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KeystonerApril 9th, 2010, 12:43 pm
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
This may well be the stupidest question in the history of this site, and maybe all of fishing, but here goes.

How are wooly buggers "supposed" to be fished???
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
WbranchApril 9th, 2010, 2:20 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2724
There are no stupid questions just uninformed inquirers.

Any way you want except dry! Fish up and across dead drift like a nymph. Cast across and strip back like a fleeing helgrammite or stone cat. Strip in short, or long, fast strips or strip back slowly. You can even fish them under a big indicator. It's pretty hard to fish a bugger "wrong" as a sunken fly.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MotroutApril 9th, 2010, 7:10 pm
Posts: 319
I fish them most of the time under an indicator or down and across without an indicator, generally a #10. When I'm after larger trout or smallmouth, I'll tie on a #4 and twitch it through the deep holes. As someone already said, there is really no wrong way to fish them.

Good luck! The woolly bugger is the best fly in existence in my opinion.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Jmd123April 9th, 2010, 10:04 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2535
Any way you want to...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123April 9th, 2010, 10:04 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2535
Any way you want to...

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
KeystonerApril 10th, 2010, 3:31 pm
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
ok. Now, if you're drifting it, is there weight involved. As in, do want it on the bottom like a nymph, or can you just let it's weight put it's depth wherever??
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
MotroutApril 11th, 2010, 4:56 pm
Posts: 319
I usually just fish beadhead woollies, so I don't add weight. But if you're fishing really deep, fast water, it might help. Otherwise it's probably not necessary.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
Jmd123April 11th, 2010, 10:51 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2535
I weight all of my WBs with either lead wire (now switching to a non-toxic substitute) wrapped in the body or with bead chain/dumbell eyes. I have found that with all that hackle and marabou they won't sink very well if they're not weighted, and I find them most effective if I can get them down deep. Not to mention that I absolutely HATE using split shot or any other form of exterior weight, which causes the leader to hinge around the weight.

I like to drift and then swing them - drift them to get them down deep, then swing them through the current, then strip them back in 6" to 1' at a time. When a fish hits, there will be no question as to what is happening - it will send a shock wave right through your rod, up your arm, and into your brain. I should add that it is a most pleasant feeling.

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
MotroutApril 12th, 2010, 6:11 am
Posts: 319
Yeah, I forgot to mention that I also put lead wire on them when I tie them, along with the beadhead. I've never gotten into the whole split shot thing. I've tried it a few times, and it totally messes up the cast.
"I don't know what fly fishing teaches us, but I think it's something we need to know."-John Gierach
http://fishingintheozarks.blogspot.com/
CaseyPApril 12th, 2010, 6:47 am
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
there is really no wrong way to fish them.

there must be, and i must be the best at it: never have caught a fish on a wooley bugger, not for want of trying! even an expert at my elbow hasn't broken the streak. i've tried to believe, really i have.
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
Jmd123April 12th, 2010, 8:29 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2535
CaseyP, WHERE are you fishing??? I do find it hard to believe you have NEVER caught a fish on a WB. Even in my novice days (the first 5 years) I nailed fish, yes including trout, on them. One of the nicest brookies I ever lost hit an olive/grizzly WB. Have you tried different colors/combinations? Even some wacky ones like chartreuse (popped a 10" largemouth on one myself tonight) or hot orange??

Of course, we all have our favorite flies, the ones that never fail us no matter what, and we have confidence in those more than any others. And also, of course, not everything works in every situation or body of water. My advice is to keep trying, with different colors/combinations and on different waters. If you're strictly a trout fisherman, I guarantee you one day you will slam into a BIG one on a WB - they generally don't take them gently. If you are like me and fish warm waters because, in my case, I am not close to ANY quality trout waters right now (and I don't give a SH*T what anyone says about Paint Creek, it's a CHUB stream with a marginal trout population), well, the WB is probably my best warmwater fly EVER (though my KBF gives it a major run for the money).

You know, if you just don't have confidence in this fly, don't bother with it, you will only be frustrated. Fish what you have confidence in and catch what you will on your own favorites. I assume you have been flinging flies long enough to have some favorites that you regularly do well on, so use them and nail 'em good!! And don't worry about what any one else says.

For me, though, the WB is a KILLER (though I do practice strict catch-and-release, so nobody really gets killed...).

Jonathon
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Jmd123April 12th, 2010, 8:31 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2535
P.S. The other thing I love about WBs is that they're really easy to tie. In fact, when I took my fly tying class 20 years ago, the first thing we tied was a black WB.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
CaseyPApril 13th, 2010, 6:47 am
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
Jmd, i'm allergic to apples, too. maybe that explains it.

i've tried wooly buggers that i've tied and that others have tied. yes, my first fly was a wb too, but it took me years to get one right because of all that schtuff you have to tie in back at the tail.

i use one at least for a little while every time i go fishing, too, because i'm sure that somewhere there is at least one kamakazi fish that would like to prove me wrong.

so, Here, Fishy Fishy! olive? brown? gray? black? chartreuse? hot pink? yellow? blue? red? i got it, whatever you want!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
MartinlfApril 14th, 2010, 1:38 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3164
Don't forget purple.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
MudshackApril 14th, 2010, 2:50 pm
Lee's Summit, MO (KC)

Posts: 6
I just picked up a gold beaded black WB #8 and a gold beaded olive WB #10. I also picked up a 3-pack of non-beaded black WB #10 and a 3-pack of olive WB #10. Northern PA, here I come!
Jmd123April 14th, 2010, 2:58 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2535
Louis, purple does work well, especially on largemouth and rock bass. I like my purple WBs like I like my black ones, with a grizzly hackle.

