Fly tying hair can be broken into two main categories: Big Game and Small Game. Big Game animals include; Elk, Deer, Bear, Caribou, Moose, Antelope. Small game animals include; Fox, Squirrel, Rabbit, Skunk, Badger, Woodchuck, Mole, Nutria, Beaver, Muskrat, Mink.
Most Big Game animal hair is used for winging materials. Some is hollow and very buoyant, while others are solid fibers, or mostly solid fibers that are best suited to wet flies. Hollow big game hairs are often used for body materials as well. When spun or stacked, then clipped to shape, the result is a high-floating fly – most often seen in hopper patterns, muddler heads, bass poppers and steelhead skaters or bombers.
Dubbing can be a mystery to the beginner fly tier. It was for me! You see the little packages of fuzzy stuff at the fly shop, but you’re not quite sure that it’s for. You continue down the row of bins and grab some chenille, floss, yarn or other body product and go about your business. Then one day you take a class, watch a video, read a book or are otherwise exposed to the wonderful world of natural fur and synthetic dubbing products. Your choice of flies to tie becomes endless!
There are a number of ways to utilize dubbing, but basically what you’re trying to accomplish is a way to bind the fur or synthetic product to the tying thread so that it can be wrapped around the hook. There is the “touch” method, loop methods, pre-made ropes and brushes, twist and wrap, etc. etc. Practice makes perfect and soon you’re dubbing like a master!