The new in fly tying comes from two directions: new materials, and new techniques for applying materials. What has become known as ‘fuzzling’ is one of those techniques. It has revolutionised much of my fly tying.
I was tying ‘Spooks’ at the time, so using the fine dubbing and clear rubber string (Crazy Lace), I did what Peter had described. I tied some eyes on top of the hook opposite the point, tied in a tail of dubbing, tied in the clear string, then applied dubbing to the string and wound it forward. The body was then scratched up with Velcro. I was immediately impressed by the fly’s lifelike translucent appearance, and named it the ‘Fuzzle’. This name has since become associated with the technique.
I made a range of these flies and fished them on the Glenelg River on the South Australia/Victoria border a few days later. They were immediately successful in what can be a tough fishery. The bream just loved them and they easily outfished my usual patterns.
Back at the vice I began to push the technique further to see how it could be adapted to other patterns. The Fuzzle Grub and Fuzzle Bugger were born as early experiments. Some Fuzzle Buggers sent to Neil Grose proved to be great early-season searching flies on several Tasmanian lakes. The Fuzzle Fish is still evolving, as is the Fuzzle Nymph.
WHY ALL THE FUSS?
Not every dubbing produces the same effect. So far I have found the synthetics to be most suited to this technique, especially those that be-come transparent in the water, such as Pseudo Seal, BMS Blend and what has become known as Fuzzle Dub. Using a dark coloured chenille and a lighter coloured dubbing to make flies like Woolly Buggers, you get a two-toned effect that when wet will change during the retrieve. As the lighter coloured dubbing touches the darker chenille, the more dominant colour will take over. These subtle colour changes add a degree of life that I’ve not seen before.
Many of the creatures that fish prey on are transparent, and for years fly-tiers have been trying to emulate that see-through look. By using a clear material like Crazy Lace as the body this look can easily be achieved. A coloured thread or tinsel is applied to the shank, dubbing is applied to the Crazy Lace then wound forward and roughed up. When wet the underbody is visible from within the fly.
Small whitebait are almost transparent when they first enter the estuaries with only their eyes and internal organs being visible—with time in the fresh water they darken up. Saltwater yabbies and shrimps also display a de-gree of translucence, and often there is an orange egg sack contained within the body—using the fuzzling technique this can be easily imitated.
Fuzzling can be applied to a wide variety of flies using a wide variety of materials. There are no rules yet and few patterns. The potential for spiky little trout flies is unlimited. Whatcan be done with micro chenilles and new synthetic dubbings is yet to be fully explored: try dubbing to wire for sparse heavy little nymphs.
Varying the type, colour and the amount of dubbing will give any number of different effects. The more people experimenting with this technique the better, and some great flies are sure to result.