Sunday, March 23, 2014

Old Style Brookie Fishing


Old Style Brookie Fishing

 I fitted the ferrules together of the two piece Wonderod. I attached the old Martin Classic MC78 reel to the down locking seat and tightened the two locking rings. After threading the Cortland Sylk line through the small rod eyes I checked the leader and tippet for strength or abrasions. Seeing the leader/tippet was quite long for casting Woolly Buggers I trimmed a bit off to my desired length. I knotted on a white Woolly Bugger and added a little weight about a foot and a half up on the tippet. I grabbed an old baseball cap, a couple of cigars, vest and I was ready for some old school trout fishing.

The brook creek was running clear and cold. The water waved atop the surface as it flowed over rocks and around boulders. The flow banked off exposed tree trunks and rippled along the shallower pebbled sections. The sun filtered through the pine trees and glistened off the water. It was quiet, except for the soft sound of the flowing water, and a bit chilly but I was where I wanted to be, away from ‘it all.”

I lit up my first stogie and headed up creek to start my adventure. As I walked the bank I peered into the water to see if I could notice any brook trout holding near the bottom. When I got far enough I stepped off the bank and carefully stepped into the water not wanting to kick up much silt or dirt. With the clear water I knew my casts will have to be long, down and across so the trout won’t see me. I knew it would take a little time to get used to casting the soft action fiberglass rod so I took a few practice casts outward. I looked down creek, puffed on my cigar and began fishing the bugger down stream.
  It took awhile for my first strike. I was able to see my white Woolly Bugger as it swung from the far bank towards the middle of the creek. I let it waver there a bit and than twitched it now and than as I stripped it in slowly. I seen the light colored trout following it but wasn’t interested enough to grab it. My next cast I let it take the same course. I twitched it a bit more often as I stripped it in. Letting it ‘swim’ within my vision I saw the trout draw up and mouth it. I whipped the rod tip back with my wrist and the fiberglass rod arced downward. The lively brook trout scurried around in the shallow riffle splashing water about as he rose to the surface. I got him played toward the bank and admired his beautiful colors before letting it go.

 Continuing on I got better at casting the rod and was able to sidearm the bugger underneath pine boughs or drop the bugger, down creek, spot on near fallen deadwood. Most of the takes were light but the soft tip reacted with a twitch with each strike. Playing the trout was fun as the rod flexed with every jolt or dart that the brook trout took.
 I made my way, easy like, casting about as I slowly waded the creek. I changed weight often on the line due to the many water levels I was fishing in. At times, in slower current, I had no weight at all on and just let the bugger skirt just below the surface. In the shallower water I held the rod tip up but used enough weight, up from the bugger, so the bugger would waver just under the surface mid depth.
  Stripping the bugger through the shallower water towards me the rod flexed instantly downward and, out of natural reaction, my wrist jerked the rod up to set the hook. The brook trout scurried beneath the wavy riffles trying to loosen the hook. I waded towards the bank and coaxed him nearer me, the ’glass’ rod arcing effortlessly. Another fine colorful brook trout came to hand.

Coaxing a trout out from under a downed tree is always a challenge. It’s better to see your offering so you can read the current flow towards the hideaway. Positioning the rod at the right angle to let it drift into the trout sight without a hang up takes patience and usually a few tries to get it right. When you get it right you can see the trout dart out and take your offering and if the timing is right the line will tighten and a rewarding battle will result!

