Spun Deer Bass Bug
At the outset, tying bass bugs is intimidating. It's spinning and clipping deer hair that's the problem. In fact spinning deer hair is not all that hard. It just takes some practice and the willingness to get deer hair all over you in the process!
Hook: a stinger bass bug hook, I used a TMC #2 here, or saltwater hook
Thread: Danville 3/0 or UTC140
Tail: bucktail; webby rooster fearthers; flash; rubber legs
Body: palmered webby rooster feather; rubber legs
Collar: flared deer hair
Head: spun deer hair
TIP: Mount the hook securely in the vise, start the thread and pull until it breaks; do this several times, then never pull that hard again.
Remove the barb; mount the hook in the vise. I use white 140 thread on this fly, so that's what you are seeing. Start the thread about 1/2 down the hook shank and wrap back until it hangs over the point of the hook, as shown here
Select a clump of bucktail fibers that, when compressed, are about 2X the diameter of the hook wire; tips should extend a shank length behind bend; tie in on top of shank with tight FA & BA wraps of waxed thread; clip butts as shown
Select four feathers the color you like that are about even in width and length; this does not have to be perfect. Take two feathers; place them so they are curving in the same direction and align the tips. Repeat with the other two feathers. Now, tie on one pair on the near side of the shank, feathers flaring away from the shank The tips should extend beyond the bucktail, as shown. The feather stems are on the side of the hook shank.
Now we select feathers. Strung saddles will work as long as they are wide enough. The large feathers from a cape are great, as are bass bug and saltwater cape feathers.
SUB: marabou; long thin roooster saddle feathers; short stubby hen back feather. Be creative; use what you have. Combine all of the above.
Turn the fly over in the vise, or rotate your vise, and tie in the other set of feathers, keeping the tips even with the feathers on the other side. TIP: Do not move the thread behind the tie-in point of the feathers on the other side as the thread will rotate the feathers around the shank of the hook.
Cover the feather butts with even adjacent turns of waxed thread.
Take a few strands of flashabou or krystal flash - or several of both - and tie them in over the wing. Clip at various lengths to make it interesting.
TIP: flash material is long, as are the tailshere. Select half of the volume of flash you want, tie in adjacent to wing in the middle of the length of flash with 3-4 FA wraps, then pull the front half back over the wung and the down with FA wraps
Select and tie in two pieces of rubber on each side of the hook. The color should contrast the color of the wings and the hackle that will be tied in later. The rubber material here was long, so I aligned the near tips where I wanted them, tid them in with BA wraps of thread, then pulled them over to the other side of the shank and tied them down with FA wraps. As with the feather wings, I like to keep the legs on each side of the hook shank.
Select another feather or two in the color of choice. I like long, webby feathers such as shlappen for this. A contrasting color is a good thing: it helps fish see the fly. Stroke the fibers back from the tip, then tie in by the tip.
TIP: when winding hackle some fibers may get caught rather than splay. Use a bodkin to redlease caught fibers; use care so fibers are released, not broken.
Wind forward. With each turn of hackle fold the fibers back so they flow to the back of the fly. With each ensuing turn, the feather stem should lie adjacen to the previous wrap.
Do not tie off or clip feather until the correct length of the hook shank is covered with hackle. Note the finished fly. Hair heads are decieving, in that hair flares and looks larger than
Deer hair. Select the color or colors you'd like to use. Three, yellow, olive and orange, are used here.
I start with yellow to create a collar, tips back.
The picture shows the length of the tips, which align with the back of the bend of the hook, and volume of hair used - compare to following photo.
TIP: cut away the volume of hair required, clean away fluff and short fibers near base, stack; remove with tips left, clip butts to length shown in next photo. NOTE: Note the position of the thread.
Once tips are in position, switch hands without moving tip position, and clip butts to length shown.
The next step is to flare, rather than spin, the hair, keeping it on top of the shank. Once the hair is into the position shown relative to the hook shank and the thread, grip hair tight, then make a loose wrap of thread around the hair, being careful not to move it.
Once the thread is around the hook shank and the clump of hair, continue to hold the hair by the tips in the left hand and pull straight down on the thread, which will compress and flare the hair on top of and slightly around the shank without spinning it. From the top view, it will look like this shot at right. Once it is positioned, continue to hold the tips and makr 2 more flare FA wraps of thread.
Note the length of the tips relative to the length of the butts. This makes it easy to separate them when trimming. Now, the hair is on top of the hook, and we have to put some on the bottom to fill the gap.
From the same patch of hair, unless you prefer a lighter color on the underside of the fly, clip out a smaller amount of hair than we just used. Clean it as explained above and clip away the tips. All we need is about a 1-1/2" length of hair. Turn the fly over or rotate the vise. Place the hair the blank spot so the length of the fibers is parallel to the hook shank. Hold the hair in your right hand with half the hair behind and half in front of the thread. Push the hair against the hook shank and make a loose wrap of thread around the hair, as before. The thread will go through the first spin of hair; don't worry. Now flare the hair as before, filling in the blank area. Two or three tight flare wraps of thread are all that are required.
Pull the hair back with LH fingers, and make a few tight wraps of thread in front of all of it, then continue to hold the hair in position with LH, push back on hair with RH to compress hair. When the yellow is done, the fly should look like the picture at the right. Note the tips are on top; the butts on the bottom and around the shank of the hook.
NOTE: the thread is just in front of the spun yellow hair. That's where it needs to be for the first spin. Also Note that the hook shank is now covered with thread. Do that now.
Select the olive hair; trim away enough to do the job at hand from the skin, clean fluff and short fivers, then clip away the tips to make a tube of hair. With the fibers parallel to one another, lay the hair on top of and parallel to the hook shank, make a wrap of thread that bisects the tube, then another and another, each one slightly tighter than the previous one. Now, let the hair go while you continue to wind the thread: even thread tension is required at all times to achieve a good spin. Make several thread wraps through the hair, moving the thread forward and back slightly. The hair should first spin around the hook, then stay in place. This is something tp try on a tread-covered hook shank.
A narrow section of bare hook shank remains. Once again, push the olive hair back, make a few wraps of thread in front of it to dam it up, and then move the thread forward so it splits the remaining blank area.
Prepare and spin the red hair, following the same principle as we did with the olive. Once it is spun, pull the hair back, push it along the shank of the hook so the area behind the eye is free of hair, then wax thread and whip finish and cut the thread. The hard part is done. Now, we trim!
When trimming remember this: once it is trimmed, the hair is gone.
First, turn the fly over in the vise and trim the bottom flat. Be careful not to cut hackle or rubber legs. Just cut deer hair. I'll be honest when I say that all that I'm doing is trimming this part flat on the bottom. That's it. Then I turn the vise over, angle my scissors so they will create the general shape I want, and start trimming and turning the vise, keeping the scissor blades in the same plane. Take small amounts at a time. Use searated scissors.
Here is the shape I strive for when tying a practical fishing bass bug.
Bass bugs of this type can be tied in three steps:
1. tail, body and rubber legs; whip finish. 2. spin hair. 3. trim hair to shape - outside, if possible, or over a trash can.
Slightly wetting the hair will keep it from flying all over the place.
I'm don't use glues often, but I will add a few drops of head cement on the underside of trimmed hair to glue it to thre thread base on rthe shank. Have fub; enjoy the process.