If you’re ever lucky enough to be on the water during a cinder worm hatch with striped bass inhaling them from the surface film, Matt Grobert’s cinder worm is one pattern you don’t want to be without.
Here Matt's going to tie one on a size 6 Mustad 34007. Start by getting the hook firmly secured in your tying vise, then load a bobbin with some heavier red tying thread, here UTC 140 Denier. Start your thread at about the halfway point on the hook shank and take wraps rearward before snipping off the tag end. Pull your bobbin down to expose approximately 5 inches of thread.
With Ultra Sticky Dubbing Wax, here, Loon Swax, apply a very thin, even coat to the exposed length of thread. When you’re done, just let go of your bobbin and allow it to hang.
Bright red SLF dubbing is used to form almost the entire body of the worm, so you’re going to need quite a bit. Carding it between your fingers, like Matt’s doing here, helps to align the fibers and is all but required to get satisfactory results.
Loop the tying thread around your left index finger to double it then take thread wraps rearward on the hook shank to form a dubbing loop. Passing the bobbin around both legs of the loop will ensure the loop is locked into place. Wind your thread forward to the tie-in point.
Begin inserting small thin flakes of the aligned dubbing into the loop. Try to keep the amount of dubbing as even as possible all the way down. When you get to the end of the loop, squeeze it between your fingertips and attach the dubbing twister tool of your choosing. Don’t be afraid to really spin the noodle up well, you want to make a fairly tight dubbing rope.
With a dubbing needle, double the rope over to form a tail about an inch and a half in length. You may have to give it a few twists to get it into the proper orientation. Take thread wraps rearward and secure the remainder of the rope to the top of the hook shank. Don’t let go of this extra bit of rope during this process or it will come unwound and you’re going to be using it in the next step. After making certain everything is well secured, get your thread back to the tie-in point and begin making touching wraps with the remainder of the dubbing noodle. You should have just about enough to make it back up to the tie-in point. Now, secure the two bare strands of the dubbing loop with nice, tight wraps of tying thread. Once again a complete turn around both legs of the loop helps everything stay locked into place. With the dubbing loop completely secured, snip it off close.
At this point, we’re going to switch over to black Danville Flymaster thread. Start the new thread at the tie-in point and take wraps rearward to behind the red thread. You can then snip the red thread off close followed by the tag end of the black thread.
In preparation for tying in the head of the fly, give your thread a clockwise spin to cord it up a bit.
Snip a small clump of black deer body hair free from the hide and strip out the fuzzies and shorts. With the butts pointing forward, make two loose collecting wraps with your tying thread then, while squeezing the bundle, pull straight down. A couple more thread wraps should spin the deer hair evenly around the hook shank. Take thread wraps forward and then pull the deer hair back to expose bare hook. Build a small thread dam in front of the deer hair to hold it back.
Snip another small clump of deer hair from the hide, clean out the butts and then tie that in the same as the clump before to create a big old spiky mess. Preen the deer hair back away from the eye as best you can and take a few thread wraps rearward to hold it there. Do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish, doing your best not to trap deer hair fibers in the process. Adding a second 4 or 5 turn whip finish will help to insure the thread doesn’t come unraveled. When you’re done, snip or cut your tying thread free.
Now comes the fun part. Pull the deer hair forward so it stands up roughly perpendicular to the hook shank and start giving it a hair cut. You’re going for something that looks about like this. With the head shaped, go in and trim off any of the wild hairs from the rest of the worm.
It’s a remarkably realistic pattern with quite a bit of wiggle. It also floats well because of the deer hair head. You’ll definitely know it when you get a take.