 As evening comes to a close I get to a section I’m sure I can pull my last trout out. With an overhand cast I shoot the bugger towards the far bank. It plops just before the steep far bank. As the bugger starts to swing I let more line out of the reel so the bugger drifts further down creek before it completes its arc. The drift takes the Woolly Bugger under the extending pine tree branches into the deeper hole. As it drifts towards the shallower waters, still under a long overhanging branch, a trout appears following my offering. One small twitch towards the bank and the trout maybe thinks the minnow like imitation is trying to get away. He darts quickly forward to eat it and with a backward rise of the rod I set the hook. The trout tries to scurry for cover into the deeper water beneath the limbs but the arc force of the ‘glass’ rod holds him back from going too far. He shoots down creek and I give him just enough line for a quick run to use up more of his energy. I move the rod towards the bank and he follows with quick, short, jerking tugs. My last brook trout comes to hand.
I change into street close and take the last puff of the Cohiba before pulling onto the roadway. The two hours spent on the brookie stream, old school style, was quite rewarding!!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Bugger Kind of Day

A Bugger Kind of Day

 We stood randomly spaced in a line like participants at a turkey shoot only we were knee deep in 39 degree water and our weapons were fly rods! 
 When I stepped out of the van, within sight of the creek, there was a guy already with a bent rod playing a trout. Nearer the shop door I saw three other fishermen testing their luck. The fly shop owner said fishermen did well catching trout yesterday on a variety of nymphs. After talking a bit and spending 30 some dollars I went back to the van to suit up. I noticed the creek water had dropped from the week before with just a tinch of color. Enough to hide the bottom but clear enough that the trout should be able to see stoneflies atop the surface should they hatch under the cloudy sky.

 So there I stood, with 4 other fly fishermen, casting nymphs and drifting them under an indicator. I was glad I put the extra fleece pull over on as it kept the chilling breeze from penetrating through my otherwise clothed body. The darken gray sky gave an uneasy feeling of rain. There was dampness in the air that might be a hint that a rain shower was coming our way or just the moisture in the air from the melting ice and saturated ground. A couple of gentlemen hooked up now and then within long intervals. Another fly fisherman showed up and positioned himself to my right. Within about 15 minutes he hooked up and continued occasionally for the next hour. I noticed that some of the fish, suckers and trout, were swimming sideways as he brought them in. He was using a tandem set up with at least 11 feet of leader/tippet under his indicator so I wasn’t too impressed.
  As the morning wore on I had seen 3 different rises to some unseen midges on the surface. I couldn’t resist and tried for them with a dry stonefly and an Adam midge without success. I went back to bottom dropping with a Picket Pin and a Hares Ear.
  I caught my first trout, a rainbow, on the Picket Pin. This got me thinking. The rainbows might start to be getting active as noon draws near. Taking the Picket Pin gives me the idea that they might not be just lying on the bottom or at least willing to rise for a passing meal below the surface. The rainbow I caught fought aggressively in the 39 degree water so they are quite active with a hook in their mouth. When the guy to my left decided to leave this gave me room to cast a Woolly Bugger and I didn’t think twice about giving it a try. On my third cast I felt a swipe. On my fifth cast I was playing a frisky rainbow towards me with a white bugger in its lip. He flipped out of the water three times, showing his size and acrobatic ability, before getting him to my net.

 The nymph fishermen kept nymphing, I kept with Woolly Buggers and the guy beside me brought a fish or two in sideways at times.
  Some of the strikes I got I could tell were short strikes. Others were swipes at the bugger as if to play with it like a cat swats at a wounded mouse. Occasionally I’d hook up and bring a trout in or lose it to an aggressive fight. During the third passing of a light shower it didn’t look as if it wasn’t going to stop. I waded out and went up to the van for a rain coat and a couple more cigars. I had a feeling, rain or not, the catching was only going to get better.

 Back on the water I started up from the big hole everyone had been fishing. I added a little more weight to the leader and worked the shallower riffles fishing my way down creek. A couple of kids showed up and filled the gaps between the other fishermen at the deeper hole even though it continued to sprinkle. I waded around them and continued casting buggers in the tail out and the quicker current beyond. I hooked up just after the tail out; landed a nice brown I caught near the far bank and lost another just before the bridge.

