In this do it yourself tutorial, you can see how easy it is to create your own enhanced dubbing like Laser Dubbing or other blended dubs. With just a little bit of wool and some Ice dubbing or Angelina fibers, you can create and customize a dubbing that is similar to the Senyo’s Laser Dub. For example, the Hareline version of the black dubbing uses a UV pearl enhancer, but what if you were to use green or blue or red Angelina fibers in the mix. This method is a great way to mix up small batches of dubbing quickly and can lead to countless variations. Hopefully you know someone who knits and has some extra wool around that you can put to use.
This method is also great for mixing and blending dubbing. One of my favorite blends is a seal dubbing mixed about half and half with ice dubbing. Seal dubbing is really buggy looking, but quite coarse and can be hard to dub, but the added ice dub allows the dubbing to noodle easier, and you get a real boost with the extra flash. I also use this method to blend colors of the same type. I use a custom blend that includes black, blue, red and green for my dark stonefly patterns. Don’t forget to write on the bag what each blend is, and the ratio you used of each fiber. That way you can easily recreate the dubbing once you run out.
Once again, fly tyers can enjoy another innovative product from the R&D labs at Flymen Fishing Co . Faux Bucktail is the latest product to hit the shelves and it brings some new choice to the market. The new Faux Bucktail addresses some of the issues found in natural bucktail
“However, as fly tyers, we share in the general frustration of the difficulty of finding quality bucktail with long fibers on a consistent basis. We wanted to create a synthetic fiber with similar features to bucktail and properties that would allow it to be used as a more multi-purpose tying material with improvements over existing non-tapered synthetic fibers.”
The synthetic hairs come in a 6″ length, providing lots of room for even larger hair flies. Most natural bucktail is in the 3-4.5″ range. Tyers have a palate of 12 vibrant colors to choose from. It features a natural-like crinkle in the fibers and tapered tips. The hairs are not hollow and will not flair like the natural bucktail, so this should be taken into consideration when using the Faux Bucktail in place of natural.
Here is a simple baitfish pattern from Flymen below which gives you a nice look at how the material handles on the hook.
My thoughts on the bucktail are that it looks like a promising material to tie with. I’m impressed by the tapered tips, long length, and ease of use, but I think the 6″ length may be wasteful for the needs of most tyers. Tying smaller flies will mean that you have a lot of waste product. I would like to see aa smaller length available down the road, say 4″. Another issue that I believe will pop up is the lack of give in the solid fibers. When using bucktail, the hairs can be compressed and this helps to keep them in place (and can cause the most hollow to flare).
I have not yet had a chance to tie with the Faux Bucktail but will be getting the chance to soon. The material has a lot of potential and I am looking forward to seeing the new fly patterns that emerge with it. If you would like to try it out for yourself or would like some more information, visit the product page on the Flymen Fishing Co. website.
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.