PREPARE THE COMPOSITE MATERIALS
The next step is to prepare your chosen materials for the dubbing loop. I have made a board on which I can prepare my mix of materials to place in the loop. This is known as a composite-loop board. Mine is marked with 1in increments so I can prepare the desired length of material – usually no more than 4in-5in in length. The centre line replicates the thread. Start by taking a pinch of dubbing between thumb and index finger. Now tease it out and restack, roughly lining up the ends. Cut the bunch in half down its centre to reduce its width, then spread it along the centre line of the composite board to form a base layer. Then take some flash, roughly cut it to the length you require and lay it over the dubbing already put down. The length you cut the flash will determine the final length of hackle. Don’t worry if the ends aren’t lined up as this will give the finished fly a more natural look. Repeat the process again with another layer of dubbing, laying it on top of the flash. Compress the three layers of material with your fingers to knit it together so that it can be picked up and placed in the dubbing loop.