The Split thread dubbing technique is mainly used when you don’t want to add extra bulk to your fly. It 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 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 also have a different effect.
Relaxing the thread
Once you have stopped your thread where you are wanting to start your dubbed body, just let it hang for a second. You will start to see it spin.
“Preparing the thread”
You want to be sure that you wont get a knot in the thread when splitting, and with a little preparation you can prevent this from happening.
Splitting the thread
While still holding your thread in one hand, use a bodkin to separate them in the middle.
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.
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 where you use a little wax or in this case, just put in a pinch of dubbing.
Take a pinch of your dubbing and place it in between the two strands, move it to the top or bottom.. then add a little more.. and a little more if needed. What you are trying to accomplish is having enough dubbing so that you dont have big bare spots. Some flies are tied very sparsely so use your own judgement.
You can also put the pinch of dubbing inbetween the fingers that are holding the thread open, then use the other hand to pull them up into the loop. Give it a try! After one or two flies you will be able to grab a pinch and flatten it out between the two fingers all at once.
How to twist dubbing
Once you have dubbing loaded between the open split in the thread, take your two fingers and grasp tightly right at the base of the dubbing. Keep them holding, right towards the tip of the bobbin. Hold that the thread loop tightly!
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.
Experiment with this because it isn’t set in stone. You can do what you wish with different materials here!
Once you have gotten it to where you like it all you have to do is wrap forward just as if you were wrapping thread.
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.