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Wooly Bugger

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Joined: 08 Jan 2008
Posts: 93
Location: New York, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 8:34 pm    Post subject: Wooly Bugger Reply with quote

The venerable Woolybugger was developed by Russ Blessing from Harrisburg, PA in the late 1960's and popularized by Barry Beck. As the name suggests it is an embellishment of the red wool tagged Wooly Worm.

Having evolved as more a style of tying rather than a specific pattern, the Woolybugger is an epic fly whose success crosses between warmwater and cold, freshwater and salt. I admit that I use it far more in Loch Style stillwater situations when wind conditions reduce my ability to fish a slow retrieve, or when fishing from the bank, but that is me. The fly simply catches fish whether the water is moving or not.

I really like this fly as a teaching pattern since it requires a hodge-podge of skills, yet nearly any color scheme and a rash of body materials will prove to catch fish.

What I have shown is but one way to hackle this fly. I have chosen this method since it provides a very durable fly with the front-rear tapered look so many folks desire. I tend to actually tie and fish a 'Bugger with much more hackle, concave side forward, so as to push more water. I am also a proponent of contrast in an attractor pattern which you can clearly see in the tail of the variant shown.

You be the judge!


Hook: Partridge GRS12ST
Weight: Lead Wire; Diameter to match hook wire
Thread: To match Body (Dark Olive as shown)
Tail: Marabou (Ginger as shown)
Flash: Krystal Flash or similar (Gold as shown)
Body: Peacock as shown
Hackle: Palmered Saddle Hackle (Furnace as shown)

Smash the barb and mount the hook.

Wrap a layer of lead wire that covers the middle 2/3 of the shank. Secure with thread and build the front and rear taper.

Measure a marabou blood quill to be equal to the length of the hook (most maximum action and minimal fouling).

Secure the even-tipped quill to the rear with sever tight thread wraps.

Clip the excess even with the rear of the lead.

Select two strands of thin flash and fold them around the thread.

Slide the flash down to the body and wrap the thread to the rear, working 1/2 of the flash to either side.

Flash secured.

Trim flash to be a tad longer than the tail.

Select a healthy bunch of peacock herl. Even the tips and lop-off about 1/2" of the very tips (that is the weakest part).

If you are using chenille, strip the fuzz from the core, leaving only the core to be tied in.

Secure the body materail at the front, back from the eye, and wrap the thread rearward.

If using chenille, wrap the thread forward again.

Gently twist the peacock around the thread, then advance the entore rope forward. A rotary vise is really nifty here!

Once at the front (a bit back from the eye) separate the thread from the peacock and secure the peacock with 3 tight wraps of thread.

Select a long saddle hackle with barbs at least the width of the hook gap. I prefer mine to be 2 to 2.5 as wide as the gape.

Remove the flue form the bottom of the feather.

Secure the feather at the front, by the very tip of the stem butt, with the feather pointing to the rear, good side up.

Now, advance the thread to the rear, behind the unwrapped hackle.

Reverse palmer the feather to the rear and secure it at the tail with 3 tight thread wraps.

Clip the excess.

Advance the thread forward again using open spaced wraps, binding the feather to the body for increased durability.

Pull the hackle barbs to the rear and build a neat head.

Whip finish.

Completed Woolybugger!
Loren Williams
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