Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Buck Bugs - Part I

A shot of bugs from my wife's alma mater

When I first met a group of what would become my Russian fishing buddies on the Kola River, I was using a Shady Lady variant, tied on a #2 double (see below). My friend Alexey pointed at it and said, "Bomber!" Through a friend/translator, I told him it wasn't a Bomber and we fish it like any other wet fly. He didn't quite believe me, so he took my rod and dabbled my fly in the river. He was surprised to see that it didn't float. During my stay there, this conversation repeated itself each time a Russian angler asked to look at my fly box. 

The Buck Bug is a shrunken derivative of the Bomber, first tied by Rev. Elmer Smith. I believe Rev. Smith intended his bugs to be fished dry (similar to the Bomber), but were later found to be extremely effective wet flies. The body of spun deer hair can be deceiving. They sure looks like they could be  dry flies. Some anglers grease them and fish them as small dries, though I have not tried that yet.

Renous River grilse
#6 Green Machine w/white tail

For the most part, I fish two different Buck Bug patterns; a Shady Lady variant and a Green Machine with a white tail. The templates of these Buck Bug variations were developed by Emerson Underhill of Barnettville, New Brunswick (the story of both can be found here). I carry around a couple of Smurfs and a few natural-colored bugs, but I never really gave them a shot since other two seem to work well enough. I use the Green Machine on bright days and the Shady Lady on dark days. 

Shady Lady variant  and white tailed Green Machine
Tied on #4 doubles and #6 singles

Stay tuned for a Shady Lady tying step-by-step to follow...

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