My dry fly tying is abhorrent. For dubbing I've tried numerous methods (dubbing wax, dubbing loops, less material, over wraps with bare thread, etc). Every time I dub a body it looks like complete and utter garbage. I do work better with some materials and it has me wondering if I just have low quality synthetic material. I hate to blame the material but I do better with hares ear material and some crystal flash dubbing I just purchased.
Any suggestions to tie a better dry fly or Youtube videos I should watch? PS I do not have a hackle gauge but it is on my list next time I head to the shop.
I wrote an tying "tip" that describes the "wax less" dubbing technique I use. It was published in Fly Tyer Magazine in 2002. I suggest you try this technique.
Here is the article:
Noted Wisconsin fly tyer Royce Dam - ( FFF's 1994 Buz Buszek Award Winner) taught me the single most helpful dubbing technique I have ever learned. It’s a technique for dubbing tight dry fly bodies without using dubbing wax. I’d like to pass it on. The directions are for a right-handed tyer. Lefties will need to make the reversal.
I am assuming that you wrap thread around the hook in the normal fashion by wrapping away from yourself over the top of the hook and then back underneath, and so on. Wrap the hook with thread, tie in a tail and take the tread back to the back of the hook so that you are ready to dub the body. Do not wax the thread.
For a right-hander, dub the fur clockwise on the thread as seen from the top of the hook. The clockwise direction is critical, as you will see later. Taper the dubbing so that you have a fine dubbing tip at the top of the thread. Unwrap one or two wraps of thread from the tie in point and push the dubbing up the thread so that the fine point of dubbing is at the tie in point. If you wax the thread, the dubbing will stick to the thread, and it will be difficult to advance it up the thread to the tie in point.
Take one or two wraps of thread to fix the tip of dubbing at the tie in point. This wrap traps the end of the dubbing so that is cannot spin free. Grasp the bottom end of the dubbing, and dub/twist it clockwise on the thread. It should spin around the thread getting tighter and tighter since the tip is fixed under the first wrap. Hold on to the bottom of the dubbing so that it cannot untwist and wrap your dubbing forward on the hook. With each wrap of the thread, the dubbing and thread will twist tighter and tighter so that you end up with a very tight, compact and tapered body.
The wax-less technique takes advantages of the fact that as you wind the dubbing around the hook shank, you introduce an additional twist into the dubbing. The dubbing twists one revolution for each wrap. The secret to forming a tightly dubbed body is to use this additional twisting to your advantage."
For nymphs allow the dubbing to untwist as you wrap to get just the amount of bugginess rather than a tight compact body.
You can precisely control the diameter of the dubbing as you wind. Without wax you can push the dubbing up the thread to widen the dubbing noodle or pull down to narrow the dubbing. Or you can twisting tighter if you used too much dubbing to narrow the body or allowing it to untwist to widen it. By using these two additional techniques you get exactly the tapered body you want.