My Favorite Flies:
Woolly Fur-Bugger

My Favorite Flies



 Photos and text by Peter Frailey


I fell in love with the Fur Bugger the first time I tied it.  To me this variation is buggier and more nymph-like than the standard bugger.  Indeed, much of the time I fish them like nymphs, dead-drifted over the bottom.  But if swing ‘em to the surface after the drift is completed and you’ll nail fish, too.

Tying Sequence:

Hook: Size 6 to 16, 2xl or 3xl
Thread #1: 3/0
Weight: 6 to 12 wraps lead wire
Tail: Rabbit fur
Thread #2: 3/0 or thinner, same size or downsize from Thread #1
Hackle: Rooster saddle feather or two hen neck feathers
Body: Dubbing

Ingredients shown in photos:

Hook: Tiemco 5263, size 10
Thread #1: Olive Danville Flat Waxed Nylon
Weight: Lead wire, .025” inch diameter
Tail: Olive rabbit fur from Zonker strip
Thread #2: Brown Danville 3/0
Hackle: Two brown Conranch hen neck feathers
Body: Olive Krystal Dub


Tying instructions are also available at where the Woolly Fur-Bugger was posted as a "Fly of the Week" in April, 2005

For some background on this fly, read Flies With a Story: Woolly-Fur Bugger

Step-by-step Instructions:

Step 1: Prepare the hook by pinching down the barb, wrapping the shank with thick thread and adding 8-12 wraps of lead wire.  I use wire that is about the diameter of the hook shank.

Step 2: Form a cigar-like underbody by completely covering the lead wire with wraps of thread.  Taper the body at both ends of the lead wire.  Thick thread covers the lead wire quickly and will help cinch down the rabbit fur tail.

Step 3: Tie in a bunch of rabbit fur with just a few turns of thread.  The tail should be about as long as the hook shank. Shown here is fur removed from about 1” of an olive Zonker strip.  (You will notice that to create a bugger-length tail you will need to work with a short tie-in area.)

Step 4: Add a touch of head cement or nail polish to the rabbit fur butts.

Step 5: Tie down the butts tightly.  This will squeeze the head cement into the fur and swirl it around the shaft, creating a secure bond.

Step 6: Use a whip knot tool to place a whip knot at the back of the body, right over the cemented area and cut off the thread.  Coat the entire thread-covered body with a layer of nail polish. This will help keep the lead from discoloring the dubbing after it becomes wet from fishing.

Tip 1:  Remove the hook from the vise and set aside to dry. (I like to stick the hook into a discarded chunk of Styrofoam.) Repeat the process with five more hooks.  After preparing six hooks, re-insert the first hook (which should then be dry) into your vise, and move to step 7.  Keep tying until you have completed all six flies!  For me, that’s a nice 1 to 1˝ hour evening activity!

Step 7: Re-start using thread #2 and dub about 1” of thread.

Step 8: Create a few wraps of dubbing. 

Step 9: Tie in the first hen neck feather, by the tip. 

Tip 2: If you choose feathers with barbs of a length about 1˝ times the hook gap, a hen neck feather will typically give you three palmered wraps around a dubbed body.  So, you will need two hen feathers to complete the job.  Or, use one rooster saddle feather.

Step 9: Dub the body to approximately mid-shank.

Tip 3: If you prefer, strip off one side of the hackle before wrapping to provide a softer result.

Step 10: Palmer the hackle forward to mid-shank, making two complete wraps.  I stroke the barbs toward the rear, using my left hand, as I palmer forward. Tie off and trim.

Step 11: Tie in the second hackle.

Tip 4: Different colored hackles will create a two-tone appearance.

Step 12: Dub the front half of the shank

Tip 5: If desired, use a different colored dubbing for a two-tone appearance.

Step 13: Palmer the second hackle forward, making three complete wraps.  You will now have made a total of five wraps of hackle from back to front.  In the photo, there appear to be only four wraps because the fourth and fifth wraps are side-by-side in front of the dubbing, to create a subtle collar.



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