103 black and orange bugPresented from Issue 103, April 2013
Recently I fished with a friend on Arthurs Lake. It is always interesting fishing with other people — not only to have some different company, but to learn some new techniques. I fish a nine foot, six weight for dries and if there are no fish moving off come the dries and I change to semi-wets or full wets with a sinking line. A DI3 is my favourite on a ten foot, six weight rod. I like the longer rod when lifting the flies to the surface on the retrieve — especially if using 2-3 flies and a long leader. Back to fishing with my friend though - who happens to be a dry fly purist for some reason. It was pleasant looking for fish, but there was not much moving so we were prospecting as much as anything.

I used this chance to try some new buggy looking flies I had tied up. They weren’t particularly representative of anything, but looked good to me. We fished along some likely shores and the holes in the weedbeds with two dries. It is surprising and rewarding to see an unseen fish come up and sip down your offering. Good boat techniques and control is a must in these instances.

A few fish were caught and while my friend stuck with the same patterns most of the day I changed with every fish caught. By day’s end we had both caught a similar number of fish.

He asked why I bothered to change flies so often.

My answer was that if trout are feeding really well they will take most well presented flies. So I think that a well tied fly that looks buggy will get an inspection at least.

The following pattern has given me lots of fish. It is mostly fished as part of a two fly setup. If there are moving fish I use it on its own.

It could represent many different insects, so if the fish are on the chew, it is usually taken with vigour. I like that it is a little different and so, it seems, do the fish.

Black and Orange Bug

  • Hook: Light guage, size 10-14.
  • Thread: Black.
  • Tail: Small bunch of cock fibres.
  • Rib: Fine copper wire.
  • Body: One small black cock hackle.
  • Wing: Two small golden pheasant feathers.
  • Thorax: One peacock herl.
  • Front Hackle: One black cock hackle.
  • It is important to keep both body and front hackles small.


  1. Wind black thread the full length of hook shank, tie in a small bunch of cock fibres for tail and then tie in fine copper wire for rib.
  2. Bring thread no more than two thirds of the way back towards the eye. Now tie in the palmer hackle solidly with at least four turns of thread and cut away excess stem.
  3. Wind the palmer hackle back towards the tail stopping where the rib is tied in. Now tie the rib forwards securing the palmer hackle. Secure the rib with a few turns of thread and cut away excess hackle tip and rib.
  4. Take two small golden pheasant feathers and tie one in each side of the body and cut away excess stems of each.
  5. Tie in peacock herl and leave hanging.
  6. Place front black hackle in and cut away excess stem. Wind hackle in nice tight turns towards the eye. Bring the thread through carefully and make sure you do not crowd the eye of the hook. Cut away excess hackle.
  7. Bring the peacock herl gently through the front hackle and tie down in front. Cut away excess and whip finish the fly.

103 black and orange bug

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