Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Woolly Bugger


Text and Photos by Andrew Susani and Andrew Wheeler

Hook # 8 Long Shank
Thread 6/0 Black
Body Medium Chenille
Tail Marabou
Flash Comes Alive, Flashabou/Krystal Flash or Lite Brite
Hackle Large Saddle Hackle

Originally a North American variation on the English Woolly Worm, Woolly Buggers are probably the most used wet fly in the world, and they will catch just about anything that swims with their seductive pulsating tail. Tied in a range of sizes, they imitate everything from crayfish to leeches and tadpoles or nymphs. Think about it - if you stepped up to a new lake somewhere in the world, what would you tie on?

Now there are many different ways to tie this fly, but the best two methods are listed below. Method One is a reasonably quick and easy way to tie them, whereas Method Two takes a little more practice to get used to, but results in an almost indestructible fly, which means you don't have to tie a box full of them to go fishing.

Tying Procedure: Method One

1(a) Start the thread just before the bend. Take a marabou feather and cut off about 1/3 off one side. Tie this is at the bend of the hook. Take a few strands of flash material and tie it in on top.  

2(a) Cut another 1/3 of the feather and tie it on top of the last bunch. You can use 1/2 the feather to make the standard tail, or the whole feather to make a really bushy tail. The finished tail should be the same length of the hook. 

3(a) Cut a piece of chenille 8cm long and tie it in at the bend. Choose a saddle feather that has fibres at least as long as the gape of the hook. 

4(a) Tie the feather in by the tip, making sure that all the fibres are separated (gently run your fingers down the stem to separate the fibres). Wind the chenille up to the eye of the hook to form a neat, dense body.

5(a) Wind the hackle forward using evenly spaced turns, stroking the fibres backwards with each turn until you reach the eye of the hook.
6(a) Tie down and form a small head with the thread. Whip finish the thread off and varnish the head.

 

Tying Procedure: Method Two

1(b) Start the thread just before the bend. Take a marabou feather and cut off about 1/3 off one side. Tie this is at the bend of the hook. Take a few strands of flash material and tie it in on top.  

2(b) Cut another 1/3 of the feather and tie it on top of the last bunch. You can use 1/2 the feather to make the standard tail, or the whole feather to make a really bushy tail. The finished tail should be the same length of the hook. 

3(b) Cut a piece of chenille 8cm long and tie it in at the bend. Tie the feather in by the tip, making sure that all the fibres are separated ( gently run your fingers down the stem to separate the fibres).

4(b) Hang the feather and the chenille side by side, clamp the ends with hackle pliers.

5(b)  Twist the chenille and the feather together, making sure the hackle fibres flare out.
6(b) After 10-15 twists, wind the lot forward to form a neat, dense body, stroking back the fibres after each turn. Tie down the twisted chenille/feather just behind they hook eye and form a small head with the thread. Whip finish the thread off and varnish the head.

Tips

There are an endless number of colour variations possible with this fly. By using different types of chenille and hackles you can make an infinite number of colour combinations. Bead or Cone heads can be pushed on before tying the fly to explore deeper water and create an attractive bobbing action on the retrieve.

       
    A selection of different coloured woolly buggers with some red and black ice chenille which makes excellent bodies.