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ACTION DUBBING STORY

 

My first attempt at tying flies was way back in the mid-fifties, right after I got out of the service. I had a couple of good tutors, Carl Richards and Ernie Schweibert. Not that I began to approach their degree of efficiency, but it was great to have such good teachers. Back in those days, the most popular dubbing available was rabbit. To keep my cost down, I asked my hunting friends to save all the bunny tails for me. Then I’d dye them all the various basic colors, olive, brown, yellow, etc, and, if you’re familiar with rabbit rumps, you’d get quite a variety of shades from dark on top to light on bottom that way, I’d get every color in the rainbow, saving the expense of buying so many packs of dubbing.

For almost 40 years, the dubbing market changed very little, which is quite surprising since there were drastic developments in other fly fishing products, rods, reels, lines and what I call “shinney” fly tying products, such as crystal flash and Glow-In-The Dark materials.

Soon after the original version of “Selective Trout” was published, Carl and I started thinking about the possibility of mixing the legs right in with the dubbing. I remember many occasions sitting up all night in his cabin on the North Branch of the Ausable trying to figure out how to do it. Unfortunately he passed on, losing the most talented combination Tyer/Angler the world of Fly Fishing has ever seen.

I thought my qwest for “legs in the dubbing” was over. When I moved to Montana and met Doug Brewer who is undoubtedly the most knowledgeable fly tying materials individual I’ve ever met - and - he lives right up the road from me here in western Montana. Plus, he’s a fantastic fly tyer and throws one of the prettiest loops you’ll ever see. Oh, I almost forgot, he had all the equipment, and know - how, to make the dubbing we need. In 2000, we mixed up the first batch of dubbing with legs, using sheared rabbit and rubber Mini Legs. This became known as Rub-A-Dub Dubbing. The following year, the next generation was rabbit with rubber micro Legs and was called Generation X Dubbing. A couple years later Peacock Plus was invented using synthetic legs, which we call Wigglys, making a Peacock - Looking material.

A few months later, the combination of 2 sizes of legs into a Peacock Style dubbing was born. It is called Peacock Plus Big Daddy. Then, by combining 6 Different color of legs, we developed a gorgeous dubbing we call Super Mix.

Over the next couple years, in quick order, we came out with GX-Treme, Triple Threat, SSS, Sea Dragon, Mega Dubbing (my favorite) and are working on a new one to be called Kraken Dubbing. All of which have different length and color of Wigglys.

The addition of Legs gives more movement than dubbing with dubbing fibers only. The action of the legs in still water is very noticeable. It comes alive instantly. The contrasting leg colors and even the matching leg colors enhances and changes the overall color appearance of the base dubbing and is that much more visible in the water. You can change the color appearance of the dubbing with the addition of different leg colors. It can be very dramatic and exciting!

These styles of dubbing are easy to use - dub by hand, dubbing loop, dubbing brushes or stack dubbing. Using the dubbing with longer legs can eliminate the use for saddle hackle and chenille on Woolly Bugger style flies with the added bonus of durability and the unlimited color combinations of legs and dubbing within each fly, makes superb tails on nymphs and streamers as the movement is outstanding. Makes Matuka and Zonker style flies with different colors of leg and dubbing on the same fly. Color combinations are endless.

Articulated Flies, which are the current rage, are much more practical to tie with these types of dubbing. Back in the late 60‘s and 70‘s, Carl and I tied them for Steelhead, Large Trout and Pike. All we had was Marabou, Schlappen, Herl and a few other natural materials. Not only did those flies lack durability but they really didn’t have the action the new dubbing’s have. The new Wigglys have incredible movement in the water!

These types of dubbing open up a whole new world of fly tying and fly fishing to all fly tyers and fly fishers alike. It is not narrow focused on a certain fly size or type of tying.

 

 

 

 

 


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