Yep, I have been a fan of custom blending for roughly forty of my fifty or so years tying flies. That first decade was light on blending dubbing because I was mostly using Mohlon Yarn for fly bodies and had no need to blend anything. That was long before I was tying Hare’s Ears Nymphs too.
Since the 1980s, however, custom blends of dubbing have been a big part of both trout and steelhead flies I was tying. Original blends for the Green Rock Worm and Steelhead Simplicity are prime examples.
The little coffee grinder was my tool of choice for most of that time, although in the beginning I did use Poly Rosborough’s method of mixing hair in soapy water and then drying it to make a blend. Quite a mess if I remember properly.
Now my friends at Hareline Dubbin of Monroe Oregon have released a new tool kit for custom dubbing that I believe surpasses the coffee grinder. I liked the looks of the gizmo when I first saw the product release sheet and ordered one immediately. Today, I ripped open the package and put it to work. My young son Jackson read the instructions to me as I began to blend, and hastily took a few photos along the way.
The instructions are simple. Slap the dubbing on the big comb. Stoke against the grain to blend. Run the small comb with the grain of the big one to release the material. Repeat several times.
I started right out with my signature blend of Hareline STS colors that compose the Stargate Blue Steelhead Simplicity. The results were perfect and faster than I could have achieved with a coffee grinder.
The Kit includes a sample of dubbings as shown, and I added a pinch of Steelie blue Ice Dub to my blend and love the results. Normally, the long fibers of this metallic blue Ice Dub would need to be cut or else risk tangling in the coffee grinder, but the comb gave me a perfect blend immediately.
Next thing I did was to tie one of my favorite traditional summer steelhead flies with this fresh batch of dubbing. Here is my fly.
Hareline’s Blend Your own Custom Dubbing Kit is a great product, highly recommended for dubbing freaks who want the perfectly unique blend no one else has ever imagined. And yes, it is a HUGE IMPROVEMENT over the coffee grinder.
Jay Nicholas, February 2015