The “Tails-Up Woolley Bugger”.


from the bench of Stephen Beckett.

For bass I use a Mustad Ultrapoint 32833BLN size 1 hook.

Black Lead Eyes.

3/16 inch Black Foam Cylinders.


I tie in the eyes first on the 90 degree return near the eye on the outside of the hook.

I use lead painted dumbbell eyes in 1/20 oz.

I then tie in the tube, as a tail, at the back of the hook using 3/16 foam cylinders. These come in 1 1/2 inch lengths that I cut in half (don’t worry too much about length at this point because you’ll probably need to shorten it after you test the fly).

I then tie the usual woolley bugger pattern from here on in although I prefer using a favourite dubbing vs chenille so I can even out the body toward the head easier.

I usually use ice dub or arizona semi seal but you can use anything suitable. My best colours are black, olive, and white – with a few pink and chartreuse if they’re in the mood.

For great lakes carp I use the same fly in the darker colours and include olive with a black tail. Bright colours don’t works as well for carp but they have taken red with black hackle on occasion.

Add your favourite flash if you like but I find it’s not necessary and usually doesn’t work well for carp.

You can tune each fly in a tank, sink bucket or on the water if you like. I carry scissors to cut the foam tail until I get a good rate of descent and not so much that the tail doesn’t stand straight up. I’ve also trimmed it on the water if I’m fishing a bit deeper and conditions require a quicker sink rate.

I sight fish with it a fair bit for both smallmouth bass and carp in the shallows of Lake Erie and Hamilton Harbour on a floating line and let it drop, sit and then twitch it back. This fly also works well on feeding sheepshead. Of course you can fish it deeper if you like.

I hope you have some success with it – let me know if you have any questions.