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How-to-steps ( Big Ugly )

Jeremy Hunt

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Big Ugly



Hook: Mustad Signature R50, size 6-8

Thread: Uni-thread 6/0 (black)

Body: Foam with adhesive sticky side (2mm)

Hackle: Whiting hackle (only) Grizzly

Tying Instructions:


Step 1.

Cut a piece of the foam to measure just shy of the straight part of the hook shank on both ends. This way you can build a taper on both ends for the hackle to be tied in and the eye not to be crowded.


Step 2.

Start the thread at the front and tie down the foam winding to the bend. Make close wraps to keep a smooth foundation. If you don’t have a smooth base your hackle will find its own grooves to slide into instead of even segmentations as you wind the hackle up.


Step 3.

You should have a nice tapered slope at the back before you tie in the hackle.



Step 4.

Grab two of the same hackles and splay them out. The reason for this is one will wrap one direction and the other one the opposite direction. Make sure you select the right size hackle for the hook you’re tying it on. The rule of thumb on this patterns is for the hackle to be longer, twice as long as the hook gap.


Step 5.

Separate the hackle at the tips. These hackles get larger fairly quick so make sure you think about that as you’re gagging the right size hackle.


Step 6.

Tie the hackle in right where you separated them. Tie them together and make sure the hackles are splayed out (think about legs kicking out). Tie down the tips instead of cutting them off. That way they won’t slip out when you wind them forward. This is also when you’ll want to tie the foam down as you advance the thread back up to the eye.


Step 7.

The first feather should be wrapped up opposite of counter clock wise. This will help the barbs stick out instead of getting smashed down. I have found that if you tie the first feather going counter clock wise you’ll tie down more of the barbs when you tie the second feather and it won’t look right.


I made about seven turns with the hackle and trim the excess off. I always trim off up top. A little trick I do is before I cut the feather off is I tie in front of it a few turns to shift it back so I don't have any barbs going in front of the eye or crowding the eye.


Step 8.

Wrap the next feather going counter clock wise. If you find yourself smashing down the barbs down then tweak it as you wind it forward (trying to keep as many barbs sticking up). Go slow and it will work better.


Step 9.

Trim off the excess and whip finish the fly. Now grab some type of bodkin (I use the end of the whip finisher, the pointed side you grab the thread with) and pull out any barbs you see that you can get to stick back out. The matarelli whips have a nice point that can be used as a bodkin to pick out dubbing etc. Glue the eye and it’s a finish fly.

Accept the drift.....<>>><


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Jeremy do you ever fish a small nymph like a zebra below the big ugly? It looks like it would be really buoyant and a great indicator fly.


"My biggest worry is that my wife (when I'm dead) will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it" - Koos Brandt

Greg Mitchell

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Matter of fact, I did yesterday, but nothing on the dry. In the summer time it's a different story. This fly works best when fished in faster water that has riffles. Usually if I'm going to fish this fly as a dry only, I don't really want to put a dropper on the bottom. If I'm searching for fish and not worried about the dry being the fly I want fish to hit, then I add zebra midge droppers or various type midges.

Yesterday I had a trip in the morning, but we canceled due to the weather conditions. He lives up north and wanted to get back before the snow hit. So I went ahead and fished with a few guys from my forum. We started down below the gauntlet hole before you get to the big hole and we all started out fishing midges and caught several fish. JD was using primrose and pearl when we first started and Steve P was throwing a rusty midge. They were both fishing there midges shallow and I was fishing mine on the bottom. I was throwing a size 16 black zebra midge with a gold or copper bead with copper wire for the rib. Now days I like playing the trial and error thing where I want to see out of the three flies which one was going to be the golden ticket out of the three we were throwing. JD was having luck on the primrose and Steve was barely getting hits on the rusty midge and I was getting hits almost every cast.

I think the difference was fishing deeper in the rain. I’ve done it in the past and remember from playing around through the years that trout prefer midges on the bottom when the sun isn’t out. And color had everything to do with it. The rusty midge doesn’t work as well until summertime gets here and primrose and pearl seem to be more of an attractor pattern because of the flash being the majority of the fly. The body is tied with pearl flashabou and if the sun was out I can see where this fly would get trouts attention. Anymore, I start believing that patterns are more about getting fishes attention and not so much relating to the pattern. I believe trout relate to what they see the most and we all know when the waters down that the majority of the activity would be midges. I saw a ton of fish coming to the surface even when it was raining. Even though the sun wasn’t out the midges were still emerging.

Flies that don’t make since to us, either because they don’t imitate a specific insect that trout feed on in river systems, but do catch fish has to be more about the “trout” being curious enough to take a look at it or hit it. For instance, why do trout hit indicators? Back in the day before indicators became popular you would never see a trout rise and hit an indicator like a dry fly, but they do know. I think they think it becomes part of the food chain because they see so many orange indicators. That would be considered an attractor pattern because it doesn’t imitate anything, it’s just loud and gets their attention. Anyways, I’m just rambling on.

Accept the drift.....<>>><


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