The Basics of Dubbing

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By Bob Reece

What the beginning tyer needs to know about dubbing.

Creating beautiful, well proportioned flies is a skill which takes time and practice to master. One of the least intuitive steps in the process is working with dubbing. The thousands of dubbing choices on the market today only help confuse the beginning tyer.

Here are some basics to get you started dubbing beautiful flies.

Less is More

The most common mistake that new tyers make when applying dubbing is simply using too much of the product at one time. In general, less is more. Smaller amounts of fibers are easier to apply and lead to the creation of more anatomically accurate insect imitations. The one exception to this lies in the world of streamers where bulky dubbing loops and brushes can be used to create the large silhouettes of beefier food items.

Dubbing Types

There is an increasingly wide spectrum of dubbing varieties on the market. This can be overwhelming for new tyers. These materials are categorized based on their construction and uses. While these “boundaries” are often crossed, a few basic principles can be followed to help get you started.

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Fly Fishing Provides Great Health Benefits

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I tell my clients, all the time, that I’m grateful for all the benefits fly fishing provides anglers. It provides us with one of the funnest ways to exercise, and it has the ability to completely wash away the stress of everyday life, from its therapeutic entertainment. We really should be thankful that this passion of ours provides us with so much more than just the reward of catching fish. Each and everyday we fly fish, we should take a minute to sit back and reflect on this fact. What other exercise activity can you think of that allows you to burn tons of calories during the day, and not have the faintest clue your even working out? Most of us aren’t extreme athletes, and even if we were back in the day, many of us have gotten older and are no longer. The great thing about fly fishing is you can tailor it to your own abilities and needs. It’s a great activity for maintaining your long term balance, dexterity and muscle strength, and it does a very good job of keeping your brain sharp.
I really think we could boost the growth of the fly fishing industry if more people were writing about all the great health benefits it provides, both mentally and physically? I’d love to see Yahoo, or one of those other giant headline news websites (that most of us visit daily) post on its home page, a fly fishing picture with the headline, “Lose 15 pounds and have a blast doing it.” We need to start thinking outside the box to promote and attract newcomers to fly fishing, and I think this could be one area most of us have been overlooking.

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Fish Every Cast!

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By Justin Pickett

From the great casts and the perfect drifts, to the ugly presentations and the drowned dry flies, if those flies hit the water, let ‘em drift!

Just about every day that I spend on the water with a client, I’ll find myself, at some point, explaining to them the reasons why I want them to fish each and every cast to the very end.

Flies only catch fish when they are on, or in, the water. Well, at least 99.999999% of the time anyway. All too often I see clients and friends lay their flies on the water, only to immediately rip them off the surface in order to make another presentation. If it’s a buddy of mine, I’ll often give ‘em some grief for it. However, more times than not, it’s a client, which brings me to a stopping point in order to educate them on why I don’t want them doing this.

For one, the act of landing flies on the water, whether it be a single dry or a gaggle of nymphs, and then ripping them off the water makes quite a commotion. The noises, ripples, and splashes that occur from essentially ripping a clothesline from the surface will no doubt either spook the trout you are fishing to, or at least alert them that the day’s contestants have arrived to play the game. If the flies hit the water, leave ‘em! Wait for them to drift out of the run, or at least well downstream of the fish, before picking them up to regroup.

Secondly, take your time and regroup. Yanking your flies from the water only to cast again without changing anything isn’t likely to make the next presentation any more successful. If you land your flies in a less than desirable location, let them drift out before taking them off the water and then take the time to makes adjustments before making your next presentation. Not taking the time to make adjustments only sets you up to likely making another undesirable cast. Move your feet, rotate your shoulders, check your distance. DO SOMETHING! Remember the definition of insanity? Take your time and maximize your chances to succeed.

The third thing that I emphasize to my clients is

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So Much More Than Brook Trout

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By Jason Tucker


We have parked the boat on a gravel bar where ripping current meets still water. Fish are rising on the soft side of the seam that trails off the tip of the bar. We are so far north that dusk will last for hours. We are fishing in Labrador with Riverkeep Lodge on the Atikonak River.

