Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Bloodworm


Text and Photos by Andrew Susani and Andrew Wheeler

Main Hook Gamakatsu B10S size 8
Tail Hook Gamakatsu B10S size 12
Thread 6/0 red
Body Blood Red or Claret Vernille
Eyes Small or x-small dumbbell eyes
Tail Red foam sheet

We are not sure who originally tied this fly, but this Aussie version seems to have originated up on the Central Coast somewhere and is aimed specifically at the big sand whiting that cruise the sandflats in our estuaries. It is a well used pattern around the southern half of Australia, with bream, whiting and even flathead being regular captures. If you intend to use this fly as a blind searching pattern, it may be worthwhile having a few bigger sizes tied up. I have found that it is very effective when presented to cruising fish, and I would rather keep it small for this purpose. Despite it's small size it is still one fly that estuary fly fishermen should not be without.

Tying Procedure

1(a) Start with the tail hook in the vise. Begin the thread at the bend of the hook and tie in a small piece of red foam sheet - 4mm wide by 15 mm long. This will make the tail of the fly buoyant so that the tail sits up while the weighted head of the fly sits on the bottom. In moving water this is particularly good as it could be interpreted as a worm sticking it's top half out of the sand for a look around.
1(b) Fold over the tag end of the foam strip and tie it down. For smaller flies you don't have to do this step - just trim the foam so about 3-4mm sticks out past the hook bend.

2. Tie an 10cm piece of red vernille in at the hook bend and take the thread up to the hook eye.  

3. Wind the vernille around the hook shank and tie off at the eye so that the long tag end hangs directly out from the eye, in line with the hook shank. This is the tail of the worm and the long tag end will be the body. Apply a drop of cement to the tied off thread and remove the hook from the vise.

4. Take the main hook and put it in the vise. Start the thread about halfway round the bend. 

5. Tie down the tag end of the tail section so that the distance between the two hooks is between 3 and 5cm.

6. Take the thread up to the eye of the hook and wind back down the shank about 5mm behind the hook eye. Take a small pair of dumbbell eyes and tie them down using figure-8 wraps. 

7. To make the dumbbell eyes more secure, add a tiny drop of super glue on either side of the dumbbell's base where it touches the shank and then wind the thread through it.
8. Take the thread up in front of the eyes, wind the vernille around the shank from the bend of the hook up over the eyes and tie off just behind the hook eye. Whip finish, and the fly is complete.

Tips

This fly is easy to tie, so the thing that will mean success or failure lies in the manner in which it is fished. When you tie one on, think a bit about those little worms you pump or find under weed on the sandflats. In normal life, they are almost never fully out of their holes in the sand, so when they do get disturbed from their holes they are definitely on the menu, and probably not real happy about it. 

If you ever get one in a nipper-pump, watch it writhe and bounce around when you drop it back in the water. My advice is to fish these very slowly around weedbeds or cast ahead of feeding bream and whiting. 

Let the fly sink to the bottom and give it a sharp 6-12 inch strip so it darts off the bottom, then let it settle back on the sand. Takes are usually subtle, so stay alert.