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Make Your Own

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
I have read about people making their own dubbing. I have also seen recipes for it on the net. I was in a "thrift shop" type store and ran onto several small pieces of craft and rug yarn. While I was looking at this material, the manager of the store came by and asked me what I would do with it. When I told her that I would mix it up to make fishing flies she was intrigued. She sold me all the pieces for $1.00. While in the store I saw a couple of pet brushes also and got those to mix the dubbing up with.

I went back to my tying room and set about cutting up the pieces of yarn. I decided to start with a small batch. I would cut 6 to 8 pieces of the brighter colors and did about twenty of the brown and 30 of the black yarn.

I picked up some of the yarn and started brushing it across one of the pet brushed and then pull it the other way. I quickly figured out that it would probably be quicker it I undid the yarn so each strand was separate. This did make it go faster.

I have tried doing this in a blender and it did not work for me. I ended up with a nice mat that was twisted together and around the blades in the blender. The colors did not mix at all. I am not sure what I did, but this is a better method for me.

After I had pulled the strand apart and mixed it up, I thought it was still too bright, so I added more brown to the mixture and a little black also. Now it looked better. It was time to tie a fly or two with this and see if it worked.

I decided to go with a nymph type of pattern. I had wanted to do some experiments anyway. I was not sure if legs helped on a Pheasant Tail Nymph or not. I would tie some of them both ways with this material and see if it made any difference.

I used size 10, 12, and 14 hooks. Some had bead heads and some did not. I used pheasant tail (PT) barbs for the tail. I rope dubbed the abdomen with my dubbing. I tied in pheasant tail barbs for the wing case. I dubbed the thorax with more dubbing and then pulled the wing case over.

For the ones with legs, after tying off the wing case I would pull the PT barbs down on each side of the hook and pull the barbs back toward the barb a little. I then wrapped thread over them again and tied the fly off. I then cut each PT barb with my fingernails and not scissors. I just like the way the legs look then. They are not as flat as when cut with the scissors.

I went out to the lake over my lunch hour to do some experimenting. I tied on one fly on each pole. One with legs and the other without. I would make five casts with one rod and then five casts with the other rod. I caught bass, crappie, green sunfish and bluegills on these flies. I am not sure that one worked better than the other. I will keep experimenting with these.

The fun thing was that I caught fish on a fly that I tied, with the dubbing I made, and on a rod that I built. I will admit that it made me feel good that this dubbing mixture worked. My wife did tell me that I had to stay out of her yarn. She could see it all disappearing.

I hope you can get out on the water. ~ Rick

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