Leif’s Glass Bugger
Posted on June 19, 2015 by Leif Birnbaum
Categories: Big Kype Production, Fly Tying
After receiving a number of questions about this fly, I decided to put together a tutorial for tying it. I have not seen it done anywhere else, though I’m probably not the only one to have had the idea of using glass beads for the body of the fly. Glass beads provide enough weight to sink the fly so no lead wrap is needed. The glass beads also create a nice shimmer effect, reflecting light and making this fly more visible to hungry fish.
This is Leif’s Glass Bugger.
- Hook: #6 Streamer Hook
- Thread: 6/0 Black
- Tail: Marabou and Flash
- Body: 6/0 Glass ‘E’ Beads and Hackle
I used a #6 streamer hook for this tutorial, but I actually prefer a #8.
These glass beads have a lot of great uses in the fly tying world. I picked these up at Michaels. Other beads I have bought elsewhere were very inconsistent in shape and size.
Start by first threading six (6) of the glass beads onto the hook shank. When using a #8 hook I will thread five (5) glass beads onto the hook shank.
Start your thread behind the last bead and cover the rest of the hook shank bringing the thread close to even with the hook barb.
Tie in your marabou for the tail. Keep it about the same length as the body or even slightly shorter. Remember less is more. I prefer to trim off some marabou fibers rather than tying in a whole feather.
After the marabou, tie in two (2) strands of flash, one on each side of the fly. Keep these the same length as the marabou or slightly longer. I like to keep it simple. Too much flash is overkill.
Next, tie in your hackle. I prefer to tie the tip in first so when I wrap forward it tapers larger towards the head of the fly. Ideally you will want hackle length about the same as the distance of the hook gap or slightly longer.
After I have the hackle anchored on the rear of the fly, I make a few more wraps to cover up the ends of the materials. I then slide the rearward glass bead over my thread and materials. You can apply a spot of super glue first to make this fly more durable. Next, I advance my thread to the front of the glass bead and make a number of wraps, advance the thread in front of the next glass bead and make a number of wraps etc. Continue this until you have your thread seated between the front two glass beads. What I want to accomplish here is to evenly space out the beads, anchor them in place, and provide ample room for wrapping my hackle forward.
Now you can wrap your hackle. Make two wraps at the butt of the fly, then advance the hackle forward one glass bead at a time and make two wraps in between each bead. You may need to use your finger nail to push the hackle in between the beads to get the first wrap started each time so that it seats properly between the glass beads. Stop behind the front bead and tie off here but do not cut your thread yet.
After tying off behind the front glass bead, I like to advance the thread one more time and make some wraps right behind the hook eye, tie off and trim the thread. You can then add a drop of super glue here. This should help anchor everything and give you a more durable fly.
The finished fly. If you tie any of these and catch fish on them, I would love to hear about it.
ONE THING THAT YOU DO NOT EXPLAIN IS HOW YOU ADVANCE THE THREAD AND HACKLE AS YOU GO FROM BEAD SPACE TO BEAD..SPACE ..DO YOU BRING THE HACKLE AND THE THREAD OVER THE BEAD, IN WHICH CASE BOTH HACKLE A D THREAD WILL BE EXPOSED AND EASILY DAMAGED….OR…DO YOU SOMEHOW PUSH BOTH THROUGH THE BEAD HOLE SOMEHOW?.. THE LATTER WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT
Bring the hackle and the thread over the bead and make a couple of wraps in between each bead. As long as you are using a good strong thread, you should not have any issues. I use my finger nail to hold the thread in place when moving between bead gaps so that I can keep all of the exposed thread wraps pushed to the underside of the fly.