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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    PNW--College Place, WA.

    Default My Wooly Buggers

    I have the means to make flies but rarely ever do--I was given a kit owned by my late uncle. Last week I followed the Orvis instructions to make some green wooly buggers and came up with these three. Fish loved them so much I lost one to a larger fish. Tails are a bit long and I trimmed them eventually. Definitely will make more.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    The good old Wooly Bugger is on my top 10 patterns to carry list. I like to add a colored bead, tie it in black and call it an Egg Sucking Leech......but they're essentially the same. I have entire box full to the gills with them in various colors. Black, Brown, White, Olive and Purple. Leech, sculpin, baitfish, name the critter.....a bugger can imitate it.

    A few suggestions to help you out.....when tying in the tail, size the marabou so it is the length of the hook. Getting proper proportions just takes practice.

    I also like to counter wrap the palmered body hackle with wire. Fish don't care too much...but it does help them last.

    Check out this step by step tutorial of the Wooly Bugger from the fly tying jedi master....Charlie Craven.

    Wooly Bugger - Charlie's Fly Box

    Thanks for sharing..... keep at it.



    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

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  4. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Manning, S. C. (formerly MD)

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    I'm sure there are many of us that started tying on a whim, and without formal instruction. Video's can be useful, but personal instruction is even better. Unfortunately, not everyone has that luxury. Tying is something that only doing it & continuing to do it will improve the results. However, bad habits won't make you a better tyer. Forums such as this one, and critique can help too.

    That's some ugly flies, although some nice colors, but as you've found, even ugly flies catch fish. I've probably tied worse looking flies when I first started, as most of my materials were scavenged from off the ground, my dad's hunting and my mothers sewing supplies. We all do it as we start tying.

    Yes, the tails are longer than they should be. Proportions are important, primarily for function, not always for appearance. Long tails on a bugger can have fouling problems, but I tie some too with long tails because bass love them. I deal with the fouling.

    I see some thread wraps on that one fly, where you tied in the tail at the rear of the hook. Try tying the marabou stems along most of the hook shank to secure them, leaving room near the hook eye to finish the head, then cover it with the body material and hackle wraps. That will eliminate that bump of thread wraps and provide a smoother looking body. Any fly needs a solid foundation and tying along the hook shank, instead on one small spot, will provide it.

    The hackle wraps are messy, but I've never found that the fish care about that. Selecting the proper hackle for the fly size is something that most beginning tyers can't do well. Your's don't look too out of proportion for that size hook, just look messy. The more you tie, the easier that is to accomplish. If you tie the hackle in near the rear of the body, and by the tip, and wrap forward, you'll get a nice, tapered look to the hackle. Just be careful about twisting it as you wrap, as that may cause it to break. A rotary type vise can help here if you have one. Otherwise, it's a hand over hand method. Keeping tension on the hackle at all times, until you can secure it with thread wraps. Actually, that applies to most materials being wrapped. Tension, when applied correctly will make a more durable & nice looking fly. It's something that has to be learned & practiced.

    Please do make more! You can likely use the extra flies, and the more of them that you tie, the more you'll see how to improve on them.

    Tying is not difficult, it's just about learning the basic techniques and developing with them.

    Thanks for sharing them! Looking forward to seeing more. I hope what I've posted here will help you!
    Remember, no one likes to be behind the big truck, but that's better than being under it!

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  6. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Brazoria County, SE Texas
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    Those look good to me, nothing wrong with doing some with long tails and especially since the fish approved.

    Fishing Woolly Buggers | MidCurrent
    Wherever you go, there you are.

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  8. #5

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    Quote Originally Posted by wjlapier View Post
    I have the means to make flies but rarely ever do--I was given a kit owned by my late uncle. Last week I followed the Orvis instructions to make some green wooly buggers and came up with these three. Fish loved them so much I lost one to a larger fish. Tails are a bit long and I trimmed them eventually.
    Did you get any "short strikes" where you felt a hit but you didn't hook the fish?

    That is one problem with too long a tail.

    If I can make a few suggestions on your flies, I would agree with Flitie09 that you need to work on proportions and consistency.

    You will notice that the proportions are "inconsistently inconsistent". What I mean by that is that sometimes a fly tier will have a fly that out of proportion but the flies are consistent. This may because the tier is using the wrong hook or has the wrong fly image in his mind. But the consistent nature of the inconsistency means that the tier is able to both judge and control the amount of material and it's placement. So the tying the proper proportion is a minor adjustment.

    As a beginner, you need to work both on the amount of material and its placement.

