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Fly Fishing Articles by Davy Wotton

christmas tree wooly bugger
The White River Christmas Tree Wooly Bugger

Wooly buggers are popular type streamer flies and certainly do catch many fish. This pattern of mine is based on the standard wooly bugger fly but contains other elements which trigger responses from fish, essentially mobility and colour coordination. It is not a difficult fly to tie and should not present too many problems for the beginner level tier. Note the appearance of little lights in the tail from which this pattern draws its name.

Materials for the White River Christmas tree are:

  • Marabou turkey - Olive-Red-Orange
  • Pearl chenille - Olive or Peacock
  • Tinsel chenille - Gold
  • Hackles - Regular rooster or grizzle dyed olive.
  • Ribbing tinsel - Oval gold
  • Crystal flash - Olive or Gold
  • Hook - Any size of longshank. Size 10/8/6 the most useful.
  • Additions - Cyclops or Cone head in gold.

Tying Instructions
Place the hook in the vice. Run a thread base to a position above the hook point. Tie in at this point a short section of either red or orange marabou. Above the lower marabou tie in a longer section of the olive marabou, take the thread to the tail end of the hook shank.

At this point tie in about 6/8 strands of either gold or olive crystal flash. Here also tie in a section of the gold oval tinsel and also the olive or peacock chenille which ever color you choose. Take the thread to the hook eye position and wind your chenille body. Secure and cut off excess.

Prepare now your hackle. Strip off all waste fiber and tie in the hackle below the hook shank by the hackle stem not the tip. Wind the hackle with two turns at the head end of the fly and then continue with 5 equal spaced turns to the tail end of the fly body. Bring back toward the hook eye the oval ribbing tinsel. This will secure the hackle palmer style.

When you have reached the tying thread secure the oval tinsel. Cut off excess hackle tip and tinsel ribbing material. Finally at the head of the fly tie in and make one or two full turns of the gold tinsel chenille. Make your final whip finish. Good job!

Davy's Tying Tips
If you use the practice of ribbing a palmered hackle it is far more secure and will not be broken so easily by the fishes teeth. When you come to make the final whip finish to the fly add your head cement to the thread just below the hook eye. When you make the final whip finish you have the head completed and do not have to mess around after with the fly is complete. This is by far the most efficient way to do it - particularly for real small flies when you run the risk of clogging up the small eye with cement.

Davy Wotton

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