dubbing for fly tying

Do you know what dubbing is?

No, we aren't talking about those movies where the original voices are dubbed. Rather, we're talking about dubbing for fly tying! Fly tying is one of the most popular activities among anglers, but it can be difficult to master the techniques.

One of the most important skills for successful fly tying is the art of dubbing.
Dubbing is the process of using different materials to create a dubbing rope, or loop, which is used when tying flies. This rope, or loop, is what gives the flies their shape and also helps them stay in the water. This mixture consists of natural fur and synthetic hair and materials of various colours and textures.

Natural dubbing is often used for the body of the fly, while synthetic or brightly coloured dubbing is used for attracting elements of the fly to draw the attention of the fish. Different dubbings can be blended together to create unique and effective fly patterns for a variety of fly fishing techniques.

But what's dubbing all about? Why is it important?

Well, the importance of dubbing cannot be overstated, as it is a fundamental part of successful fly tying. It helps to create the right characteristics in the flies needed for successful fishing. Without the right dubbing, flies can be too light, heavy, or misshapen and unable to catch fish. It is also important to use the right materials when dubbing, as different materials can create different effects. For example, using dubbing made of synthetic materials can create a more durable fly that can withstand being in the water for longer periods of time.

In addition, dubbing is also important for fly fishing in terms of presentation. The right dubbing loop can create a realistic look on the fly and make it look more appealing to fish. This can help to attract them to the fly, increasing your chances of success. Dubbing can also be used to create different sizes and shapes in the fly, which can help to target different species of fish.

That said, if you're new to fly-tying and want to learn more about dubbing, you're in luck! Today, were going to talk about natural and synthetic dubbing, sharing a couple of examples from each option and what they offer.

Natural Dubbings

As the name implies, these dubbings are sourced from non-synthetic options like animals and offer some of the best dubbings you can find:

1. Hare Dubbing

The admirable Hare fur is ideal for tying river and still water nymphs, wet flies, and dry flies! It offers a unique shade that can't be reproduced by other dubbing mixtures, making it especially appealing to fly tiers. The dark and coarse fibres imitate the legs and other body parts of the imitated insects, making it the perfect dubbing material. The fur is usually taken from the Hare's body, making it softer than the 'Hare Mask' type or the Hare Ears' type. It is incredibly easy to
apply to the tying thread and is a great, all-purpose dubbing for a variety of fly patterns.

2. Muskrat Dubbing

Muskrat Dubbing is an amazing material for creating lightweight nymphs that fish love to bite. It's made from the fur of water-dwelling muskrats, meaning it's more naturally suited for aquatic environments than terrestrial fur. This dubbing is made up of very short fibres that make it possible to make thin and subtle flies that are perfect for spooky grayling and careful trout. This dubbing is great for low and clear water, where each fly must act as naturally as possible. It also
has the added benefit of being led, making it heavier than other dubbings and ideal for deeper water.

3. Seal Fur Dubbing

The deep lustre and translucence of seal fur dubbing make it a remarkable fly-tying material, as it adds brightness and life to the finished flies. Seals fur is great for still water flies such as Chironomids, Buzzers, Nymphs, Wet Flies, and Dry Flies, and is often blended with other natural and synthetic materials to create a unique effect. The coarse texture of seal fur makes it more difficult to work with, but it more than makes up for this with the results it produces.
Common colours used for still water flies include black, olive, chartreuse, and sunburst.

4. Deer Hair Dubbing

Deer Hair Dubbing is a special type of dubbing made from coarse individual fibres of deer fur. It is only available in natural colours and is best suited for making the bodies of Peeping Caddis patterns, larger dry flies, Goddard Sedge style caddis, and heads of Muddler Minnow trout streamers. The dry flies constructed with this dubbing are unsinkable, making them perfect for dry fly fishing for fish like trout.

5. Rabbit Fur Dubbing

Rabbit Fur Dubbing is a great material for tying flies. It is easy to find and inexpensive, and it comes in a variety of colours. Blending it with coarse or glossy materials like Spectra Dubbing, Microflash Dubbing, or Metallic Dubbing will make your flies even more effective. It is especially good for tying nymphs, wet flies, and small to medium-sized trout streamers, due to its fine structure and good water absorption.

6. American Squirrel Dubbing

This dubbing is made from the fur of American Squirrels, which has both a coarse undercoat and tougher fur fibres. This combination of fibres makes for a unique texture that can be used or a variety of fly patterns, including nymphs, wet flies, chironomids, and emergers. This material is ideal for anglers looking to catch residential rainbow and brown trout from both rivers and reservoirs.

7. Opossum Dubbing

Opossum Dubbing is a type of natural dubbing that is perfect for tying the bodies of river and lake nymphs and wet flies. This medium-coarse fur is easy to manage on the thread, and it can also be used in place of seal fur for lighter chironomids and buzzer flies, making it ideally suited for trout while fishing in still water. The American Opossum mixture is composed of fine undercoat fur fibres and coarser fibres, providing the correct and natural shape when tying the
fly. This material is a must-have for any fly tier, as it is both natural and attractive to fish.

