September Freshwater Fly of the Month: Streamer- Thin Mint Wooly Bugger - Beadhead
The woolly bugger is always listed as one of the top ten flies you should have in your fly box. This is one of the most productive and popular wet flies for a variety of species of fish. The woolly bugger is an awesome sub-surface fly that imitates a variety of baits. Leeches, minnows, nymphs, and sculpins begins the list of what this fly can represent to a hungry trout, steelhead, bass or panfish.
"The Woolly Bugger is so effective, it should be banned from some watersheds. I suspect its effectiveness is due to its resemblance to so many edible creatures in the water--nymphs, leeches, salamanders, or even small sculpins. Its tail undulating behind a fiber, bubble-filled body is just too much for most fish to resist. It just looks like a meal!" – Bill Hunter, The Professionals' Favorite Flies
Trout spend most of their time on the bottom of rivers, near the rocks and in the cover of structure. The advantage to anglers using bead-head flies, is the fact that the weight of the bead, sinks the fly. Bead-head flies can be especially effective in rivers with fast, deep water. Keeping your hooks around the fish is a sure way to get more strikes, and ultimately, catch more fish.
Most anglers would agree that a common nymph rig with an indicator and additional weight is perhaps the easiest way to catch fish in moving water. However, many sporting fly fishers also enjoy fishing a large dry fly with a bead-head dropper attached.
Bead-headed flies became popular in the eighties and have been catching fish since then. Bright gold, silver and copper metal beads are most commonly used, but flies that include glass beads are also very effective.
Every conceivable nymph pattern has been tied with a bead at some point. Mayflies, stoneflies, midges, and many more imitations of aquatic species have bead-head variations. Limited only by imagination, beads can be used in many ways to add to the effectiveness of a fly. As the popularity of flies with beads increases, bead manufacturers have begun to increase a fly tier's options with colorfully anodized and painted versions.