Muz Wilson details the fuzzling technique which adds
new vitality to dubbed-body wet fly patterns.

Fly tiers are an innovative lot. Although the basic configuration of the conventional fly is pretty much set as a style, the possibilities for expansion from that one small base are almost endless if one looks outside the boundaries of tradition. I really get tired of hearing people saying there is nothing new in fly tying.

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.

Peter Morse and I had been discussing bream and bonefish flies for quite a while, as he was trying to achieve a transparent halo effect using BMS Blend. He rang me one day excited about what he had found: “Muz, what happened was that the bloody BMS blend kept matting to the fine Crystal Chenille as they lay together on my messy tying bench, so I just rolled the dubbing into the chenille and wound it onto the hook. Then I scrubbed it up with a Velcro strip and the results were fantastic.” The fly Peter had created was the Squidling (FlyLife #37).

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.

FuzzleI 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.

What’s so different about this technique that has me so excited, and what effects does it produce in the flies? First, it is a very simple technique to use. Some people have trouble achieving tapered fly bodies using dubbing applied to the tying thread. In fuzzling the dubbing is not in effect the body, but more like a fuzzy halo around the body. The body is formed using chenille, Crystal Chenille, Crazy Lace, wool, wire or some other string-like stuff, then the dubbing is applied to this and teased up after the body is formed. Using this method you can produce flies with a three-dimensional transparent effect: it is almost holographic.

Fuzzle GrubNot 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.

Fuzzle FishMany 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.

Fuzzle WhitebaitSmall 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.

Fuzzle BuggerProbably the easiest introduction to the fuzzling technique is to tie a Fuzzle Bugger, an adaptation of the well-known Woolly Bugger. Select your hook, tie in a tail of marabou and then some chenille. I like the Super Salt Chenille which has a slight fleck through it, but plain or sparkle chenille are all fine for different effects. Wind the tying thread to the eye, then select some dubbing and apply it to the chenille. Wind the dubbed chenille forward, tie it off behind the eye and trim it. Then apply a small amount of the dubbing to the thread, wind two or three turns, whip finish and varnish. Scruff the fly with Velcro.

Fuzzle NymphVarying 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.


Fuzzle Patterns

The fuzzle

HOOK: Mustad S71 #8–1/0
THREAD: Clear Mono
TAIL: Fuzzle Dub
EYES: Dazl-Eyes or bead chain
UNDERBODY: Pearl Mylar
BODY: Crazy Lace
DUBBING: Fuzzle Dub

fuzzle grub

HOOK: Curved grub hook #10-14
THREAD: 6/0 white
UNDERBODY: Thread coloured with permanent marker
BODY: Crazy Lace
DUBBING: Fuzzle Dub
THORAX: Dark Olive Diamond Brite

fuzzle fish

HOOK: Kamasan B830, Tiemco 5262 #4–10
THREAD: Clear Mono
TAIL: Fuzzle Dub
BODY: Crystal Chenille
DUBBING: Fuzzle Dub
HEAD: Darker Fuzzle Dub
EYES: Stick-on
fuzzle whitebait
HOOK: Mustad S71 #6-8
THREAD: Clear Mono
TAIL: Fuzzle Dub
BODY: Crazy Lace
DUBBING: Fuzzle Dub
EYES: Stick-on
fuzzle bugger
HOOK: Tiemco 700 #2–10
THREAD: 6/0 black
TAIL: Marabou
BODY: Super Salt Chenille
DUBBING: Fuzzle Dub

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