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Lefty's Bug
By George E. Emanuel
Photos by the author

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Fly Tying Terms

Lefty's Bug

For smallmouth bass, bluegills and just about any panfish a Lefty's Bug seems, at least in the experience of everyone I know who fishes it, to be irresistible. Although it is not an imitator in the sense of representing a specific food, it's qualities of attraction far outweigh any that we mere mortals will ever comprehend. It really doesn't look like anything, and that, is as Lefty Kreh intended when he invented this fly to catch smallmouth on his beloved Potomac River, near his home in Maryland.

This is a very simple bug to tie, and while it can be modified by adding legs and eyes and such, I have never found any embellishment to improve the results I achieve with the basic fly. Tie it plain, tie it fancy, have fun with it, after all, isn't that what flyfishing and fly tying are really about ?

Materials List:

Hooks:  Size 2 - 14 streamer Mustad 9672 or equal (size 8 shown).

Thread: Black - 6/0 thread (or 3/0 if that is what you have).

Tail:  Squirrel tail, gray or red (gray shown).

Body:  Small corks (available at craft stores),

Paint:  Yellow Model Paint (Testors is as good as any).

Tying Instructions:

1.  Tie on at the eye of the hook, wind to the bend and back to the eye, covering the entire shank. Now tie off and cut your thread. (I usually tie 1 or 2 dozen at a time, and do each step on all of them before I proceed to the next step. Of course, you may do as many as you wish.

2.  Get out a hacksaw double blade, or a hobby saw, or, as I prefer, a Dremel tool with two metal cut off blades stacked in the mandrel, and cut a groove fore and aft about 1/8" or so deep. We want to encompass the entire shank with this cork, but, we do not want to encroach on the gap, especially in the smaller sizes.

3. Now using five minute epoxy, or super glue, place a generous amount of glue into the slot of the cork and place it on the hook close to the eye. Set it aside to dry.

4.  Using yellow paint, (and this is the original color) paint the cork. If you get some into the eye of the hook, simply take a hackle, insert the butt through the eye, and pull the entire feather through the eye to remove the excess. Set it aside to dry. When the paint is dry, it may have a mustard cast to it, this is what you want. If you seal the cork before painting, it will take the color faithfully. I personally have found no advantage in this, so I just let the paint soak into the cork.

5.   Return the hook with attached cork to the vise and tie on behind the cork with your thread. Cut a small to mid sized bunch of squirrel tail and using the "pinch wrap" bind it down with several pinches, and follow by wrapping securely to the barb, but no further. The tail when completed should extend straight off of the back about the length of the shank. Add a bit of cement for durability and you are finished with the original pattern.

If you want to add eyes they can be painted on, or you can use mylar eyes and overcoat with epoxy. You can add legs if you wish. Personally I like the simplicity of this pattern and use it very often. The fish also like it plain, as they seem to hammer it pretty good.

Be sure to read Al Campbell's Product Review on Mustad Hooks in Product Review!

Stay tuned - Bob Jacklin will soon begin a Weekly Tying Tip section here! ~ LadyFisher

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