Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Glow Bug

Text and Photos by Andrew Susani and Andrew Wheeler

Hook #12 Shrimp (curved shank) pattern (Kamasan B100 pictured)
Thread 6/0 Red
Body Translucent Orange Bead (and super glue)
Eyes Lead dumbbell (for fast water - not pictured here)

Glow bugs have been around for a while now, and are used to good effect during winter when the trout migrate out of the lakes and impoundments and into the creeks and rivers to spawn. All of these fish will be on the lookout for stray eggs floating downstream, as they are a high source of protein. These flies are usually heavily weighted to sink quickly and get down near the bottom of the river where the fish will be lying, but it is always worth having a few unweighted patterns in case you come across fish in slower moving water. 

Tying Procedure

1. Start the thread up behind the eye of the hook.
2. Apply a thin layer of super glue along the hook shank. This will securely hold the thread to the shank and prevent the bead from spinning around the hook shank after it has been used for a couple of hours.
3. Wind the thread through the layer of super glue.
4. Build up a small body of thread by going backwards and forwards along the hook shank until the thread body is almost as thick as the internal diameter of the bead's hole. Test it as you wind the body - it should be a tight fit.
5. Once the desired body has been formed, tie off the thread and whip finish.
6. Apply a drop of super glue on the rear part of the thread body and slide the bead over the eye of the hook.
7. Push the bead over the back of the thread body and apply a drop of super glue to the front part of the body. Do this quickly otherwise the bead will stick to the rear of the body.
8. Twist the bead forward so that the super glue is spread throughout the inner hole of the bead and position it just behind the eye of the hook. If you are going to tie in lead eyes, reattach the thread and tie in the eyes just behind the hook eye. Leave the fly aside so the glue can dry properly, and the fly is complete.


I bought the orange translucent beads from GO-LO, and the similarities to a real egg are quite astonishing. If you mix a couple of these flies in with some real trout eggs, it is very difficult to notice the difference. While the orange beads are about 10% bigger than the trout eggs, this doesn't appear to make any difference to the fish.

Andrew Wheeler and myself recently had an opportunity to fish a small creek that fed Warragamba Dam and was open all year round. There was virtually no flow, so heavily weighted flies were useless, and it was fortunate that we had a few unweighted glow bugs with us. All the fish we found were holed up in pools and were able to be tempted to eat the glow bug once the correct drift was found. The deciding factor on the day was the presentation of the egg imitation. By applying a tiny bit of soft lead putty above the fly, the correct sink rate was achieved and the fish took the fly with gusto. While it may seem like a fine detail, two other experienced club members fished the same pools with the same flies a few days later and landed 1 fish, while we landed 30 (2 kept). They didn't experiment with the fly's sink rate, and the results speak for themselves. While the glow bug may seem like a fairly inert and lifeless type of fly, presentation still counts for everything.