In my mind the “dubbing loop” technique is very extremly good. Once mastered, one can do very many things with it. Even creating a hackle collar is possible. This has many advantages. A self-constructed hackle is very versatile. One can use various materials for example. Compared to a genetic hackle, adjusting the length of the hackle fibres is actually possible, which is only one of many advantages.
I learned the basics of this technique when I started tying CDC flies I learned from Marc Petitjean around 2002 or so. I watched him very closely, specificly what he did for splitting the thread. However, I moved away from CDC rather quickly and tried the technique with other materials.
One of the most versatile materials you can obtain is hare's fur. Try to make sure it is hare and not rabbit. Rabbits are raised in cages for fur and meat. So in perfect world one should try to get the material from a hunter. I am in the lucky situation knowing enough hunters shooting hare, mostly arctic hare. That material is superior for the specific use I describe now. Reason being is that the hare has to survive in a brutal environment. Ice and snow in winter, rain in fall and spring and heat in summer. Their guard hair seems to features the above mentioned hydrophobic properties.
So how does one hackle with hair fibres? They are not “glued” to a feather stem like the fibres of a feather. Very simple actually. One has to make ones own “hackle feather” or “hackle substitute”. Thus can be achieved by implying the split thread dubbing loop technique.
c) dubbing loop
Specifically the dubbing loop technique became a quite an eye opener for me. Once having mastered to split even the thinnest thread, fly design and construction took a leap forward. The material I really love is seals fur. It almost seems to have a magnetic effect on fish. Dubbing it with the traditional method can be a bit hideous though. I also don´t like to use wax with seals fur. In my mind it takes that specific shine and the mobility seal's fur has.
Seal's fur can be substituted to some extend by mohair wool.
There are two ways of coming a dubbing loop. One is by making a separate loop and using a dubbing twister or splitting the thread. I almost exclusively use the split thread dubbing loop technique. The other gets too bulky for the flies I tie.
I find that most threads used for fly tying can be split. It's important is that they are not twisted around themselves. Remember – we talked about the twist in the thread before. So the first thing one has to do is to counter the twist in the thread. This is pretty simple. Simply let the bobbin hang from the hook by the thread and rotate it counterclockwise. This is for a right hand tier winding “away” from the body.
Flatten the thread by stroking it with your bodkin needle, from the hook towards you. The bodkin still rotates freely unpinning the thread. Observe the thread and watch for it untwisting by becoming wider. Now come with your finger under the thread and place it onto the tip of you index finger. Set the needle in the middle of the now flattened thread and push softly through it. Split it further with moving the needle inside the thread towards you. Open it further with the fingers of your left (materials) hand. Keep it open and with your other hand you can now insert the dubbing in between the thread. Close it and twist the bobbin clockwise. This traps all the fibres and the result is a rope not unlike a microscopic brush. As longer the fibers of the dubbing as “fluffier” it gets. It helps having practiced the material distribution in the “standard” method.
So this fly is constructed one one material basically. Hare fur. Nothing else, and thread of course.