The original Walt’s Worm, developed by Walt Young of Pennsylvania, has been a favorite of competitive anglers for many years, particularly the jig version. Former fly-fishing team USA member, guide and fly fishing instructor Loren Williams dressed up a Walt’s Worm to create the Sexy Walt’s, which is also a staple of competitive angling fly boxes.
Here, we’re going to tie both patterns on a TroutLegend Model J hook in a size 14. The hooks will be matched to a Model TS 3 mm slotted silver tungsten bead. The slot in the bead allows it to slip over the hard angle in the hook and down to, but not covering, the hook eye.
Insert the hook point into the small hole on the bead and slide it forward up the hook shank to behind the eye. You want to make sure the bead ends up right down by the eye with no hook shank exposed. You can then get the hook firmly secured in your tying vise.
These flies are meant to sink fast, so, in addition to the tungsten bead, we’re also going to add wraps of .015 round wire, here the lead-free stuff. EZ hackle pliers can be used to start the wire wraps and save material. Take 8-10 wraps before helicoptering the wire to break it off close. Shove the wraps all the way up to the back of the bead and do your best to get the tag end of the wire neatly wrapped around the hook shank.
For thread, olive 6/0 Danville is a good choice. Start your thread on the hook shank immediately behind the wire and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. Make thread wraps over the wire to secure it all the way to the bead. Then take wraps rearward and build a small ramp to smooth the transition between the hook shank and the wire wraps. End with your tying thread right behind the bead.
Although everybody seems to have their own special recipe, a blend of natural hare’s mask and clear Antron is most often used as dubbing material to form the entire body of the fly. Get hold of a good-sized clump and place it in your bobbin hand and then begin making a slender dubbing noodle on your tying thread. The slimmer the body of the fly, the faster it will sink. Begin taking wraps rearward leaving just a little blank space behind the bead that you’ll fill in later. Continue taking wraps all the way back to the hook bend then reverse direction and start taking wraps forward. These will cross over and bind down the first layer of wraps to increase durability. When you reach the space behind the bead, add a little more dubbing to your tying thread and take wraps to fill in that small space. This allows you some wiggle room that helps to get the dubbing just right. I prefer a carrot shape with the wide end the same diameter as the bead.
Do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish to secure the tying thread. I like to add another 5 or 6 turn whip finish for safety and so I don’t need to use head cement to secure the wraps. Finally, snip or cut your tying thread free. And that’s a competition style Walt’s Worm. The jig hook, along with the slotted bead, will make the fly ride with the hook point up and help to prevent snagging, which is kind of a big deal with such a heavy fly.
Now, on to Loren’s tricked-out version. We’ll start with the same hook and bead combination but this time add wraps of larger .02 wire to help the fly sink even faster. Apply it to the hook shank just as you did the thinner wire.
For thread, you want something bright to form a hot spot, here, UTC 70 Denier in fluorescent orange. Again, get your thread started behind the weight and bind the wire down all the way up to the bead. But this time, end with your tying thread at about the hook point and then snip or break off the tag.
Opalescent sulky sliver metallic is used for the rib of the fly. It’s a great ribbing material but has a good many other fly tying applications as well. One spool contains 250 yards so you’re going to have it for a while. Snip off about a 4 inch length which is enough for multiple flies. Secure the Sulky to the hook shank and take thread wraps rearward to the bend, then use your thread to build up a ramp to the wire.
Using the same dubbing material as before, once again, create a thin noodle on your tying thread. Notice here, however, we’ll only be wrapping forward to make one layer of dubbing. Some people prefer to use sticky wax and touch dub at this point to keep the body ultra thin and somewhat translucent. The choice is yours. With the dubbing noodle established, start taking wraps forward to create a slender, even, carrot-shaped body. End with your tying thread immediately behind the bead.
Get hold of the Sulky and begin making open spiral wraps, with a good bit of pressure, up the body of the fly. Some people prefer to counter wrap here but I haven’t found it necessary. When you reach the bead, secure the Sulky with tight wraps of tying thread and then snip the remainder off close.
Once again we’re going to do a series of whip finishes to secure the tying thread. This also helps to build up the hot spot or dog collar on the fly. With the collar complete, snip or cut your tying thread free.
Just like the regular Walt’s Worm, the Sexy Walt’s rides upside-down. The added accessories are supposed to act as triggers to initiate a take. Both patterns have proven themselves to be extremely effective in fly fishing competitions all around the globe.