Dave is after one large fish that keeps working the seam, rising repeatedly about sixty feet out. It’s too far to cast, but they’re taking skated caddis anyway, and so he has dumped a bunch of line, hoping to reach the fish, or get it to hit his Goddard caddis as he retrieves it back up the seam, a tactic that has worked numerous times.

Suddenly the fish rises forty feet away on the right side of the boat. Realizing that Dave doesn’t have time to pick up all that line and cast across the boat in time, I fire a quick cast to the rise form. The fish turns on a dime, and comes up on the surface as I throw a mend to twitch the fly. The fish rises with head, back, dorsal and tail fins all breaking the surface and it closes on my fly, mouth open, like a submarine on the surface. It takes an eternity for my fly to disappear and the mouth to close, but when I finally set the hook, the fish rolls and sounds, swims straight at us, and as I frantically strip line it jumps clear out of the water a few feet away at chest height. I find myself staring it in the eye, like some Warner Brothers cartoon character come to chastise me. Then it takes off on a blazing run that takes most of my fly line with it. It weighed over five pounds

And that was just one evening at Riverkeep Lodge. Don’t worry about Dave, he caught plenty of fish.

As long as I can remember I have been reading about Labrador and its legendary brook trout. As brook trout became an increasing obsession of mine, it became a lifelong dream to go. So when I got an invitation to go to Riverkeep Lodge with Dave Karczynski, it was impossible for me to say no.

We decided to make a road trip out of it, and when the time came I left my home in Northeast Georgia, drove to Ann Arbor, Michigan to pick up Dave, then we turned it east for the long trek across Ontario and Quebec. The drive itself was quite memorable, especially the long bush road from Baie Comeau to Labrador City, about 375 miles of gravel, pavement, and road construction with one gas station in the middle and not much else in the way of civilization. That story will have to wait for later.

The next day we took a float plane 120 miles into the Labrador bush to fish with Riverkeep Lodge on the Atikonak River. It is run by the Murray family, and their guides Keir and Eric were waiting for us, ready to show off what they have up there. Here’s what we found.

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Sunday Classic / Fly Fishing Bass Ponds 102

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I promised everyone I’d write a Fly Fishing Bass Ponds 102, if people showed enough interest from my 101 post. I was blown away from the emails and comments that flooded in, after the first post went live. I covered quite a few topics in the first post but here’s a few more tidbits of information for all you warm-water fly fishing junkies out there.


As a little kid, I was a bass fishing maniac. A good friend of my Father’s fished a lot of tournaments for fun and he took it upon himself to take me under his wing, and teach me the skills I’d needed to become a proficient bass fisherman. One of the greatest things he did during his mentorship was take me to several professional bass fishing seminars. On several different occasions, I had a front row seat to listen to Hall of Fame bass fishing legends like Bill Dance, Denny Brauer, Rick Clunn, and Larry Nixon. Notepad and pen in hand, I wrote as fast as I my fingers would move as the pros talked about how they consistently caught bass. It was at these seminars that I learned the behavior of bass and how to catch them. If you want to improve your warm-water fishing, I highly recommend attending a seminar in your area. Most are reasonably inexpensive, and If you don’t walk away with more knowledge afterwards, you either have an ego that needs to be checked, or you weren’t listening. Most of what you’ll find the professionals talking about is catered towards fishing large lakes, but almost all of the information can be converted and used for fishing on bass ponds.

One recurring theme I noticed is that everyone of those bass fishing legends talked in great detail about

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Saturday Shoutout / SCOF 20

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Southern Culture On The Fly is almost old enough to drink.

What are you waiting for? SCOF issue 20 is live and chocked full of southern fried goodness. Theres musky and pike, Beaver Island, surf and turf and Dave Grossman takes an oath to leave his family.


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Umpqua, Making Your Life Easier

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Watch the Video!

Umpqua has some cool packs and accessories for the coming year, which are bound to make your day on the water a little easier.

Theres something the new line for everyone. Ambidextrous sling packs and a cool net and accessory belt for wade anglers and for the drift boat crowd Umpqua brings its handy organizer to your cooler. Be warned, you’re going to want this stuff.


