Fly of the Month
The Wooly Bugger
The Wooly Bugger is one of the most popular streamers in use today. Originally tied to imitate the Dobsonfly larva of the north east, the Wooly Bugger in many variations, is used to imitate amongst other things; leeches, baitfish, tadpoles, crayfish, eels and even immature crabs. This is a versatile fly that can be used in both fresh and saltwater scenarios to give the impression of a large number of food sources and as such is considered a general pattern that's always worth a try and a must have for any fly box.
In fresh water, the Wooly Bugger is a go to pattern when targeting LargeMouth Bass, Crappie, Bluegill, Bowfin, and even Gar. There are a few variations that prove successful when fishing a Wooly Bugger in fresh water: One variation includes a weighted head which allows this fly to dredge the bottoms of the many contours our local lakes and rivers are notorious for. Dark black and Olive patterns help to create a great leach or crayfish pattern. Other variations include the use of a prop on the front portion of the head. With the addition of the prop you take a great subsurface fly and turn into an awesome topwater fly that can be retrieved a variety of different ways.
In salt water, anglers often fish their Woolly Buggers in midwater or near the surface. Salty Buggers tend to be gaudier than freshwater Buggers, as well as bigger. These flies make great mud minnow and sand eel imitations and during the dog days of summer when these baits make up a majority of what inshore species eat, this could be a recipe for disaster on your local flat. Also, with the next push of pelagics making their way to the Nature Coast, a long-tailed, silverygreen Bugger, tied on a 6X-long hook and stripped fast, can probably pass for a needlefish or threadfin herring and be a prime target for a speedy Bonita of Spanish Mackerel..
The great aspect of the Wooly Bugger is that it can be fished with either a floating, intermediate, sink tip, or full sinking line. The Woolly Bugger works well when fished with a 'pull and pause' technique, and in fact, using just about any type of retrieve can draw strikes from any of Florida’s premier fresh and salt water species. The major key when fishing your Wooly Bugger is to be patient and not in a hurry to snatch the fly out of the water for another cast. Because of the way marabou “breathes” in water (especially when the fly is motionless in the slightest bit of current), you should always give the tail a chance to do its thing. Lift the fly in the water column, then let it fall slowly without any input from you. Let it dangle in the current at the end of a drift or retrieve for a few moments, enticing a following fish to grab it before it gets away.
So during your next fly tying session why not consider tying a few variations of the Wooly Bugger? Its versatility and endless variations make this one of the most fun and interesting patterns to add to your fly box.
Hook: Hook: Streamer 2xlong: Tiemco 5263, Mustad 9672(Fresh Water).
Tail: Marabou - Black, olive, brown or any other color desired. (Crystal Flash optional)
Body: Chenille, any color you wish, but black, orange, brown and olive are most common.
Hackle: Saddle or neck, saddle is preferred. Color to match the body if desired.
Thread: Danville flat waxed nylon, color to match the body.
Rib (optional): Wire: gold, silver or copper.
Step 1: Tie a small bunch of marabou to the hook, length approximately the same as the hook shank.
Step 2: Tie in a ribbing wire.
Step 3: Tie in and wrap a chenille body as in a Schminnow pattern.
Step 4: Tie a hackle feather to the front of the fly, curvature facing back.
Step 5: Wrap the hackle evenly to the bend of the hook. Be sure to keep the curvature of the barbules toward the back of the hook.
Step 6: Keeping the hackle feather tight, wrap the ribbing wire forward over the hackle, securing it to the hook.
Step 7: Tie off the wire, trim, form a head.
Step 8: Trim the hackle tip at the bend of the hook.
Step 9: Whip finish and cement the head.