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Fly of the Month

           

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International Federation of Fly Fishers Fly of the Month October, 2014

Tussle Bug

 

  March 2015

By Dirk Burton



Opening Comments


 

 

The Weave:

 

Woven flies are very insect-like with their segmented and striped bodies. Their appearance is appealing to both fish and humans. Although the weaving technique is simple to master, the act of describing it is much more difficult. I will attempt to make weaving as easy as possible with my description. A woven body is certainly worth the extra effort, and once you learn the technique you can turn out the flies very quickly.

 

The Tussle Bug involves a simple “granny knot” type weave. To accomplish this, two contrasting colors of material are tied onto a hook. The weave starts at the rear of the hook just before the bend. After your two strands of material are tied in, do a half hitch and cut off the tying thread. Turn the vise to a position where the hook eye faces you. Let both strands of material hang down naturally below the hook. Tie a granny knot with the two strands, MAKING SURE THE DARKER STRAND IS BEHIND THE LIGHTER ONE WHEN YOU BEGIN THE KNOT. Do not pull the tag ends of the strands to tighten the knot. Instead, separate the darker strand from the lighter one with your fingers and put the dark one on top of the hook shank and the lighter one below the shank. Now, pull the on the tag ends of the strands and tease the knot as far back on the shank as possible. Repeat this process, making sure the dark strand is in the back of the granny knot when you begin, and the dark strand ends up on top of the hook when you separate the two strands. After a few of these knots you will see a very nice woven body pattern emerge. When you are done, and the body is woven to the length you desire, simply restart your tying thread on the hook shank ahead of your weave, tie the two woven strands off, trim the ends and do a half hitch to complete the body. The Tussle Bug is only one of many flies you can tie using this technique.

 

Materials list

 

 

Hook: size 10 – 14 long shank streamer

Thread: 8 /0 Uni thread (I prefer black or olive)

Eyes: dumbbell or bead chain eyes. (micro with size 14 hook works well)

Body: contrasting colors of embroidery thread or micro ultra chenille (yellow and orange, orange and olive, orange and black, etc.)

Tail: Crystal Flash in same colors as embroidery thread

 


Tying steps

 

Step 1

Begin by mashing the barb down on the hook. Place the hook in the vise and wrap a thread base halfway back to the bend. Wrap thread forward to a point about the length of the dumbbell eye from the front of the hook. Tie in eyes using figure eight wraps.


 

 

Step 2

 

Wrap thread back to just before the bend. Take two strands of crystal flash and double them over 3 times. Tie this in on top of the hook shank.


 


Step 3


Wrap thread forward, trim front end of crystal flash. Trim rear of crystal flash in random lengths with the longest about ¾ as long as hook shank. Wrap the thread back to hook bend. Tie in two different colored strands of embroidery thread about six or seven inches long, and wrap tying thread forward to just behind dumbbell eyes leaving about an inch of embroidery thread overlapping the eyes.

 


Step 4


Tie in the other color along the other side.


 

Step 5

 

Fold front of embroidery thread back down the hook shank toward the bend, about 1/3 of an inch, wrap with tying thread and trim embroidery thread. Continue to wrap with tying thread to make a carrot shaped tapered body.

 

 

Step 6

Do the same on the other side.


Step 7

Cut off the excess on one side.

 

 

 Step 8

Cut off the excess on the other.


Step 9

Bring your tying thread forward to just behind eyes. Put a drop of superglue in front on figure eight wraps where the eyes meet the hook shank. Do a couple more figure eight wraps over wet glue, and trim tying thread. Invert the hook in the vise. (The hook rides up on a tussle bug) Begin weaving the fly body until it reaches the dumbbell eyes.

 


Step 10

Spit the knot keeping the dark on top.

 

 

Step 11


Continue the weave until you reach the eyes.

 

Step 12

Turn the hook over in the vise once more.

 

 

 Step 13

Start your tying thread in front of the eyes.


 

 Step 14

Hold the two tag ends of woven thread together and twist them into a “rope” about 3 times. Lay this over the eyes and tie it down in front.

 

  

Step 15

 

Trim the ends of rope, wrap tying thread to make a nice Charlie type head, whip finish and head cement.

 

 

Step 16

Use a permanent marker to make the area around the head look more symmetrical.

 

 

Step 17

Apply head cement.

 

 

Tussle bugs are extremely durable. You will probably lose them before you wear them out. They catch bream, crappie, bass, and the occasional catfish. I’ve caught trout on them too.


Fish love this fly and will hit it hard. Work the tussle bug by stripping it, trying different retrieve speeds. I have had fish inhale it while it sits on the bottom, and at other times they like it stripped fast. Tussle bugs can also work well as a dropper fly or under a strike indicator.



Dirk Burton


Tussle bugs are extremely durable. You will probably lose them before you wear them out. They catch bream, crappie, bass, and the occasional catfish. I’ve caught trout on them too.


Fish love this fly and will hit it hard. Work the tussle bug by stripping it, trying different retrieve speeds. I have had fish inhale it while it sits on the bottom, and at other times they like it stripped fast. Tussle bugs can also work well as a dropper fly or under a strike indicator.



Dirk Burton



Fly of the Month:


Do you know someone who deserves to be featured in the Fly of the Month? If you have a camera and computer, you can write a Fly of the Month article to honor your favorite tier tying their best creation. For details contact Kit Seaton at flyofthemonth@fedflyfishers.org.

 

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

You can direct any questions or comments to FOM at flyofthemonth@fedflyfishers.org.

 
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