Tie a Simple Fly
Now that we've had a short overview of some fly tying terms and essentials, let's sit down at the vise and tie something! We can think of no better fly to start with than the legendary Woolly Bugger. Not only is this fly an incredibly productive pattern, but thankfully it's also one of the easiest to tie! The Woolly Bugger can be tied using several methods with different materials and color combinations, but we've outlined a quick, simple way to put one together. Besides the obvious, we'll be using the following materials:
- Hook size varies, but a size 4–10 hook with a long shank is a solid choice
- Lead Wire (optional)
- 1 Saddle Hackle
1.) First, secure the hook firmly into the vise jaws. Start by wrapping thread around the hook shank from just behind the hook eye to just before the bend. This forms a "thread base" over the smooth surface of the hook. Now is the time to wrap lead wire over the thread base. Be sure to stop short of the hook eye and hook bend to leave room for tying in materials later. Secure the entire length of lead wire with a few criss-crossing thread wraps. Notes: The thread base and lead wire is optional. While tying, try to avoid nicking the thread or other materials against the hook point as you wrap them since this can weaken or sever the thread/material.
2.) Strip off some marabou from its stem and secure it in place just before the beginning of the hook bend. You can repeat this step to achieve the desired tail thickness, however it's best not to make the tail or tie-in spot too bulky.
3.) Now it's time to wrap down the chenille. As an option, you can pinch the end of the chenille and pull the fuzzy fibers off to expose a little section of the core. This makes it a bit less bulky at the tie-in spot.
4.) Secure the chenille down at the same spot as your marabou tail.
5.) Next, we'll secure in the tip of our hackle feather. Before doing this, it helps to first pull the hackle fibers back a bit so you don't trap extra fibers under the thread while wrapping it down on the hook.
6.) Go ahead and secure the tip of the hackle feather to the hook. After the feather is wrapped down, bring the thread to the front of the hook just before the hook eye so that you leave a bit of room behind the eye to work with. You don't need to take a ton of wraps when bringing the thread forward since it's merely just being repositioned.
7.) Keeping the hackle out of the way with your other hand, wrap the chenille neatly and evenly to the spot where your thread is waiting. Secure it down with several thread wraps and cut any excess chenille.
8.) Wrap the hackle around the body evenly towards the head several times. Once you reach the tie-in spot, you can make two or three wraps right here with the hackle (if desired) to add a bit more thickness around the collar. After the wraps are complete, tie off the feather with several thread wraps and snip off the excess.
9.) With everything secured, wrap the thread to form a neat head. As mentioned, the feather and chenille should ideally be tied-off slightly behind the hook eye rather than right up against it. This way, you leave a little room so you can form a clean thread head that's not too bulky or overlaps the hook eye. Finish your Bugger with a whip finish tool and add a touch of cement/glue if you wish. Be careful not to get any in the hook eye!
10.) Go fishing!