ve been blending my own dubbing for years simply by selecting a few strands of this and that and mixing by hand, but it is only good for a small batch, and hard to recreate. The Custom Dubbing Kit comes with a selection of dubbing, instructions, a carding brush and a carding plate (dubbing board). This is perfect for mixing up about a bags worth of blends at a time, and it allows you to create a consistent blend with materials distributed evenly throughout the dubbing. If you need more, I suggest investing in a carding drum and be sure to weight out the components and write them down so that they can be re-created down the road. Brian Wise has posted a short video about the kit and shares some ideas on what to blend and how to do it. Mix in a little ice dub with wool, make a custom blend of yellow, blue red and black for your favorite stonefly pattern or even add rubber legs (Shaggy Dub) into the mix. Save the underfur from your fox tails to blend into a killer dubbing.
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