I have been playing around with this some too and I like the dubbed bodies but as I look around, there are a lot of interesting chenielles available. Last weekend on Lone Lake I was doing well with a sparkle chenielle in lime green. I don't have the ingredients to create this from dubbing, so I bought the chenielle.
You're right though, brushing out the chenielle gives a great buggy look to a WB.
Both. I agree with Jeff on availability of some really neat chenille these days. Jay Fair Short Shuck being my current favorite. It behaves like a short, dense hackle with just a bit of flash. And chenille makes tying go much faster than dubbing . . .unless you pre-twist your dubbing brushes.
i prefer to use dubbing and a dubbing brush. i can get more creative and still use it as dubbing on other things. i really like the STS Trilobal dubbing, ive been playing with that alot in the last few weeks. its super buggy and if your gonna dub it straight onto the thread leave it loose and bulky, it looks way better, rather then trying to dub a dry fly. ice dub works nicely too
for beginning tyers i think a chenille is better, less to learn all at once
Chenilles are easy to use and come in a lot of different styles. I've been using ice chenille a lot lately. Don't overlook estaz and some of the other closely related products.
Dubbing can be done up in several ways...straight out of the box and onto the thread, in a dubbing loop, with other materials (ie rubber etc)...you can even get or make a dubbing twister and make premade brushes.
You might say dubbing for the smaller flies and chenille for the larger ones. The chenille selection nowadays is just vast and you can get effects from it that you can't get from dubbing. To me the uniformity and bulk of chenille trumps the dubbed flies. And if you are tying a dozen buggers on #4 3XL hooks you are going to be doing a hell of a lot of dubbing.
But if you must dub use some yarn underneath to get the basic shape and then dub over that. Much less work.
Recently, I've been using various colors of sparkle dubbing, making my bodies fairly thin, and generally fishing smaller buggers. That said I have caught a hell of a lot of fish on larger, fatter, chenille buggers.
Have confidence in the fly you're fishing is probably as important as anything.
If I'm tying a standard wooly bugger, I prefer chenille; the hackle is supposed to provide that motion. If I want an alternative fly for the same conditions, I'll use a seal bugger, with a simi seal in a dubbing loop.
That is what is so cool about flies that one ties to fish vs. flies for display (e.g, classic Atlantic salmon flies). In the case of the later, adherence to the standard is key. For the former, the standard is do the fish like it. Experimentation, substitution of materials, changing proportions, etc. is how we innovate. Fortunately, there's more than one way to fool a trout.
I tied a lot of wolly buggers yesterday. First half of the day was with dubbing. Then the second part of the day was with chenile and to be frank, I really liked the chenile a little more. Easier for a consistent body thickness. Perhaps I just need to work more on my thickness of dubbing. For the smaller flies, dubbing was the easiest to use.