December 2011


Jeffery Skeate


Bead: 1/8" Bead of Choice
Hook: #10 Nymph or Streamer
Thread:Black thread of choice
Tail: Black Marabou with a few underlying strands of black Crystal Flash
Body:Yellow Chenille palmered with large Grizzly hackle feather
Tying Instructions and Commentary:

Tying Instructions:

  1.   Slide bead over hook point and up to eyelet.  Mount hook in vice.
  2.   Attached eight strands of black Crystal Flash to hook bend and cut to same length as Marabou tail.
  3.    Attach black Marabou tail over Crystal Flash.
  4.    Attach butt end of large Grizzly hackle feather just above Marabou tail.
  5.    Attach Yellow Chenille over Grizzly hackle feather.
  6.    Wrap Yellow Chenille over hook, tie off behind bead and cut off the tag end.
  7.    Palmer Grizzly hackle feather up to bead, tie off behind bead and cut off the tag end.
  8.    Finish fly by half-hitch knots behind bead.


Jerry Grehl asked me to present my favorite winter fly, and here it is. “#10 NHYWBTB” is an acronym for "#10 Nymph Hook Yellow Wooly Black Tail Beaded", which distinguishes it from other woolies I tie.  I use a #10 nymph hook because I have a lot of them left over from somewhere and don't use them anymore for anything else - you may use whatever hook you prefer.  The Wooly Bugger pattern is thought to have originated with a fisherman named Russell Blessing of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1967, which on the surface doesn't give it much antiquity.  Mr. Blessing tied the pattern to attract bass, and it's supposed to resemble a hellgrammite or Dobsonfly nymph.  The pattern's precise origin is somewhat obscure, but it clearly is a diversion from the Wooly Worm, which itself is an evolution of the old British palmer fly, dating back to Dame Juliana Berners, Izaak Walton and Charles Cotton.  I have landed winter trout in northeast Iowa on this particular Wooly Bugger pattern for close to twenty seasons now and that makes it my favorite.  It also works very well in stained water.

Photograph ©2011 by Marv Slind