 The rain started to come down a little harder so I waded under the bridge to relight my stogie.
  Once I got down from the bridge you would of thought I was throwing bird seed to a bunch of cooped up chickens. I was getting fierce strikes, holding grabs and tailing swipes at my Woolly Buggers. The ones I did get a hook into put up fierce battles in the quicker current. I found trying to bring them towards me in the quickened current ended in lost fish. When I felt I had a good sized trout on I waded near the bank and brought them towards me in the slower and shallower current. Most of the fish I landed were only lip skin hooked which is why I figured I lost some in the faster current.
  The action didn’t let up for some time. I was happily alone and hooking into aggressive fish despite the rain shower under the dark sky. My stogie burned out and was too wet to relight so I doused it in the water and put it in my vest pocket. When the strikes finally stopped I decided to head back to the big hole.
  When I got within sight of the hole there was only one lone fly fisherman still standing. He was fishing the inlet current towards the big deeper hole. It was time for me to see if those trout wanted some meat instead of the small morsels of a nymph.
  It didn’t take long to land a rainbow out of the hole. Within 10 minutes the other fisherman left. I had the whole creek to myself. I worked the big hole and the tail out riffles pretty thoroughly with buggers picking up a few more trout. It wasn’t until I broke off on a back cast that I started to wonder what time it was. I checked my watch and it was about 5:15. I leaned my Scott rod against a slab of ice, that hadn’t melted yet, lying along the bank and proceeded to try and add a section of tippet to the leader I had left.
  The bifocals, on my polarized glasses, were wet and made my vision through them distorted. I looked at my Spuds lens cleaner cloth, hanging from my vest, and it was pretty wet. The front of my shirt was wet also. I wrung out the cleaning cloth as best I could and wiped the lenses in hopes not to impair my vision. I found, at the right angle, I’d be able to see the knots without much problem. I pulled out a section of 4X tippet and began the procedure in tying a double uni knot connecting the 4x to the leader. My finger tips were wet and chapped from the cold air from fishing in it all day. I didn’t have much feeling in my finger tips so being able to see the tag ends was very necessary. After making the first knot around the leader I started to wet the knot with saliva and kind of chuckled to myself as the leader/tippet was already wet. I pulled it tight and tied the leader knot to the tippet. I pulled both lines in opposite directions to clinch the knots and they came together in the form of two big rain drops.  
 I reached back into my back pocket and pulled out my big Perrine fly box that held my Woolly Buggers. I selected an olive bugger and used an improved clinch knot to tie it on the end of the tippet. With a short strip of lead matchstick I twisted this on the leader just above the double uni knot. I picked up the Scott rod and grabbed the wet cork handle. I was back in business and ready to go.

“Just one more trout” I thought, “maybe two!”




Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Slow Day in March


A Slow Day in March

 With a few warmer days in early March and the stocking of trout in some of the project areas I decided to go fishing on Tuesday. In Pennsylvania there is no fishing in approved trout waters from the 1st of March until the first day of trout season in April except for special regulated waters. I headed to Volant, early Tuesday, to meet up with a few friends and fish the Neshannock Creek.

 Arriving in the parking area I found blocks of ice lining the creek banks from the recent heavy winter freeze and thaw. The creek was flowing high and cloudy but fishable. The water was around 37 degrees in the morning though the air temperature was above forty and would rise above 50 in the afternoon. There were already fishermen out and about in the off color water when I strolled down to the creek just to take a look at conditions. Back at the van I took my dry fly boxes out of my vest, grabbed my 5wt and headed down to the creek to join the fellow fishermen. The most answered reply to anyone asking the question “How’s the fishing?” was “It’s a slow day!”
 The nymph fishermen were in the ‘cast, drift, follow, recast, drift, follow’ routine as I expected. A couple of guys with spinning outfits were throwing hardware out and about taking notice of the indicators the nymph guys were using. Though the water was cloudy and the trout possibly being in a lethargic state, I attached a Woolly Bugger and began to swing and dead drift it without an indicator. I figured, until I see the nymph fishermen starting to catch fish, I’ll stick with the buggers and streamers.
 A guy up creek caught a couple of suckers on sucker spawn. The first trout I seen caught, in some time, was a guy fishing a run with a stonefly nymph. I switched to nymph fishing briefly and without any success went back to buggers.
  I was down creek when I had my first strike. The trout hit the bugger so hard it busted off the 5x tippet just below the knot. And I thought the trout were lethargic! I knotted on a length of 4x tippet and continued with a white bugger. I noticed the two spin fishermen, throwing hardware, hooked into a couple trout which gave me a little more confidence to keep using streamers.
  Nearing noon the outside temperature warmed with the sun and I was hoping the water was warming also. The water didn’t appear to be clearing up any but it was pleasant enough outside that it didn’t appear anyone was leaving.

