A Wooly Bugger Is classified as a streamer and normally tied on hook sizes #10-4 but can be tied all the way down to size 20’s. This pattern is the baby bugger. They come in just about any color. . This helps the wooly buggerfly be about the only pattern that can travel anywhere in the world and catch a fish, all you need to do is tweak the colors and size. For this reason the Wooly Bugger belongs in the hall of fame of fly fishing. So if you don’t have any in your box yet you better get a hand full in several sizes and different patterns before your next trip.
No one knows exactly who or where the Wooly Bugger pattern was created. It is believed to be an offshoot form the Wooly Worm, an Old English pattern which can also be pretty effective for trout and pan fish. Most of the credit for the Wooly Bugger is given to Russell Blessing back in the 1970’s. Others believe it’s a variation of the Black Martinez fly while others think that it was created for bass in Missouri in the 1800’s. No matter who or where it came from it is the one fly every fly fisher must have in their box.
Why is the Wooly Bugger pattern so effective? Well it can be fished anywhere and anyway you can think of. It can be fished in streams, ponds, lakes and salt flats. It can even be fished in any water condition. When most flies can’t get the job done in murky or fast moving water just reach for the right colored Bugger and you have a winner.
The Wooly Bugger also imitates many different flies. So where a Blue wing olive may only imitate one or two bugs the Bugger imitates a wide range of bugs. Such as Hellgrammite’s, Sculpins, Dubsonflies, Damsel Flies, Leech, Stonefly and Crawfish. These are all subsurface bugs where fish spend most of their time feeding. Hence the reason this pattern produces so many fish and big fish at that.
How do you fish a Bugger you ask? Basically, there isn’t a wrong way to fish a Wooly Bugger. The key is to select the right size and color through trial and error. You can dead drift it down stream; add spit shot to suspend it with an indicator or strip it back to you with varying speed. This is when you can get the most violent strikes. Those of us who love to fish the Bugger live for the tug. “The Tug is the Drug” There is nothing like stripping a Wooly Bugger. The violent takes are so amazing you will be hooked on this famous fly pattern for the rest of your life.