I was given a pattern book back in 1986 titled 50 Favorite Dry Flies by Donald Overfeld. That was when I first learned of the actual TUPS dubbing. Years later some guys were discussing this dubbing on another site and one guy in particular went to the extreme of researching and duplicating the dubbing based on the original formula. I was fortunate that he sent me a ziplock bag of that stuff and provided the formula. I still have that batch and I use it as a basis when making more.
Anyway, what I found was that it makes an excellent March Brown(eastern) emerger, dun, and wet fly. I am pretty sure that the transluscent blend is what makes the dubbing so effective. So I took the blend and made it about 2 or 3 shades lighter that yielded dubbing for a light Hendrickson and similarly colored flies. Still another 2 shades lighter and a light Cahill. Going the other way into the 'browns' or 'olives' worked too. The only thing was, any fly smaller then size 16 was tough to dub.
Here's a link with information about the dubbing. Not sure about the 'unborn seal' though!
What do you guys think?
Thinking you forgot the link?
I don't think I have ever had the need to duplicate an original recipe THAT badly before! No thanks.
It is quite common, I'm told, for Irish anglers to take a fly outside and hold it up against the light, before buying it, to see the colours in the dubbing. I will often mix colours even to come up with the same overall colour that I started with. A mixed colour dubbing is always my preference over a single colour. Single colours seem kind of flat by comparison. I suspect that that is the great advantage of the original Tups Dubbing. I doubt tups testicle hair as any magic fish attracting properties.
For flies smaller than 16 you could try split thread dubbing.
My bad, LOL!
Originally Posted by hap
My friend and I were fishing a pool on a well known river in the Catskills. We were within 6 feet of each other and as we were on a bank that was about 4 feet higher then the river we could see the trout as they approached our flies. Both of us were using March Brown wets. We had similar equipment. But he was using a fly that had 'standard' dubbing and mine had 'TUPS'. His attracted a few fish but no takes. Mine attracted several fish with takes. I, as you said, held the flies to the light and there was an obvious difference. We switched flies and the same thing happened except it was he who caught a few and I nothing.
As far as smaller flies with this dubbing and using a split thread. I haven't done that, I will, but it just seems that the dubbing may be too spikey or rough for that small a dry fly. Possibly nymphs.
Hey Kid - Sometimes researching this stuff is a good way to kill a few hours in the off-season. Can be fun too. In this case it paid off during the season.
Allan, it's the acquiring of the materials for this specific blend of dubbing where you lost me! Haha
"acquiring of the materials for this specific blend of dubbing where you lost me!"
Not quite 'lost' but it reminds me of the opening line in Star Trek ... "To go where no man has gone before". Sorry. Just my often weird sense of humor(LOL).
The research that you wrote about from that other site can be found on Hans Weilenmann's site at this link. http://www.danica.com/flytier/swilli...ispensible.htm
AlanB nailed it when he wrote that there aren't any magical properties about the scrotum hair on a ram, since the hair from that spot and the surrounding hair are very close once you get it clean. I'm not going to go too far into it, but every time a sheep is sheered, it's hair gets more coarse. The better hair comes from a ewe, the younger the finer. They throw out the belly and docking area hair since it's too soiled to clean easily. It would be FAR easier to get hair from a young yew to make the same type of dubbing since it would be finer and super easy to clean. The original Tup's dubbing was a dirty yellow, since it had yellow mohair instead of the red seal that G E M Skues suggested later on. Why the complete change in the original color since it caught fish? There's some big pieces in the history about it that are missing, but it is a good story, and supposedly he made a lot of money off of it.
Thanks for that link. I should have known to look at Hans' site or ask him. I'm guessing that AlanB is right about the properties. As for the spaniels hair, I've used hair from my dog. He was was a yellow Lab mix or from my yellow/orange tiger cat. Actually, any similarly color fur or hair will do, just not historically.
In his book, Donald Overfield wrote that, Austin wrote in a letter to Skues that it(the dubbing), "was a mixture of wool taken from the scrotum of a tup(ram), which no doubt accounted for the yellowish tinge caused by the urine, to which was added a pinch of lemon hair from a spoaniel, and seasoned with a small amount of fur from the poll of a hare, plus a little red mohair to turn the witch's brew a slightly pinkish shade." And Overfied writes on that, "Despite the dubbing material having been common knowledge since 1934, it is truly amazing what horrors are passed off to the angling public as Tup's. ... For such bastardization there is no excuse".
Anyway I think we've covered most of the history, LOL.