    Another thing I notice is the sizing of the hackle. I would have preferer a bit longer hackle that tapers from from the front of the fly to the back as it is palmered. Again this is judgement. But more than sizing, the hackle shows crowding at the rear of the fly to the right and canting forward of the rear hackles on the fly to the right. On the right fly, this is due to over wrapping of the thread. Why the there are multiple thread wraps, I have no clue. What was the reason?

    The thread appears to be whitish shade. Try to match the color of the fly, in this case green. If you don't have the right color at least try to match the shade of the color so a darker thread would have hidden the tread wraps better.

    The thread use is too thick in my opinion. Use a thin a thread as you can. Is this tying thread since it looks very thick for the fly.

    The length of the marabou tails has been mentioned. On the fly to the right the tail looks to be about 4 times the body length. It should be about one body length.

    As with most flies, you tied the tail on first. So you must have noticed that the tail was much too long when you tied it on. Just unwrap the tail and correct the error at the time it was made. This is a critical lesson in fly tying. It forces you to inspect the fly at each step. It forces you to decide whether the proportion is correct or not. If you are unsure, you can go ahead and tie the fly and inspect it when you are finished. Then decide when you have the entire fly tied whether that area of the fly looks good or not.

    You must be willing to take time and self evaluate your tying. Otherwise you will continue to make the same error over and over.

    I hope you take this post in the spirit I wrote it. I want you to become a better fly tier as fast as possible.

    Every tier began as a beginner and we all made the same types of errors and went through the same learning process. Keep at it. Your flies will improve and spending the time now to self evaluate will make you both a better and faster fly tier.
    Last edited by silver creek; 05-13-2019 at 05:06 PM.


    "Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy

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  10. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Portland and Maupin, Oregon

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    I've taught many beginners to tie. The first pattern I always teach is the Woolley Bugger. If those are your initial creations they ar much better than most I've seen. Personally, I like to tie in a piece of wire at the bend. Then wrap or dub the body. After that I tie in the base of the hackle feather at the eye of the hook and palmer it to the bend. Then counter wrap with the wire and finish off the head. The hackle seems to wind truer for me this way with no twist. I can also judge the size of the hackle tips at the head of the fly better and get a nice hackle taper back to the bend. A little crystal flash in the tail and ice dub in the body helps draw strikes. Flash and movement are two main fly ingredients that fish like.

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  12. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    They look like a cross between a palm tree and a pineapple LOL

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  14. #8

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    To the OP........ ALL of us had some rather interesting first flies when we started out. My original post wasn't intended to be a negative critique or the impetus for others to pile on. As the OP wasn't necessarily asking for feedback, maybe he simply wished to share an accomplishment with the NAFFF group.

    Most of us are simply offering constructive feedback. Pointing out certain things that could easily be improved for next time.

    Keep at've accomplished more with those buggers than many fly anglers will ever attempt.


    “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.”
    ~Zane Grey

    " . . . shouldn't a man stand on his own two feet and catch his own steelhead? Maybe put out some effort and find his own fish just for the fun of it?"
    ~Syd Glasso

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  16. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    If you figure out which side of a marabou feather to strip of the fibers you can make really good looking buggers. You strip one side of the quill leaving the tip which will be your tail. Lash down the quill then palmmer wrap the feather up over the body and tie it off at the head. Trim the butt and finich a head and you are done.

    To avoid the stem of the feather breaking - after you strip one side soak the feathers in warm water. It will seem strange tying with the wet matted fibers but you'll figure it out.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  17. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    PNW--College Place, WA.

    Default Re: My Wooly Buggers

    No offense taken from anyone regarding my ugly wooly buggers. haha...I'm a big boy and can handle it--and there is a lot of good instruction in what was written. In fact, I learned a lot reading your responses. The idea to make my own, or attempt to make my own, came about after trying several different store bought buggers of different colors. Green being the most popular with the fish. This was a quick decision and I checked a couple of videos online and immediately went and bought some supplies from a local Sportsman's Warehouse. I didn't see any hackle material so I improvised with what I have already.

    As for materials:

    I found the saddle hackle after I made the flies. I used the other hackle next to it.

    So, the fun part of this was actually making these and catching fish. I experience this before with some zebra midges I made ( first flies ever ) but this was different since the buggers were hit so often.

    Check these out. My son made these in 7th grade in an after school activity class. He graduates this year. Lucky kid is going to University of Montana. He gave me these flies but I'll never use them--hate to lose even one.

  18. Thanks bigjim5589 thanked for this post
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