Touch dubbing imparts a soft silhouette to a fly body and allows creation of many bug like effects through carefully combinations of thread and dubbing material. Natural dark mole fur and yellow Pearsall’s tying thread are combined here in a Waterhen Bloa imitating a small olive mayfly.
From the outset, bear in mind that while touch dubbing is a simple technique, it is most suited to fine and short filament materials like hair’s ear, mole and muskrat; more course materials like seals fur for instance, are better dubbed using a loop, split thread, or basic twisting between finger and thumb.
Dubbing rake: For touch dubbing you want the dubbing material filaments to be very well mixed. What you don’t want are matted clumps with filaments stuck together or closely aligned. If you have fur on the hide try using a dubbing rake which gathers and effectively mixes fur as it draws it from the hide.
Coffee grinder: An old coffee grinder is excellent for mixing modest quantities of dubbing material. Where different textures and colours are to be combined, the grinder really helps achieve consistent results. I’m told that adding water and using a food processor is the best way of mixing large quantities of dubbing but unless you intend to embark upon a commercial operation this would probably be over gunning it.