How To

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From Xplor: March/April 2020

Here’s What You Need

• Size 2 cricket hook • Fuzzy marabou feather (available at craft stores) • Tape • Scissors • Pipe cleaner • Plastic bead

To a hungry fish, a woolly bugger looks like a swimming minnow, tadpole, or leech. That’s why buggers fool so many bass, bluegill, and trout into taking a nibble.

Fly-anglers use fancy feathers and special tools to make woolly buggers. You can make one using simpler supplies. Any color will catch fish, but green, brown, and black buggers look more like natural foods.

Here’s What You Do

  • Measure the end of a feather so that it’s about the same length as the straight part of the hook. This will become the tail of the woolly bugger.
  • Hold the feather so that the part you just measured sticks out behind the bend of the hook. Wrap tape tightly around the feather and hook, from the bend to the eye.
  • Use scissors to snip off the excess feather just behind the hook’s eye.
  • Twist a pipe cleaner around and around the hook, starting just above the bend. Keep your wraps tight and close together. When you reach the eye of the hook, leave the extra pipe cleaner sticking out.
  • Thread a bead onto the pipe cleaner and push it over the eye of the hook.
  • Bend the pipe cleaner over the top of the bead. Snip off the pipe cleaner a little way behind the bead. Bend the extra pipe cleaner down to hold the bead in place.

Fishing Tips

Tie a woolly bugger to your fishing line and pinch on some split shot for weight. Cast the lure into a pond or stream and count to three to let the bugger sink slowly into the water. Watch your line as it sinks. If the line twitches, gently set the hook.

Once the bugger is underwater, reel in the line at a pretty good pace. Pretend your bugger is a scared minnow trying to out-swim a hungry fish. If that doesn’t get a bite, cast to a different location. This time, reel in with a jerky, start-stop motion that mimics an injured (and easily eaten) minnow.

For more fishing fun, check out Let’s Go Fly-Fishing!

Also In This Issue

But first, check out this mini field guide to fooling fish with fake flies.
Which critter will win this battle in the bulrushes?

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White