Wednesday, September 2, 2015


Zug Bug

Apr 05 2012

Zug Bug


Published by Bob Bates
Federation of Fly Fishers - Washington Council

Click Here to Download PDF version

Opening Comments

I mentioned before that many great fly tiers at TU and FFF shows are available to photograph for the FFF Fly of the Month.  I just sit down in empty chair in front of a tier.  This is the second fly that Milt Jenkins of Taylorsville, Utah tied for me at the 2011 East Idaho Fly Tying Expo.  He has only one hand.  A prosthetic device served as the other hand.  He still ties flies professionally, although he admits that he is a little slower than before when he turned out 500 dozen flies a year for Jack Dennis.  Milt has been tying for 53 years.


In Flies for Trout by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen say credit for this pattern goes to Cliff Zug.  Then they go on to say that any fly tied with peacock herl will catch fish.  Just about everyone agrees with them on that.  I use it in both streams and lakes.  Just use your favorite wet fly technique and go for it.

Materials list

Hook: Daiiche 1180 10 -14 mostly 12

Thread:  6/0 black

Tail: Peacock sward fibers

Weight: Optional 0.015 lead wire

Rib: Oval silver tinsel

Body: Peacock herl

Beard: Pheasant tail fibers

Wing case: Mallard breast feather

Tying Steps


Zug Bug - Step 1

Step 1

Put a thread base whole length of shank, and tie on a good clump of peacock sward fibers.  Milt ties them long and then adjusts the length.  Hold fibers and pull thread down so material doesn’t move around the hook.  If he wants lead, he puts it on now at mid shank and wraps it forward to within a couple of eye widths of the eye.  If he had a bead on the hook he would take a few more wraps and shove them into the back of the bead.


Zug Bug - Step 2

Step 2

Tie in oval silver rib.  He also uses gold tinsel, it depends on the customer wants.


Zug Bug - Step 3

Step 3


Pick a bunch of peacock herl.  Milt doesn’t count fibers, he just grabs enough to make a nice body, and double wraps the peacock herl.  He stops the herl about two eye widths back from the eye.  Milt also adjusts the amount of herl if there is lead on the hook.  He secures it with a half hitch so he can use a loose loop to put on beard


Zug Bug - Step 4

Step 4


Reverse wrap rib so it isn’t doesn’t gets lost in the peacock herl.  Also he doesn’t like to use too much rib because it hides peacock.  


Zug Bug - Step 5

Step 5


Tie the beard about two eye widths back from the eye..  It is easier to turn the hook over tie the fibers on loosely adjust the length, and then put on some tighter wraps.  Trim excess.  (He tied the beard in with the fly upside down, and I asked him to turn it over for the picture.)   


Step 6

Use Mallard breast feather for the wing case.  Strip off the real fuzzy stuff.  Tie it on top of hook.


Zug Bug

Step 7


Then cut it so it looks like wings are just starting to develop.  Wind a small head,, whip finish and put on a little head cement.  (He makes his own glue with 50-50 Duco cement and acetone.) 

Closing Comments

I have had Zug Bugs in my Fly box for more years than I want to admit.  If you are not using them, shame on you.  Get busy, and tie a few for your fly box.


There was no hackle on the flies he tied for me, but here is a little tip that he told me about.  I will pass it on any way.  Cut a piece of cardstock in a circle, use a leather punch to put a small hole in the center. cut a slot from the edge to the hole.  Slide it on to the thread, put it over the eye of the hook to push the hackle back and whip finish.

 Please Credit FFF Website or FFF Clubwire with any use of the pattern.

You can direct any questions or comments to FOM at





Resources   |   Membership   |   Conservation   |   Casting   |   Tying   |   Councils   |   Store   |   Fly Fishing Fair   |   Events   |   About
Website by Jeff Reed
5237 U.S. Highway 89 South, Suite 11 Livingston, Montana 59047 406-222-9369