The Wooly Worm
No one ever forgets the classics, and the fly I would like to tell you a little about is just that, the classic Wooly Worm. This pattern is one of the first flies many beginners learn to tie. It is quick, easy to tie, and master this pattern; the best part about this fly is that it catches fish.
The Wooly Worm is a style of fly that may date back hundreds of years. Flies with a palmered hackle down the hook's shank have been documented as far back as the 1500s. The quaint essential Wooly Bugger was a spin-off of the Wooly Worm. The Wooly Bugger imitates many aquatic life forms, but most folks fish it as a baitfish imitation. The Wooly Worm was designed to imitate large aquatic insects like stoneflies, hellgrammites, etc. large aquatic insects, like the damsel and dragonfly nymph, live in warm water areas but could easily be mistaken for small baitfish or crayfish.
The Wooly Worm is the perfect fly for the beginning fly tier to learn because it is super easy to tie and uses only a few materials. You can tie this pattern in any color or combination your heart desires. Nevertheless, no matter how you tie the Woolly Worm, know that it’s a versatile fly that can be fished on the dead drift or stripped in as a streamer. You can add weight when tying this fly with non-lead wire or a bead head, which is an excellent option for fishing in still waters where panfish tend to hang out.
Below is the material list I use to tie my Wooly Worms:
Hook: 3x long nymph or streamer hook
Thread: 70 Denier, in the color of your choice
Tail: Small Tag of Yarn in the color of your choice (I typically use red )
*Weight: 6-10 Wraps of .015 Lead Wire *This step is optional
Body: Small Chenille or Dubbing in the color of your choice
Hackle: Rooster or Hen Hackle - used to palmer the entire length of the body
Step 1: Clamp hook in vise and crimp barb
Step 2: Start thread one eye length behind the eye and lay down a thread base back to the hook bend
Step 3: Tie in a small piece of yarn for the tail. ( keep it short )
Step 4: Select an appropriate size feather and tie it in at the base of the tail tie in with the feather's curved side facing the hook.
Step 5: Prepare a piece of chenille by stripping away some of the chenille off the core with your fingernail.
Step 6: Tie in the chenille core at the base of the feather and move the thread back to the starting point near the eye.
Step 7: Wrap the chenille forward with close touching wraps to the front starting point, then tie off with 3 or 4 tight wraps while stripping away any excess chenille fuzz with a fingernail.
Step 8: Palmer the feather to the front of the body as shown. Bind the feather down at the front of the chenille with a couple of tight wraps and remove any excess feather with the tips of your scissors. Make sure you don't accidentally clip the thread in the process.
Step 9: Form a nice neat head, whip finish, and cut away thread. Apply head cement, and you are done.