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Fly Tying

 Fly Tying Made Easy

Wooly Bugger

  • Hook:Mustad #36890, #6-10 (Substitute a #79580 or #9672 if you prefer.)

  • Thread:6/0 olive

  • Weight:Medium or heavy lead wire or substitute

  • Tails:Black marabou

  • Hackle:Black saddle hackle, palmered

  • Body:Medium (#1) dark olive chenille

Wooly Bugger

1) Insert the hook into the vise and crush the barb completely. It will take a substantial set of pliers to do a good job on the heavy hooks used to tie Woolybuggers.

2) Wrap lead wire in the central portion of the hook to weight the fly. Note that adequate room has been left both aft and forward of the lead wraps to develop neat tapers and allow the tail to be attached.

 3) Attach the tying thread and coat the lead wraps. This serves two purposes: first, to anchor the lead wire securely and second, to cover the lead so that any imperfections in the body are not as apparent in the finished fly.

4) Select an even-tipped marabou feather for the tail. Formerly called blood marabou, such feathers are usually called Woolybugger marabou these days and are available strung. Strip off any fibers that are not even.

5) Attach the tail such that its finished length is equal to the shank of the hook. Note how the trimmed butts of the marabou tail help to develop an even taper down from the bulk of the lead wraps.

6) Rayon chenille is employed for Woolybugger bodies, as well as for the body on many other flies. Chenille is made by twisting rayon fibers between two cotton threads. Prepare the chenille for tie-in by stripping it down to its thread core with your finger nails. This considerably reduces tie-in bulk.

7) Tie in the chenille by its thread core, just forward of the tail. The first wrap of chenille should completely cover all the thread wraps. Note again how tying in the tail and the chenille neatly filled in the "bump" behind the lead wire, allowing the formation of a neat body.

8) Select a saddle hackle with fibers about 1-1/2-2 times the gap of the hook. Only rooster saddles have the length necessary to wrap the full length of a long-shanked hook. Strip the fluff from the base of the saddle hackle and tie it in, dull side forward, the width of one wrap of chenille FORWARD of the end of the body. Putting a wrap of chenille behind the hackle stem shields it from fish teeth and makes a much more durable fly. Wrapping the hackle dull side forward seems to enhance its action.

9) Take one wrap of chenille behind the saddle hackle, forcing the hackle stem into its wrapping position, perpendicular to the hook. Continue wrapping the body in front of the hackle, developing a pleasing taper. Tie off the chenille and trim the excess, allowing at least one hook eye length for the head.

10) Palmer the hackle forward, that is, wrap it through the body in an open spiral. I prefer to do this by hand, since I believe it seats the hackle into the body much more firmly. Use hackle pliers, if you must. Keep the turns forward neat and evenly spaced. When you reach the front of the body, take one complete turn of hackle forward of it and tie off, taking great care not to bind down any hackle fibers.

11) Build a neat head and whip finish. Give the head two thorough coats of cement.

(Wooly Buggers can be tied in a wide array of colors and sizes. Experiment and find one that works best for you!)

That's it, now get out there and catch a ton of fish!

For those of you who tie your own leaders, we have a link that will give you some help calculating leader length.

Leader Calculator

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