Dynamic Dubbin Loops – Part 2

J.Stockard Pro Tyer: John Satkowski, Toledo, OH, fly tying demonstrator and instructor, you can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/johnsatkowski/

You can’t really talk about composite and complex dubbing loops without discussing some trout swing flies. If you know anything about me, you know I am not much of a steelhead fisherman. I have caught most of my steelhead accidentally fishing for other species. I do, however, enjoy tying steelhead intruder flies, brook and brown trout streamers, and swing flies. I love going to northern Michigan and fishing the beautiful rivers for feisty brookies. Whether you enjoy swinging flies for chromers or throwing streamers for browns or brookies, a dynamic loop fly can change the odds in your favor.


Although you can make any fly you can think of with a complex dubbing loop, the most popular style nowadays is the complex loop intruder. Intruder flies have what are called stations. You can have one station or up to four or five stations depending on what you are tying. Most flies have two stations, a front and a rear with some sort of flat, flashy material in between. You will hear terms like Hoh Bo spey flies, and most of these patterns have a single station. I know that there is a lot more to these style of flies, but I am keeping it fairly basic in terms of description. The intruder style fly uses a ball of dubbing or some other kind of support to spread out the station. The same is usually done on the front station as well. Your prop materials can be anything from mylar piping unraveled, chenille, or you can make a small composite loop with materials like feather barbs, Ice Dub, Amherst pheasant fibers, Ringneck pheasant, or even turkey tail fibers. A softer and suppler material is then tied in over the top. You can use a myriad of materials for this, but I really like arctic fox, marabou, opossum, flashabou, and various furs mixed with Angel Hair. If you stick to the basic design and construction of an intruder you can make really nice flies. Tiny versions of streamers with composite loops are becoming very popular as well so you can alter the size and shape of your fly by changing and trimming materials down to fit your needs.

In some of the flies pictured, the dubbing loop also offers some support for palmered marabou on top of it. You can get some really natural looking results with this method of streamer construction. Nymph flies can even be constructed with dynamic loops and the results are often great for creating a really “buggy” looking nymph with a small bit of flash to get the fish’s attention. I know brook trout especially love an area of flash or a hotspot on a nymph drifting by. Since my local rivers have an abundance of the almighty hex, a slightly flashy hex nymph can also get some attention from the resident smallmouth during the pivotal times of the season. You can experiment with lots of different materials with different colors and textures to see what the fish like. I find that a dynamic loop with mostly natural materials and sparse amounts of flash is best for tying small nymphs or even dries. You can really ramp up your stone or steelhead nymph patterns with some Senyo Shaggy and ice dub to create the effect of more movement and a glint of flash to help the fish key in on your fly. In murky and rough conditions, this may be your savior from going home with the skunk.

Continue reading → Dynamic Dubbin Loops – Part 2