In the early modern years of fly fishing and fly tying the dubbing was limited to various natural fibers. In East Europe like Romania, Bulgaria, ex Yugoslavia, Poland and ex Czechoslovakia the main source for this materials was hare, rabbit, sheep and even shepherd dogs.
The natural fibers cut in different sizes and added using dubbing noodle technique to make the body of the flies – was most common way to tie bodies. Another method was to make a dubbing rope using tying thread as support for a better way to make the bodies. Anyway in those times was easy to catch fish because the rivers had a lot of fish, there was no pollution and not so many fishermen.
Fishing in Romania, Ukraine and ex Yugoslavia was simple, a hazel rod with a line made of horse hair was enough to catch a lot of fish. In countries from Europe like Poland and ex Czechoslovakia was a different situation: the local guys was all the time very passionate and attached to fishing and fly fishing, a local culture was developed in time. A lot of local fly fishing books from old period show this passion for tying flies and fishing with flies. The culture for tying flies started to be more and more developed compared with other parts so they started to develop this common but fantastic material called dubbing.
The dubbing started to be classified by texture and color and started to be used in different ways to obtain different effects . So guard hair from wild rabbit and hare, fox and nutria started to be used in tying nymphs. Soft underfur started to be used in tying wet flies and dry flies. They used bee wax , pork grease and duck grease to make the dubbing impermeable to water. Also natural dye was used to give different colors and shades (like onion skins and nut leafs or nut rind).
In time and with experience the hair from rabbit and hare started to be the ” bread” for making bodies. White hair from domestic rabbit started to be most used in tying because was easy to be colored. Also wild rabbit and hare was and is very appreciate. The main colors from these two animals are simple beautiful.
For example bellow is a dubbing based of guard hair from hare from Romania
A mix of hare, wild rabbit guard hair with soft underfur in special proportion that will offer a great final aspect and texture to bodies of flies is this buggy dubbing:
Wool started also to be used but more for big fly pattern because the fibers are not so fine like underfur from rabbit,fox, muskrat and nutria.
A dubbing made of hare musk hand cut will offer you the possibility to have the best bodies for small nymphs, emergers and even torax area for dun dry flies.
When the petrol industry exploded in early years the synthetic fibers offered a new door and a new perspective. From that moment everything increase in exponential way: fibers with strong and stiff texture or fibers very soft and impermeable , easy to dye and easy to be mixed with natural changed fly tying world. From those years the sky was the limit in tying world.