 It was a long cast towards the far bank. As soon as the bugger hit the water I mended the fly line up creek in order to let the bugger drop deeper before the current swept the fly line down creek. The slower current, where my bugger dropped, pushed my bugger towards a stronger wavy current between two near surface boulders. As the bugger started to move into the seam, between the boulders, I felt the hurried grab and set the hook with a sharp upward lift of the rod. I felt the heavy fish swim into the stronger current behind the nearest submerged boulder and continued into the rougher water down creek. I had a good grip on the rod and let some line slip off the reel as I waded back towards the bank. I was trying to get him into the slower current near my side of the bank but he was putting up a good fight in the stronger current. Once nearer to me I saw the white bugger on his lip. I scooped him up and finally had my first fish of the day.

 For about the next half hour I fished the white Woolly Bugger without a strike. I didn’t notice any of the nymph fishermen doing any better. I broke for lunch and met up with my friends. We enjoyed wine, cheese, crackers as well as pepperoni and peperoncini’s in the parking lot.

 After lunch I lit up a Romeo y Julieta cigar and headed back to the water. It was still slow going as I began a little up creek from where I started in the morning. After about a half hour I waded to the bank and started down creek. You know it’s a good cigar when a guy, just down creek, asked what I’m smoking because it sure smelled good!!
The water had risen some and more slabs of ice were floating down creek so I had to be careful wading. I continued with an assortment of streamer trying to cover as much water as I could. It wasn’t till a guy next to me was hooking up time and again on nymphs that I decided to change to the dark side. I tied on a weighted black stonefly nymph and a beaded black stonefly as a dropper. I ended catching two more browns before calling it quits, one brown I caught using an indicator and one without.

I wasn’t out of the parking lot before lighting up a Montecristo Classic for the drive home!



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Spring in February

Spring in February
Weekend of 2/22/14

It’s been a harsh winter in Pennsylvania. An abundance of snow and freezing weather kept the back roads impassable and the creeks and rivers frozen over here in the northwestern part of the state. I got a lot of tying done but hadn’t wet a line since some time in December. I heard that Spring Creek had open water in central PA. Over the past weekend there was a break in the weather with warmer temps and even sunshine. I loaded up the van and headed to Spring Creek for the weekend.

