Tiny Dubbed BWO's

Tiny Dubbed BWO's

Just in time for the first spring hatches...

  • By: A. K. Best
I prefer to use stripped-and-dyed rooster-neck hackle quills for all my mayfly imitations. Since the advent of Asian bird flu, however, strung Chinese rooster-neck hackle has not been easy to find. And our own domestic quill-body capes, although very good, are not always available at your local fly shop. So, back to dubbing.

Baetis, or Blue-Wing Olives, hatch in a variety of sizes ranging all the way from 16 to 26. For tying the smallest flies, you must have some very fine dubbing. The finest fibered natural dubbing you can find is beaver under-fur, rabbit belly under-fur or silk dubbing produced by Kreinik (800-537-2166; www.kreinik.com). It is important to use tying thread the same color as the dubbing when you dub a very small fly: The bodies are so thin that a darker thread will show through and change the body color. Sometimes, white thread is best…

Attach thread one hook-gap space behind the eye and wind to the end of the shank. Clip off the tag and make a tiny thread bump over the last turn of thread.

Tie in the tail fibers immediately in front of the thread bump, lash them down, and clip off the butts one hook-gap space behind the eye.

Use the tiniest pinch of dubbing you can see and very tightly twist it onto the thread, creating an extremely fine taper. Squeeze the dubbing very firmly as if you were trying to impregnate the thread with it. Wrap the dubbing forward to stop where you began the thread. It helps to stroke your forefinger on some dubbing wax before you begin; this will produce a very clean dubbing rope.

Select a pair of medium-dun hen hackle tips whose width matches the hook gap. Measure them to be as long as the entire hook plus one hook-eye space, which will be used for the tie-down. Tie them onto the hook just in front of the shoulder of the body, leaving only enough space for one turn of hackle behind the wings.

Select one medium-dun dryfly hackle, clip off the barbs near the butt, tie it onto the hook in your preferred place and wind the hackle. You only need one turn behind the wings and two in front.

Hook: Mustad 94842 (if you can find them!) or Tiemco 101, size 18 through 26
Thread: Danville's 6/0 #61, light green
Tail: Small clump of medium-dun spade hackle fibers, length to equal entire hook
Body: Light green (split-pea-soup color) dubbing. Silk is used here on a size 22 hook. I use rabbit belly for 18 and 16
Wings: Pair of medium dun hen hackle tips
Hackle: Medium-dun dryfly hackle