Tie Talk: How (And Why) To Tie A Furled Dubbing Loop

As of today we'll be bringing Tie Talk back into the rotation of regular posts here on Fly Talk. Just in time for tying season.

I'd like to introduce everyone to my friend and fly tier extraordinaire Jay Zimmerman. He'll be rounding up tying tips, materials, patterns and all the other craziness that goes along with fly tying for the Tie Talk segments. According to Jay's bio he's worked as an archaeologist, infantry paratrooper, commercial halibut fisherman, hunting guide in Alaska and Canada, fly fishing guide, carpenter, has written and published a book of fishing stories, and perhaps most importantly for us he's a contract fly designer and has quite a few commercial patterns with Umpqua feather Merchants. He's really into warm-water patterns, but knows it all. If you're at all into fly tying or a little fishing entertainment you really should check out his site.

This week's Tie Talk technique is admittedly a bit beyond the beginner status, but thought we'd start it off with a style Jay has come to prefect for many of his patterns. As far as I can tell, he is the master of the Furled Dubbing Loop. The patterns you see here all utilize Jay's style and if you're a bit confused on this advanced technique scroll to the bottom of the post and watch Jay's Video on how to tie a Geezus Lizard and that should help clear things up.

I'll let Jay take it away...

_Furling fly tying materials is not necessarily a new or innovative technique. I have even seen fly tying books devoted entirely to the practice. I have even seen tiers making small leeches using twisted dubbing loops. But, the concept of creating a true worm using an extra long furled dubbing loop, I feel has never been fully explored. The biggest trick when doing one of these long worms is to have enough confidence in your dexterity to set aside any dubbing spinners or other useless gadgets you were talked into buying. Most of us were born with ten of the best fly tying tools ever. Yes, fingers. Learn to use them.

Use any strong thread. I prefer two strands of Danville's 3/0 waxed monocord. I double up the thread because I feel having two strands aids in the loop's ability to grip the dubbing material more than a single strand of thread twice as thick. Apply a liberal amount of dubbing wax onto the entire thread loop. The stickiness of the wax makes loading up a ton of dubbing into the loop much easier. The wax also helps with retaining the dubbing in the worm once it is finished, reducing "shedding". Run the double-strand thread loop over just one finger (preferably the index finger) of your non-dominate hand. Use the middle finger of that same hand to "close the gap" of the loop. This will hold the clumps of dubbing in place while you are stacking.

Once the entire loop is stacked with dubbing (long-fibered, natural dubbing is always best!) lick your fingers and begin twisting. Put as much twist in the thread as you possibly can without breaking the thread at the hook shank. If your dubbing loop is stacked thick, you may have to rake out some of the loose or wild dubbing every so often as you are twisting. Twist as you can possibly get, because this is what allows it all to furl back over itself. Add a bit of yarn into the middle of the loop (to act as the "tip" of the worm once finished) then grab that and pull it back as though it were a bow string._

_Once the two sides are laying next to each other, give it a slight twist to encourage the furling to begin. You will have to help it along, but that is alright. It gives you the opportunity and control to give the worm an even color segmentation. If you are tying a fly such as a Cinder or Palolo, that do not have the need for a special "tip" then use the crook of your whip-finish tool to hook the twisted dubbing loop at the half-way point and pull it to the side.

Again if all of this is a bit unclear watch the video in conjunction with the directions above and it should all come together._