“I cant thank you enough for offering your fly tying class! I had no idea that I would enjoy learning to tie flies as much as I did, and assuring everyone that you are there to answer any questions made me very comfortable” -Lisa…
The Split thread dubbing technique can be used when you don’t want to add extra bulk to your fly. It also works well when you are applying material to the head of a fly such as a hackle collar. Keep in mind that all threads are not good for splitting. Here I am using a Danville thread which works just fine. This technique can be used for many different patterns, large or small, and the way you put the dubbing on will change the outcome.
Relaxing the thread
Once you have stopped your thread in the area where you want to start your dubbed body, let the bobbin hang down for a second, and you will start to see it spin. Grasp the bobbin and give it a little spin in the same direction that its looking to go (counter clockwise) until it untwists itself.
“Preparing the thread”
Splitting the thread
While holding your thread in one hand insert the point of your bodkin into the middle of the strands, then slide your bodkin down to separate.
Holding the loop open
*It’s up to you if you want to use wax here. If so, you only need to wax one side of the thread.*
Dubbing the loop
There are different ways you can dub this loop. Either create a dubbing noodle where you directly twist the dubbing onto the thread, a touch dubbing method where you use a little bit of wax, but for demonstration purposes; we are going to flatten out a little rabbit dubbing.
With your pointer finger still holding open the loop, take a pinch of rabbit dubbing and place it in between the two strands of split thread. Now take your thumb on the same hand and pinch the loop closed. I know it sounds complicated but its a lot easier than you think, because essentially what you are doing is you are holding the dubbing in-between the (now closed) loop. With the loop closed, slide the dubbing up towards the hook and if you find you have a gap, add a little more dubbing.
How to twist dubbing
Once you have the dubbing loaded between the open split in the thread, take your two fingers and move them to the outside of the loop. Grasp tightly right at the base of the thread. This will hold everything closed. Keep them holding, right towards the tip of the bobbin. Hold that the thread loop tightly!
Giving the bobbin a spin will twist the dubbing into a rope. Once the bobbin starts to slow down.. you can let go. Then grab the bobbin to stop it. Take a look at your thread loop now.
What’s happening here is the thread is spinning and twisting that dubbing between the two strands that you split. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look twisted enough, all you have to do is add tension again and spin it one more time.
Once you have gotten the dubbing loop finished, grasp it by the end and cut the bobbin loose. Now you can either use your hackle pliers or fingers to wrap the dubbing loop forward just as if you were wrapping thread.
Wrapping the dubbing loop
Doubling up the colors
What I like about split thread is sometimes I find myself tying the entire fly by splitting the thread, I will do one color for the body, one for the thorax and even split the thread for the hackle fibers.
Give it a try!
As you can see the possibilities are endless, so dont be afraid to experiment.