8. Czech Nymph Dubbing

Czech Nymph Dubbing is an ideal option for fly tying, offering a wide selection of colours and a unique combination of natural furs. It is made from a mix of fine undercoat and coarse fibres, making it easy to work with and allowing it to stay firmly on the tying thread. The outcome is a light and natural-looking fly, making it highly attractive to fish. This type of dubbing is especially beneficial for tying Czech Nymphs, but it can be used for other types of wet flies too.

9. Blend Dubbing

In Blend Dubbing, a mixture of natural furs and synthetic fibres is used to create a fly. The natural furs give the fly its main colour shade and denseness, while the synthetic fibres give it an iridescent shine. This type of dubbing is best suited for tying river flies such as Czech Nymphs, modern wet flies, pupas, and dry fly caddis patterns, as well as trout streamers.

Synthetic Dubbings

For those that are a little more conscience and want to use synthetic options, dubbings are available too:

1. Gleamy Dubbing

Gleamy Dubbing is an innovative synthetic material that closely resembles the natural fur of seals. Unlike other dubbing materials, Gleamy Dubbing is a great substitute for seal fur, which is often scarce and expensive. It is highly lustrous and comes in a variety of colours, making it much easier to work with than natural seal fur, allowing tiers to customise the tying thread. Gleamy Dubbing is perfect for tying flies for stillwater nymphs, wet flies, chironomids, buzzers,
lures, and streamers, as well as sea shrimps for sea trout fishing.

2. Spectra Dubbing

Spectra Dubbing is a specialised synthetic material used in fly tying to create attractive, eye-catching features on lures. Even when used in small amounts, it can drastically improve the effectiveness of a fly. It can be used alone or blended with natural dubbing materials to create unique patterns and effects, such as hearts and thoraxes in nymphs or colourful butts in caddis dry flies. This material is a great alternative to more traditional materials such as peacock herls
and can be used to replace them in certain applications.

3. Antron Dubbing

Antron is an extremely adaptable dubbing material that can be utilised to tie a wide assortment of flies, from mayflies, pupae, and nymphs to small trout and perch streamers. It is perfect for creating dubbing mixtures with other synthetic or natural components to produce exciting and unique effects. Antron is translucent in the water and keeps its hue, making it a great choice for

4. Superfine Dubbing

Superfine Dubbing is a type of synthetic material that can be used to create the bodies of all types of flies. It is a very fine, airy material that produces interesting effects when blended with natural dubbings. Adding a small amount of a material like Spectra or Metallic Dubbing can further enhance the effectiveness of the flies.

5. Holographic Dubbing

Holographic Dubbing is an innovative material crafted from the highest quality holographic foil. It is basically a very fine tinsel that can be combined with other components to give them an extra boost of appeal. It is perfect for creating the body of streamers, adding shimmer to nymphs, and forming the heads of wet flies. In fact, the possibilities with this remarkable product are endless!

6. UV-ICE Dubbing

UV-ICE Dubbing is a great dubbing material that has a bright, iridescent sheen due to its high ultraviolet content. The glossy fibres in this blend give flies an extra boost, and even a small amount of this dubbing added to traditional or natural mixtures can make a huge difference in the attractiveness of the fly. It's perfect for creating trigger points like the distinctive 'hearts' of Czech Nymphs, thoraxes of tungsten nymphs, bodies of wet flies, or still water lures. This
dubbing can be used on its own or mixed with other synthetic or natural materials to give an interesting finish. And its 'airy' structure makes it suitable for tying river and lake patterns of artificial flies.

7. Microflash Dubbing

Microflash Dubbing is a special type of dubbing with a brilliant, iridescent shine. It is perfect for tying the most delicate, tiny flies and can be used both in fishing for more cautious and timid fish, as well as white trout fishing on still water. Adding a bit of Microflash Dubbing to natural dubbings can be very effective, or it can be used on its own as a distinct focal point in the form of 'hearts' and thoraxes for all kinds of nymphs, lake lures, and caddis dry flies.

8. Metallic Dubbing

Metallic Dubbing is a special type of fly-tying material that consists of small, metallic strands. It is ideal for blending into an array of different furs and adding a bit of extra sparkle to flies, especially when fishing in murky waters or when targeting recently stocked fish that require more attention-grabbing patterns. Moreover, it can also be used alone as a dubbing material to create heads for wet flies, bodies of nymphs and trout, and smaller streamers for predatory fish.


Fly-tying materials are an important part of any angler's tackle box. With the right selection of materials, you can create a variety of patterns that will attract fish and catch their attention. And, with the various types of dubbing, you can create more eye-catching patterns that are sure to entice fish into biting. From natural to synthetic and flashy to subtle, there is a type of dubbing
that can help you create the perfect fly for any situation.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and fill your fly tying materials box with a bunch of materials, and get tying before you head out for your next fly-fishing activity!

Finesse Fly Tying is your go-to store for a wide range of fly-tying materials from top brands like Ahrex, Whiting, and Semperfli. If you are looking for dubbing, check out what we offer.


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