The Student Gazette -
Student Gazette

Patience, practice keys to tying your own flies
Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jonathan Picchione is a third-grader at Woodland Hill Montessori School

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Photographer: Peter R. Barber

Jonathan Picchione
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Do you know what a Woolly Bugger is?

A Woolly Bugger is a type of bait used for fly fishing. It is meant to look like a water insect larva because that's one of the many things fish eat.

When you go fly fishing you want to have the right flies. This means you use a fly that represents a bug that is hatching in season. The Woolly Bugger is special because it is the larva of the mayfly. Many fish will try to eat mayflies.

The Woolly Bugger is one of the top 10 flies. It is often one of the first flies you learn to tie .

You need 3/0 nylon thread, a hook, feathers, deer fur, chenille and other materials like contact cement to make flies. There are hundreds of different flies to make. Flies can be as tiny as an insect egg or as big as up to 3 or 4 inches long. They can be many different colors. The most colorful are the saltwater flies.

Flies are fun to make even if they don't come out perfectly. You need good hand control, good focus and a patient, knowledgeable teacher. You can watch videos on how to tie a fly on YouTube. A good book with pictures of flies is also helpful. It takes a long time to make a fly at first, but with practice it gets quicker.

They are called flies because they fly through the air when you cast your fly rod. Most fishermen tie their flies in the winter so they can use them in the spring.

There are saltwater, freshwater and dry flies. Some rest on the water's surface, and some sink below the water's surface. Dry flies are the ones that look like they are leaving the water to dry off their wings. Saltwater flies have weights for eyes, which bring them down below the surface of the water to where the fish live.

My Uncle David likes to go fly fishing in his free time. He says, "Fly fishing teaches me to be more patient and I like to be alone with nature."

He uses his own flies to catch brown trout and rainbow trout. His favorite flies are the Blue Winged Olive, which is a dry fly, and the Flash-back Pheasant Tail Nymph. He makes his flies in the winter and uses turkey feathers, bear fur, rabbit fur and deer hair. He often gets these from his friends who hunt.

Another fly fisherman, Frank, is my fly tying instructor. He says, "Always remember to flatten out the barb on the hook so you don't get it stuck in your finger!"

When you go fly fishing pay attention to the other fishermen around you. Fly fishing is a sport where fishermen love to share what they know. Show them your Woolly Bugger. It is a good teaching experience and you might make a new friend.



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