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Public Lands Photo Essay

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See all 12 photos

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave this last year, you know that there is a real and present danger facing our American public lands. A group of short sighted law makers would like to sell of your American birthright, or deed it over to states to sell if for them.

I’ve been fortunate to see several dozen countries in my life, and to fish many of them. I can tell you this with complete certainty. Our public lands are unique and precious. They are what, for sportsmen and women at least, set us apart from much of the rest of the world. I say this, not boastfully, but with great fear. We are on the verge of losing the very thing that makes the country great.

I could write a couple of thousand words about this issue, but I have chosen instead to show you exactly whats at risk. Here are a few photos I’ve taken while fishing some of our great public lands. You will recognize many of these places. Although all of our public lands are not so famous, they are equally precious. I encourage you to remember this when choosing the representatives who speak for you.

Please consider signing the Sportsmen’s Access Petition. For each person who does a message is sent to their representatives in congress. Make your voice heard.

If you’re interested, heres Adventure journal’s list of the 20 lawmakers hell-bent on selling your public lands. One of them may represent you…or not.


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Thank You God for the Terrestrial Season

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bout this time every year, when I’m starting to get run down from guiding, the terrestrial season arrives, and I’m blessed with a second wind. I’m always astonished at how the presence of terrestrials can make my familiar trout waters seem so fresh and new to me. Even after I’ve already spent hundreds of hours during the season drifting flies through the same riffles, runs and pools. Every day, I find myself more excited about fishing than the last, despite it being one of my busiest times of the year guiding. Thank God for the terrestrial season. I tip my hat to the creator, for he sure did a fine job of planning out the life cycle and timing of the terrestrial season. Yep, life is grand for the fly fisherman when the terrestrials are out. The water and air temperatures (at least where I live) are usually warm enough to leave those stinky waders at home, and the longer days allow us the luxury of staying on the water for a few extra hours.

Is it just me, or do trout seem to have the same look in their eyes as we do during the terrestrial season, pure addiction. I love the fact that it’s not the end of the world if we forget our strike indicators or split shot when the terrestrials are out. The trout often rise

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Is Our Thinking About Flies All Wrong?

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By Dan Frasier

What if I were to tell you there is no such thing as a trout fly?

A few days ago my good friend and fly designer Steve Martinez posted a link to one of his flies that Orvis carries; his Frankenstein Sculpin. I love this fly, but his comment intrigued me. He wrote; “Although I designed this fly for carp, it has been a killer smallmouth fly this year here on the Great Lakes.” No doubt that’s a true statement. It’s a killer fly. But my first thought was, “Well, duh. It’s a fly that intends to look like a Goby, the major baitfish on his part of the Great Lakes. Of course it works for anything eating them.” And that is when it occurred to me; We’ve been doing it all wrong.

In my book, The Orvis Beginners Guide to Carp Flies, I emphasize repeatedly that there is no such thing as a carp fly. There are flies, designed to look like certain foods, that work where carp eat those things. If you don’t match the pattern with the food in the area that carp are eating, you’re SOL. Carp aren’t special in this way. Trout flies work under the same premise. An Elk-hair Caddis works where trout are eating caddis and doesn’t where they are eating scuds. And, an Elk-hair Caddis works on carp that are eating caddis and doesn’t where they are eating Gobies. So, is the Elk-hair Caddis a trout fly? Or is it a fly that works on fish eating caddis? I think the answer is obvious.

Yet when I look through any fly catalogue from the major manufacturers, the overriding theme seems to be to segregate flies by species. Wanna catch a pike? Better check out the pike flies. Fishing for smallies? Turn to the bass section. We ignore the fact that these species key on certain foods at certain locations just as much as trout do. We also ignore that many different species in that location will be all eating the same food organism; that a hex fly will work on smallies eating hexes just as well as it does for trout eating hexes. That’s why flies created for one species are frequently used by experienced anglers for others.

The experimentation and expansion of the species anglers chase with the fly seems to be increasing at an exponential rate. No longer do you hear talk of certain fish species being lesser than others. People celebrate catching panfish without apology. Carp are the obvious poster child but all species seem to be looked at as something worth chasing. From gar to whitefish to musky, the world of opportunities is evolving within flyfishing, and for that reason we need to change the way we categorize flies. It’s time to

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