Popular Dubbing Materials
When dubbing with natural fibers, I'm especially fond of arctic fox, rabbit and Finn raccoon. I personally feel that there aren't any other natural materials that breathe as well as these do and have the same durability. I like the rabbit and arctic fox for tarpon fly collars, smaller-size baitfish patterns and shrimp and crab bodies. These fibers are short to medium in length, both are pretty easy to dub with, and they come in almost every color under the sun. When I'm looking to tie larger collars and produce a bulky overall appearance in a fly, my go-to dubbing material is raccoon hair. It has a soft underfur and course guard hairs, which gives it a balance of length and breathability. It's important to mention that this hair is prone to tangles when used at its full length. You can alleviate this somewhat by making fewer twists in the loop and putting less tension on the thread while spinning. If you use half as much material as you think you need and use a toothbrush to comb through any potential rats' nests, it will work out fine.
When you become comfortable dubbing, blending materials and colors allows you to incorporate more texture and action into your fly. This can be as simple as staging different colors within the loop for a variegated look or as complex as combining different types of materials to achieve an appropriate balance of body to action.