Arriving Friday evening I had a couple of hours of daylight so I grabbed the readied Powel fly rod to loosen up the casting shoulder and test the waters. The creek was flowing in about perfect condition as far as I was concerned. There was enough color to not be able to see the creek bed except along the shallows, but clear enough that a passing nymph should be noticed by any nearby trout.
  Snow covered the banks of the creek and it was nice to see no floating ice upon the water. Though the sun was out, the dampness and coldness of the ground snow, kept a chill in the air. I dressed warm, and with my neoprene chest waders on, I was pretty sure the cold breeze wouldn’t penetrate through my covered body. There was no need for gloves which made it nice.
 I crunched through the snow and was careful walking down to the water from the slight drop from the roadway to the creek. With an Oliva Master Blend Cigar gracing my lips, my pleasant quiet surroundings, wild trout waters and casting a fly rod put a genuine smile on my face.
  It didn’t take long to experience the expected. Not fishing for awhile I got my tippet/leader tangled up often casting the tandem nymph combination. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth just snipping the mess off and starting over or taking the time to untangle the mess. I was pretty relaxed and not in a hurry so I took my time, on each occasion, to untangle mating nymphs with the teardrop indicator. Then there was getting used to knowing my limitations of casting mobility. I had to get my sixth sense back. Knowing how far I can back-cast due to obstacles behind me without looking back with each cast. Knowing when I needed to sidearm cast to get my presentation under the overhanging branches. And taking time to ’feel’ the rod and cutting the breeze to get my offering near enough to my designated target on the first cast. Reading the current correctly to know when and in which direction to mend when needed. It took some time to get the feel, and a little frustration with hang ups, but it did come back to me and it all felt good.
  By the time the light faded I had only brought 1 small brown trout to the net. I had two others on but lost them and rolled at least one I got to see. I was a bit frustrated that I only netted the one but I got an inkling what nymphs might work for tomorrow and what to expect as far as water conditions.
  Supper was just a half of a sub sandwich, a small bag of chips and a 16oz can of domestic beer. There isn’t much to do in my van once darkness arrives but I took the time to add some of my new ties to my existing fly boxes and organize my vest, knowing which pockets everything was from last year. Once I got it toasty inside I crawled underneath the sleeping back, added an extra cover blanket and closed my eyes hoping for a better tomorrow.
Brrr… There was a chill in the morning. I opened my eyes and there was frost on the windshield. The sun was already on the rise but I wasn’t in any hurry to fish in freezing temperatures. While the van warmed up I made myself a cup of hot tea and started breakfast of a few sausage links and a biscuit. (I forgot the eggs!) After that I put on my fishing wear and strung up my Scott SAS 5 weight. It was a bit windy and I felt the stiffer medium fast action rod will do me well for the day. I put a bottle of water in my back pouch and took a couple cigars to last a bit. I figured I’d fish an hour and once it warms up a bit more return to drop off some clothes being that it was to maybe get to 50 degrees by this afternoon.
  I started fishing where I started the evening before. Usually I’m able to pull something out of the narrow stretch but failed to before I got to the bridge. I took my time nymphing down stream, casting into pocket waters and seams, along the way. I don’t have much patience to stand in one place very long and nymph fish. I’m usually a streamer guy when there are no bugs on the water. I’m used to covering a lot of water and keep on moving. Nymph fishing takes more patience and prayers as far as I am concerned. Not ever catching a trout in Spring Creek on a streamer and because of the colder conditions I decided to resort to nymphing!
  After an hour things were warming up but it wasn’t the fly rod. I only caught one trout and had to add ’the big one got away’ to my short list. I returned to the van and discarded my fleece pullover. I filled my water bottle and grabbed a few more cigars. I wasn’t sure when I would return but I planned on making it down stream quite a ways.
 From my vest pocket I took out a Punch cigar as I stood before the tumbling water that flowed over and between visible rock formations. The flame, of the Zippo lighter, wavered with the swirling breeze as I concentrated on lighting the barrel of the Churchill. Puffs of smoke circled within my cupped palm before being whisked away by a gust of wind. Once lit, I put the lighter into my wader chest pocket as the sweet natural outer tobacco leaf sensed my lips. I looked the water over directly, picked out a slower seam in between the rougher water and dropped the indicator into the oncoming flow. A subtle mend put my offering downstream and away from my indicator and I followed the drift with my rod tip horizontal with the surface. As the drift got nearer to the tail-out a shift in the indicator gave me the warning. A quick lift and hook set and the line tightened and rod flexed downward. The trout pulled with a good jerk and than swam towards the far side with hesitating tugs. I let some line slip through my fingers until he turned upstream. There he glided into the current with tensioned line. As I moved the rod upstream and back to my left he grudgingly followed with resistance. Circling, he darted down creek with the current back into the tail-out. I kept the rod tip horizontal with the surface water not wanting him to come to the surface fearing the oncoming current would put excessive strain on the #16 hook that might just have just pierced his lip. With my left hand I pulled out my net and let it dangle from my belt. A little maneuvering of the rod I got the wild brown nearer enough and scooped him up into the net.

