Al Campbell, Field Editor

January 26th, 2004

Too Simple Blood Worm
Al Campbell

When somebody says bloodworm, what do you think about? Most of us think about something so small we cringe over the thought of tying one of those things on the tippet, let alone the idea of tying one in a vise.

In reality, the bloodworm is a common name for the larvae of a midge. Fortunately, most bloodworm patterns are fairly easy to tie, so it isn't all that complex a process to create a workable imitation of the midge larvae. Probably the most common bloodworm imitation is the Brassie. For sure, bloodworm imitations are productive.

One of the heaviest insect hatches in most tailwater fisheries is the midge. Some days on rivers like the Bighorn, midges hatch in huge numbers and the trout gorge themselves on the feast. Most days, trout feed heavily on midge larvae, so anything that imitates that insect is a good bet if you want to catch trout.

Midge larvae can be found in a variety of sizes and colors. They might be as large as a size 12 in a prairie lake, or as small as a size 28 in a cold tailwater river, but the most common sizes range from 16 to 22. You might see them in white, yellow, green, black or red, but red is the most common color. I can't think of any other insect that plays as big a role in the diet of trout and many other fish, as the midge does.

Like I said before, most bloodworm patterns are pretty simple, and this one is very simple. It uses four materials, counting the hook and head cement. Even if you just have beginner skills, this pattern is easy to tie. And, the best part about it all is that it catches fish.

Too Simple Blood Worm:

List of materials:
  • Hook - Any standard nymph hook, even cheap ones will do. I'm using a size 18 Mustad 3399A hook.

  • Tail - None.

  • Body - Clear monofilament thread (sold as hemming thread at sewing stores).

  • Legs - None.

  • Thread - 6/0 Colored to match the natural in your water. I'm using bright red.

  • Cement - Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails.

Tying steps: Too Simple Blood Worm:

    1. Start the thread.

    2. Secure the monofilament thread and build a tapered underbody.

    3. Build the thread head, whip finish and trim the thread.

    4. Start wrapping the monofilament thread, trying to keep the wraps close together. Since this thread comes on spools, I use a bobbin to hold it.

    5. When you have about 2/3 of the hook shank wrapped with monofilament thread, stop.

    6. Use your whip finisher to make the last four or five wraps of mono. This is also your finish knot.

    7. Your fly should now look something like this.

    8. Coat the whole fly with a thin coat of Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails fingernail polish.

    9. This is how the fly looks while the nail polish is still wet.

    10. When the nail polish dries, the segmentation caused by the mono body will be visible, and the body will have a translucent appearance.

There is nothing difficult about this fly, and you won't bust the bank buying exotic materials to tie it. You'll find that it is a tough, durable fly that resists damage from toothy fish. You might even learn to like tying midge larvae patterns. Well, maybe. ~ AC

Previous Al Campell Columns

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