Dubbed bodies and heads are standard fare for our flies. We still tie with chenille and floss and yarn, but dubbing has been and will forever be an essential ingredient in our tasty stew of fly tying materials.
This video offers an action packed look at how easy it can be to make dubbing brushes with the Jade River Turbo Dubbing Block. This is a new product offered by our friends at Hareline Dubbin for the 2011-2012 season.
What is a Dubbing Brush? Think about a piece of chenille about 6 or 7 inches long. Lay it out on your fly tying bench. A dubbing brush is an analog to your piece of chenille, only it is composed of your dubbing material of choice (Ice Dub, STS, Rabbit Fur, Arctic Fox Tail and so on). You can add short sections of Krystal Flash, Flashabou, Rubber legs, Marabou Fibers, Pheasant tail fibers, and any special additive to make the Dubbing Brush of your choice. Instead of thread, our Dubbing Brushes typically employ a core of wire, usually copper but sometimes stainless steel. The wire core keeps the Dubbing Brush intact and allows it to lay straight and neat in a pile or in a baggie – ready for use at your convenience. Imagine now, twenty or so nice straight dubbing brushes laid out on your bench. Imagine your dubbing brushes in any single color or color combination, and you have a very nice supply of body materials, a stash that will make your fly tying more efficient.
Our experience with the Jade River Turbo dubbing Block is that it can take a little practice spreading an appropriate amount of dubbing material on the base wire. Too much makes the brush lumpy – too little allows the wire core to show through (not necessarily a bad thing).
Hareline Hareline Ice Dub is super easy to use with the Jade River Turbo Dubbing block, and and Hareline STS Trilobal Dub is also a favorite, although it requires a little more finesse than the Ice Dub. Creating a nice pile of fuzzy dubbing brushes has proven to be a great time saver when tying flies like Scott Howell’s Squidro, and it has also served us well tying other patterns of late, like Jeff Hickman’s Flash Taco.
Lake Nymph fly tyers should note the possibility of creating dubbing bushes with relatively sparse, long, whispy materials and allowing the wire core to show through liberally. Using red copper wire with brushes like these has great potential for tying scuds and lake leeches.
Sparse summer steelhead flies, too, should benefit from the wire show-through technique to make buggy, slim, bodies with just a hint of gold, copper, red, green, or purple wire showing through. Exciting possibilities.
Look out, you slightly crazy fly tyers out there. It is so much fun making these brushes that you might be tempted to spin up a hundred at a time. Just sayin.’