 Within minutes of the release I caught another before moving on down stream.
 I waded down for some time without a strike before making a stand in a deeper flow. I added a little more weight to my leader and concentrated drifting the tandem rig through the deep current flow. This time the line pulled outward with a sweeping take. The smaller brown jerked profusely while I brought him to hand.
 I continued to drift the nymphs in the same general area. Next hook up the indicator dipped beneath and I raised the rod. A heavy trout turned down creek as the rod bent in an arc. I knew I had on a big one and I let him swim down creek with the drag tension. Line slowly peeled off the spool as I palmed the reel not wanting him to get too comfortable with his escape. He took line down creek and it was if there was no stopping him. I tried to turn him but the force was more than what I expected and for some unexplained reason the line went limp. After bringing in the limp line I discovered the 5x tippet snapped somewhere between the San Juan worm and the lost Hares Ear. The big one got away. I stood there frustrated for a second or two. I puffed on the Churchill before tying on another.
  I waded and fished my way further down creek and was rewarded now and then with hook ups. The flies I have selected appeared to be the right combination for what the trout were interested in. I missed a few hook ups, lost a few trying to bring them in in the current but was happily satisfied with the ones I did bring to the net.

T he sun shined brightly and the catching slowed down some as I continued on. I spooked a few trout in the shallows as I waded the middle of the creek. I was just around the bend, in a slow wide section of the creek, when I looked behind me against the bank nearer the trail. A narrow stream of current waved into, what looked like a deeper hole, beneath an overhanging bush. The water shallowed quickly after the bush and than tumbled over the very shallow stony riffles that extended across the creek. I’ve been getting some of my hook ups in tail-outs and thought, just maybe, a trout might be sunning himself in the shallower tail out. Turning towards the bank I looped the line, indicator and offerings towards the bank. The indicator landed up stream from the bush with my offerings plopping nearer to the bank. A slight mend gave me a good drift and I watched as the indicator rolled with the wavy current. The indicator started to drift outward after passing the bush with the shift in the current. I swear I felt the strike before the indicator gave me an indication of the strike. I reared back and a trout came to the surface with a tight line and flexed rod. The fish hassled with the tight line on the surface and, fear the current push was too much, I brought the rod tip to the surface water and tried to get the fish to fight beneath the surface. He did just that and I was able to guide him to the deeper water midstream. There he wrestled with line and leader trying to unhook himself from the bottom nymph. After a few more tugs he took off toward the open waters and swam up creek to my right. I continued to play the lively brown trout until I successfully got him within netting distance. A fine brown trout was not going to escape this time.

 After that fish I was pretty far down stream. I came across a couple of other anglers and waded to the bank behind them. Within a half hour I reached my furthest destination and decided to walk the road back to the van.

  At the van I took off my coat and vest and let the cold breeze cool my overheated body. It was nearing 3:30pm. I ate the rest of the sub and a couple of pieces of venison jerky. After resting a while I was recharged and ready to continue till dark. First and foremost a good cigar was in order. There was a hefty looking dark Antano Corojo cigar in my traveling humidor. The dark wrapper and fat ring size looked intimidating but I was ready for this one. Upon the light up a dark smoky cloud rose up from the end of the barrel. The taste of the inner tobacco was bold and flavorful. I held the big stogie between my teeth, grabbed my fly rod and headed back to the creek!

I fished my way back to where I missed the big fish. I didn’t hook up with him again but did manage a nice wide tailed brown that put up a good spirited fight.

 This time when I got back to the van it was 6:45pm. I was pretty much whipped. I changed clothes, while quenching my thirst with a 16 ounce, and was more in wanting a nap than eating.

