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Bugmeister Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Bugmeister
3X-long nymph hook (here a Dai-Riki #710), size 12
Olive, 6/0
Elk body hair, cleaned and stacked
White polypropylene yarn
Ginger rabbit dubbing
Pearl Krystal Flash, 3 or 4 strands
Elk body hair, cleaned and stacked
Golden straw dry-fly hackle
Peacock herl
Head cement
Wide-mouth hair stacker, smaller stacker, piece of lead-free wire
Change the colors to match the naturals
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Video Transcript:

The Bugmeister

The Bugmeister developed by John Perry of Montana is probably best described as a universal attractor pattern. It can be tied in a wide variety of colors, here, I’m going with a kind of golden theme.

For a hook, I’m using a Dai-Riki #710 in size 12, 3X long seems to make for a well proportioned fly. Start by mashing the barb and getting the hook firmly secured in your tying vise.

For thread, I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of olive 6/0 Danville. Get your thread started about 1/3 of the way down the hook shank and take wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.

Elk body hair, here, light bull, is used to form the tail and underbody of the fly. A 1/4 pencil diameter clump is plenty. Elk is loaded with shorter fibers and fuzzies and it’s important to strip as much of these out as you can. A wide mouthed stacker makes it real easy to roughly align the hair tips. You can then snip the butt ends off square and use a smaller stacker to concentrate the clump and accurately align the tips.

Measure to form a tail about a hook gap in length and reorient your fingers to expose the tie-in point. Reach in with your scissors and, without moving the bundle forward or back, snip the butt ends off just in front of your tying thread. Give your bobbin a counterclockwise spin, so when you take your first wrap, it will catch the very butt ends of the elk. Make a loose collecting wrap and then snug it down tight. Use your fingers to keep the elk on top of the hook shank as you take open spiral wraps rearward, stopping just above the hook barb. Then, make open spiral wraps forward ending with your tying thread right at that 1/3rd point.

Snip about an inch long piece of white poly yarn free from the card. This will form the parachute post. Secure the yarn to the top of the hook shank with 3 or 4 tight turns. Then pull the yarn back and take 3 or 4 more in front of the post, just around the hook shank. Follow this with 3 or 4 additional wraps at the base of the post. You really want to get the material locked down tight. Reach in with your tying scissors and snip the excess poly off close. You should be left with a roughly even intersection between the poly and the elk hair. Continue to take thread wraps down the shank to about the hook point.

Just about any kind of dubbing can be used for the body, here I’ve chosen rabbit in a ginger color. Establish a nicely tapered noodle about 3 inches long on your tying thread. Start taking wraps so the dubbing begins right at the base of the tail, and continue taking wraps forward to form an evenly tapered body. Leave some space behind the base of the post as more materials need to be tied in at this location.

Snip 3 or 4 strands of pearl krystal flash free from the hank. Position your tying thread right at the base of the parachute post and then fold an inch or so of the krystal flash around your thread and bring the fold first up and then down on top of the hook shank. This will double the number of strands of krystal flash. Take wraps rearward to combine the strands into a single underwing. You can then snip the flash off just shy of the tip of the tail.

For the fly’s overwing, we’re going to use a slightly larger clump of the same elk hair used for the tail and the body. Repeat the cleaning and stacking procedure as you did before so you end up with a nice tight bundle with even tips. Measure to form a wing that extends to not quite the tip of the tail. And once again, reorient your fingers to expose the tie-in point. Then snip the butt ends off square directly in line with the base of the parachute post. As always, a counterclockwise spin of the bobbin will help your thread to jump rearward and catch the butt ends of the elk hair. Use tight wraps to secure the wing to the top of the hook shank so it looks something like this.

A small amount of super glue applied to the butts and the thread wraps works wonders in terms of keeping the wing locked into place. Elk hair that rotates around the hook shank or pulls out is no fun at all. Sweep the wing post up and back and take wraps in front of it leaving an eye-length space behind the eye. This will be the hackle tie-in point.

For hackle, I’ve chosen a golden straw but cream, brown and grizzly would also look nice. It’s always a good idea to check and make sure the hackle barbules are the correct size for the hook you’re using. To prepare the hackle, orient the feather so the shiny side is facing you and snip off the webby lower segment. Pull down about 1/2 inch of barbules from both sides of the stem. Snip them off to form a small triangle and then strip 1/4 inch or so from the top of the stem and slightly more barbules from the bottom. You can then snip the triangle to make it even smaller. This will act as a tie-in anchor.

While pulling the post back, lay the hackle stem on the near side of the hook and take thread wraps over top of the anchor to secure it. Continue taking wraps back to the base of the post and then start working your way up the post securing the hackle stem to it as you go. After you’ve gone about 1/4 inch up the post, make wraps back down and end with your tying thread positioned all the way back at the base of the elk hair wing.

Select 3 or 4 strands of strung peacock herl and snip the last inch or so of their brittle tips off square. Tie these cut ends in on the near side of the hook and end with your tying thread back where you started at the base of the wing. Take wraps of peacock herl all the way up to the eye and then back, emphasizing the wraps in front of and behind the post which will help to support it in the vertical position. Take 2 or 3 thread wraps to secure the herl at the base of the wing and then just a couple of open spiral wraps to bring your tying thread forward to in front of the post. These wraps will be barely visible, embedded in the peacock herl. Reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess herl off close.

A short piece of lead or lead-free wire does an amazing job of keeping the fly’s wing out of the way during the final stages of tying. A single turn is usually all that’s needed to contain it.

Get hold of the hackle and begin making clockwise wraps around the post. Notice how that extra bit of stripped stem allows the hackle to wrap correctly. Keep taking hackle wraps, one underneath the previous, all the way down to the base of the post. You can usually sneak in 4-6 complete turns. Bring your tying thread over the excess hackle tip and around the post trying not to trap hackle fibers in the process. Take 3 or 4 wraps to firmly secure the tip. You can then carefully reach in with your tying scissors and snip the tip off close.

At this point, I like to trim the post to about a 1/2 a body length so the excess yarn doesn’t get in the way during whip finishing. Although it takes a bit of practice, a 4 or 5 turn whip finish done around the base of the post, neatly and firmly secures your tying thread. Once the whip finish is completed, you can snip or cut your tying thread free. Adding a small drop of head cement to the base of the post will ensure nothing comes unraveled.

Tied in different colors and sizes, the Bugmeister can be used to represent a whole slew of insect species or just think of it as a non-specific attractor pattern. Either way, it’s a fish catcher.