Jonathon

P.S. Mudshack, those should do the job for ya...Just be sure not to forget to throw them around in MO, too!
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
KeystonerApril 16th, 2010, 7:36 am
Eugene, OR - formerly Eastern PA

Posts: 145
I'm in the boat with CaseyP, in that I've never had a hit on a WB. Although nearly half the time I ask someone down at the stretch how it's going, the answer invariably cames back, "they're hitting the wooly buggers nice."

Hence my inspiration for this post. Just wondered if I was really missing something. Aparently, not, except for practice that is. Thanks for the thoughts.
"Out into the cool of the evening, strolls the Pretender. He knows that all his hopes and dreams, begin and end there." -JB
OldredbarnApril 16th, 2010, 10:24 am
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Matt,

It says right at the bottom of your post you are the 10 percenter...WB's work for you 10% of the time. Maybe we need to get you a more positive byline there and things will improve for you.

If I wasn't so old-school and protective of the dark and ancient ways of old-schoolers I'd post the recipe for the Michigan Big Ugly and your Wooly Bugger problems would be history...

Wooly Buggers are to me, the option of last resort. Maybe you are like me and dry flies work 99.9% of the time. WB's seem to lack challenge to me and that lack of challenge may explain a bit why I gave up spinning gear and hardware when I was a youngster. Yes you will be able to roll some large fish with WB's, but think about how you may feel when he sucks in you size 20 something-or-other.

WB's, especially the MI Big Ugly are basically jigs and don't resemble "flies" in the least.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
Jmd123April 16th, 2010, 11:15 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2535
Spence, I beg to differ. WBs are true flies - you can tie them completely unweighted (and may want to do so if you are fishing shallower waters) and in such case they are nothing but feathers and chenille (or whatever you prefer in body materials - try peacock herl as a substitute for black or olive!) tied on a hook, which is indeed a fly (last time I checked anyway). Many folks add weight to their nymphs to get them down, such as wire underwrap or bead-heads - does that make those flies jigs, too?? How about weighted bucktail or feather-wing streamers?? Hey, Jitterbuigs and Hula Poppers float too...

A jig is a jig - a hook bent at a right angle just behind the eye with weight attached at this bend, and then whatever dressing you wish on the hook (like an old Mister Twister tail). Jigs are designed to be heavy enough to throw on spinning tackle without adding additional weight. Trust me, even my weighted WBs would be hard as hell to get any distance with on a spinning rod unless it was super ultralight (like 2-lb. test or less) and would almost certainly require at least split shot to throw it farther than at your feet (don't forget the wind resistance all those feathers create!).

I love catching fish on dry flies too, you know. During my years flyrodding on the Huron in Ann Arbor, I would instantly switch from a WB or KBF to a dry fly - usually a #12-14 elk-hair caddis or #10-12 White Wulff - as soon as I saw or heard anything feeding on the surface. Last time I did this, last summer, I nailed a beautiful 13" smallmouth on a caddis that gave me a terrific fight (they all do in there). There were nights in 2007 that were so filled with flies that I couldn't miss on the Huron - we're talking 30-40 fish nights, just about evenly split between bluegill and smallies, on those caddis and Wulffs (and in currents that looked like trout water - yep, even those 'gillies fed like trout, which cracks me up because they're not supposed to like swift currents - nobody ever told THEM!). But when that wasn't happening, dry flies generally caught next to nothing out there, and I wouldn't have wanted fishless night after fishless night because I was a dry-fly purist.

And I'll be honest with you folks - I'm not much of a nympher, as I don't like bottom dredging with a fly rod (nor all the JUNK you have to hang on your leader like split shot and strike indicators - "chuck-n-duck") and there's where most of my nymphs end up - STUCK ON THE BOTTOM.

Dries when there are flies, streamers & WBs when there are not. Works for me!

Jonathon

P.S. On a trout stream I will generally throw an attractor dry (#10 Royal Wulff or #12 Parachute Royal Coachman are my personal favorites) if no one is hatching.
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
OldredbarnApril 16th, 2010, 12:51 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Jon,

As they say in the alleys of downtown Detroit, "It's all just semantics baby!"

If Russell Blessing believed that a Wooly Bugger was a good imitation of a hellgrammite who am I to doubt him? So, when Mr. Trout or Mr. Smallmouth sucks in one of your Wooly Buggers and swears he did so thinking it was a hellgrammite or some big-ass nymph we can call them flies. Weighted or otherwise. How's that?

When Mr. Trout or Mr. Smallmouth thinks he's sucking in a leech or some sculpin or some such not related to insects maybe we should call it a "lure" kind of like the Brits do. Or a streamer. Or in the case of the Michigan Big Ugly a jig...The MBU walks, talks, and quacks just like a jig.

I am not in any way making a judgement call here...Or even saying you won't find a box of MBU's in the game pouch of Spence's vest...I'm just drawing a distinction between artificial "flies" and other artificial concoctions that can be created sitting at the vise.

Spence
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
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