 Now many of my friends always questioned me of why I didn’t buy a truck instead of my van. They would tell me about how it is more durable and useful. How I can sleep in it just like my van. I simply would say to them that I don’t have to take the time and blow up an air mattress or reorganize things every time I want to go to sleep. If it rains or snows I don’t have to go outside, from the driver’s seat, get wet to get to my bed. If it gets cold at night I only have to start the engine to warm the insides. I don’t have to bring along a heater. Everything I need is in the confines of my van within reach and don’t need to go outside unless absolutely necessary in bad weather. The conversation usually ends after my reply.

  With the van warmed by now, I shut off the engine and crawled under my sleeping bag on the reclining back cushioned bench seat.
I’m not sure if it was that my ears got cold or the sounds my belly was making that woke me up. Anyhow, I slept longer than I expected and woke up around 9:45pm with my stomach growling at me. While the heater warmed the inside of the van I took out my single burner Coleman stove and prepared supper. Nothing like hot chicken and biscuits after a long day of fishing. Oh, and a good lager before turning in for the night!

 I only spent a half a day on Sunday fishing the same area. The brisk morning felt a bit chillier than the day before but I didn’t mind nor did the ducks.

 Clouds overshadowed the sun briefly now and than but it were just as peaceful as the days before. I ended catching a couple of nice wild browns that ended this weekend in good spirits.

 Another Punch Churchill was my rewarding smoke for the long drive home. A break in the cold weather well taking advantage of!!


Friday, February 7, 2014

Woolly Bugger Tute

Wooly Bugger Tute

Wooly Buggers are one of the easiest streamers to tie. They can be dead drifted, stripped in and even jigged to entice fish to bite. They will catch many different species of fish depending on the size they are tied in. The colors are endless and I’m sure there are many ways to tie them.
  Following are the best colors I’ve used to catch trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass as well as steelhead and pan fish. You will see I use weighted wire around the hook shank. This gives my buggers the added weight to get down quickly without having to add split shots, unnecessarily, to the leader/tippet that may cause weakness on the crimped line.
  Buggers represent anywhere from bait fish to dobsonfly nymphs as well as drifting crayfish or hellgrammites and anything that looks edible in between.
  I tie 98% of my buggers on #10 Mustad hooks. I’m not much for a lot of flash in my buggers as I feel they scare the fish in clearer water. Just enough in the tail to shimmer and draw attention. The same basic directions are used whether using a bead head or not.

DT’s Wooly Bugger Tute

Hook: Mustad 9672 #10
Thread: Olive #6
Weight: .030 lead or lead free wire
Tail: Two Olive Marabou Blood Quills
Tail flash: Krystal Flash
Rib: Webby barred olive saddle hackle feather
Body: Medium olive chenille
Head: Thread wrapped (bead optional)

1. Base thread the hook shank. Let thread rest so it is just in front of the hook point.

2. Starting just in front of the thread counter wrap the lead wire forward leaving space before the hook eye.

2a. Wind a few wraps of thread around the weight and return the thread to the hook bend.

3. I like to trim the finer tips off the marabou on my olive buggers.

4. Measure marabou tail a little longer than the length of the overall hook length.
5. Tie in marabou tail butt up against the start of the lead wire. This will keep the body of the fly uniform.

6. Take three strands of Krystal flash and, bending in the middle, tie down just in front of the tail, extending back so three strands are on each side of the marabou.

7. Tie in hackle feather for rib. Again, keep this tied down behind lead wraps.
8. Tie in chenille. For a chubby body tie in the full length of the hook shank leaving room before eye. For a thinner body, tie off before lead wraps.

9. Wind chenille tightly towards eye one wrap in front of the other. Tie down and trim tagged end.

10. Palmer hackle feather, over chenille, towards eye leaving gaps between wraps. Trim off excess.

11. Finish head with thread and add head cement. I use a hollow brass tube to guide thread wraps over hook eye to finish off head.Wind thread around tube twice and then guide over hook eye.

Finished Bugger

For bead head bugger.
Add bead and than follow instructions above.
I'll use .020 lead wire for bead head buggers.

Here are some of my common Woolly Buggers shown wet. You can see how the marabou shinks down but still giving the bugger a nice full figure.