Unique Fly Pattern: The Booby Fly

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The Kamloops "Booby Fly" is a "unique fly pattern" modeled after the traditional British pattern and can effectively pose as a snail fly pattern while fishing rainbows in still water.

In the fall of 2006, I had a conversation with long-time "fly-tying expert" Mo Bradley that shed a whole new light on the way I fish my wet line. I had been doing well over the summer and early fall but as we got into mid-October I was finding that my success rate was getting less even though there were fish moving, particularly in the shallows. I did mention that when I pumped a fish that I managed to land, their stomachs were near empty except for tiny shrimp and a few snails. I have never seen an effective snail pattern and knew very little about how they relate to rainbow trout.

My question to him was "Is there an effective snail fly pattern and how would you fish it?"

His answer was "yes there may be an effective pattern" and he proceeded to tell me about how freshwater snails exist in the lakes. These snails usually live and feed along the bottom of the lake however, when they need an oxygen boost they create their own gases internally and float to the top. When they have had enough of being on the surface they release their gas and sink back to the bottom. They can do this quite quickly.

So how does this pertain to fishing stillwater rainbow trout?

Fish will feed on snails at various times of the season and will take them on the bottom, on the surface (particularly alongside or even in reeds and rushes along a shoreline) and while making their ascent and descent through the water column.

A number of years ago the Booby Fly was invented in Britain. Mo suggested that it could be tied to act like a snail. The original fly had some sort of styrofoam beads tied to the fly inside a piece of mesh so that it would float. When fished with a sinking fly line the fly initially floats. As the wet line sinks, the weight of the line would start to pull the fly under the surface. While retrieving, the fly appears to be wiggling it's way back to the bottom but wanting to float between pulls on the retrieve. Apparently this action makes the fish go crazy.

Without ever seeing a "booby fly", I went home and tried my own version based on what Mo had described to me. I didn't have styrofoam beads but I did have access to some closed cell foam. This is great stuff because it does not seem to soak up the water which reduces it's buoyancy.

booby fly pattern, unique fly pattern I tied a number of patterns, mostly dark in color with a bead head. I used both plastic and metal bead heads that varied in colour (white, black, gold, shinny black and green). After experimenting a few times it was clear that a glass head was better as the weight of the metal bead head subtracted from the buoyancy action of the foam boobies during the retrieve. I also varied the color and shape of the body and the color of the 'foam boobies'.

To my surprise the various patterns that we tried worked particularly well during the month of November when most other food sources had dwindled. The trout hit the fly hard. Most of the hits came as the fly was nearing the bottom on the retrieve, along the bottom or especially when the fly was near the end of the retrieve and we were pulling it toward the surface.

Try Fishing the Boob Yourself!

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The Kamloops Booby Fly

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Hook: Mustad 9672 - #10

Thread: Black - Danville's 210 - FLYMASTER +PLUS+

Body: peacock herl or black chenille/phentex or dubbed mohair/ice dub

Rib: silver, red or gold wire

Thorax: Peacock Herl or none

Head: White or black glass bead

Boobies: white or dark gray foam cut from a dink float (white boobies=black head, black boobies=white head. Cut in the shape of a half moon.


#1 Slide on your glass white or black bead.

#2 Dress the hook with thread and then tie in rib and body material. #3 Wrap your body material counter-clockwise towards the head, make sure you wrap it tight, then secure.

#4 Then wrap your rib clock-wise towards the head and secure.

#5 Tie in your peacock herl thorax 3/4 the way up the fly near the head. Let it hang loose until the boobies are attached.

#6 Place your prepared boobies on top of the fly and carefully secure. Start by using light pressure and as it becomes more secure tighten it down. Try and place the tighter thread on top of previously placed thread to avoid cutting through the foam. This may take a little practice. Secure with a whip finish just behind the bead head.

#7 For the thorax I usually choose none. However if you want a thorax, Wrap your peacock herl around the boobies several times to desired fullness.

#8 Tie off and apply head cement.

#9 Trim the boobies so that they are roundish.

#10 When you try the fly in the water watch to see if it spins on the retrieve. If so, trim the edges on the booby to make them as round as possible to eliminate the spin.

Want to Know how to fish this interesting fly pattern?

Check out our article here at Ezine Articles.com.

Here's an example of how the British tie the Booby fly.

This fly tying tutorial by Dave Cammiss, is on a You Tube Video. The main difference between how he ties them compared to my ties is that the foam tubes that he uses for the boobies don't seem to be readily available here in Canada so we improvise with dink float material. I also like to use the glass bead head shown in the photo above.


Try Booby Fishing Yourself!

Order Your Booby Flies Today

Order 6 or 12 Hand Tied Booby Flies

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