I have handed out quite a few of these flies over the past few months. So, I guess it’s time to share it with everyone else.
This is, without a doubt, my “go to” pattern for carp. This fly was tied with carp in mind, but it works great for other species too – largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, catfish, walleye, and even bonefish. For the latter, I tie it in lighter colors and add some legs – Hudson’s Sand Bugger.
Update: Here’s a link to the Hudson’s Sand Bugger - http://unquenchablecuriosity.com/hudsons-sand-bugger/ and variations of this fly - http://unquenchablecuriosity.com/hudsons-mud-bugger-and-sand-bugger-variations/
The pattern is easy to tie, and it slays carp. So, let’s get started…
Materials for Hudson’s Mud Bugger:
Hook: Gamakatsu SL45 #4-8
Thread: Danville 3/0, black
Eyes: Large bead chain, black
Tail: Turkey biot quills, green (also try brown or black)
Hackle: Whiting Bugger Pack, grizzly olive (also try grizzly brown or black)
Optional: .025 lead wire for extra weight and/or lead eyes
Step 1: Tie in the bead chain directly behind the hook eye leaving only enough room to whip finish at the end. I apply a spot of Zap-A-Gap to solidly anchor the eyes. This is a pretty durable fly, so let’s just make it bomb-proof.
Optional: If you plan to fish this in a river or deep, you’ll want to add 12-14 twists of 0.25 lead wire to the hook shank. Otherwise leave off the extra weight as the large bead chain is enough for most shallow still water applications. With or without the extra weight, this fly has a nice soft entry into the water.
Step 2: Wrap the thread a bit past the bend of the hook, and build a small thread ball. This helps keep the turkey biots splayed out for a consistent presentation.
Step 3: Clip two small sections from the turkey feather. Match them up evenly by the tips and tie onto either side of the hook just in front of the thread ball. The turkey feathers should extend outward past the tie in point approximately 3/4 to a full hook shank length.
Step 4: Pull two feathers from the Bugger Pack that has fibers approximately 1 1/2 to 2x the hook gap. Strip off the fuzzy fibers and tie in just in front of the turkey biots. Wrap the thread all the way up to the eye.
Optional: Experiment with using one feather or two. I definitely use two feathers on a size 4 or 6 hook, but I sometimes just use one feather on a size 8 hook. Your call.
Step 5: Palmer the hackle all the way (past the bead chain) up to the eye. I usually make a few wraps around the eyes if I have enough feather left. Anchor the feather down behind the eye and whip-finish.
Step 6: Now it’s time for a haircut. The head-stand effect of this fly is caused by the angle at which the hackle is trimmed. First run your fingers through the fly and get all the fibers sticking straight out. Take your scissors and start cutting as close as you can to the bead chain and eyes. You’ll want to angle your cut at an approximate 30-40 degree angle from the hook shank. After I’m done with the haircut, I’ll usually dab a bit of Hard as Hull head cement on the whip-finish.
What? You expected more?
Now tie them in different colors. The sky’s the limit. I found that olive green, brown, and black to be the most productive colors for carp. Legs are another addition that could be fun, but I’ve found I didn’t really need them.
If this fly works for you, I’d love to hear about it.