03
Jan
09

Woolly Worm’s Resurrection

Woolly Worm

Woolly Worm

Do you recall a time of no fly shops, or at least not many? You would walk into a hardware store, that decided to carry fishing supplies. Mostly spinning gear and trolling rigs, Pautzke’s Eggs, sinkers and snelled hooks were on the wall. An assortment of pliers, a refrigerator with worms, and gizmo’s to hook your catch onto before headed home for the fish fry. Also, there was a very small spot at the end of a counter made of  plastic or wood that had twelve small bins, with half empty. In the used portions were flies. Big Royal Coachman; a yellow body leadwing coachman, some other effort at a dry fly, and eventually you would eye the Woolly Worm…usually a yellow chenille body, a palmered grizzly or light dun hackle and the bright red tail. That bright red tail was the attractor more often than not for the fingers plucking the fly from the bin and the trout or perch grabbing the fly tethered to a gawdawful heavy line.

Over time, fly shops grew into prominence and the fly fisher did not enter the True Value store anymore unless looking for mantels for the lantern or Coleman Fuel. And, without noticing, the Woolly Worm gave way to the ubiquitous Woolly Bugger. The undulating Marabou tail out performed  the glowing red hackle fibered or yarn tail. Well, there is no doubt the Woolly Worm in all its variations is one awesome fly. However, I am intending to start an exploratory endeavor this next year with the Woolly Worm. Yes, I will have the yellow body and red tail for old time’s sake. But, I am going to use some of the newer sparkle chenilles and a few dubbed bodies. I am going to experiment with different colored tail colors, using some of the hot colored steelhead feathers. Sans marabou, it will be the same as a Woolly Bugger, but I want to pay homage to that clunky size 10 fly from the hardware store and let it push the leech pattern aside for a bit and see if it can suggest the dragon, damsel, hellgramite and cased caddis.  

wooly20worm1

  Woolly Worm Model


3 Responses to “Woolly Worm’s Resurrection”


  1. 1 Lorenzo Swanson
    August 23, 2009 at 12:41

    I found this site searching for other versions of the Wooly Worm fly pattern. Can someone tell me how I can get my hands on the wooly worm pattern shown here on this page? I need to have it in size 6. I caught my third Smallmouth Bass today on a Black Grisly Wooly Bugger. I want to have this fly pattern on your page in my fly box to use going forward because I have used a small version of this pattern, but not in the color you display.

    Best Regards,

    Lorenzo Swanson

    Like

    • 2 swittersb
      August 23, 2009 at 15:57

      Well Lorenzo, that is a fairly old time Woolly Worm….Pick your brand hook, 6/0 thread or 3/0 even on a size 6. That tail is a tuft of red wool yarn, but you could use red synthetic yarn or even bunched marabou, the body is yellow chenille and the hackle is grizzly. To find it in a shop would be hard these days. If you tie, it is an easy tie and if not I am sure someone at a shop would tie you up a dozen or so. The Woolly Bugger in similar colors in popular for some too and if that is what you want (Bugger not Worm) then go with the hot red marabou for a tail. Best of luck.

      Like

  2. January 5, 2009 at 13:10

    Great piece, you have another believer! I am a native Oregonian, and grew up near the McKenzie. I enjoy lakes as well, and over the past few years have enjoyed trips to Wyoming to fish the North Platte. While visiting the Ugly Bug Flyshop – http://www.crazyrainbow.net in Casper Wyoming. I came across Wapsi Squirrel Mirco strips and starting tying my buggers with these thin strips with various glass beads. These flies catch fish, and more importantly big fish. The “old school” patterns are still deadly and I always have the yellow and peacock body patterns in my box as well. Good call.

    I met Tony at the Flyshop last week and he and I got to talking and he mentioned your blog. Good job!

    Like


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