Estaz Willow Bugger

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The most time-consuming part of tying these flies is the painting and dry time of the willow leaf spinners. I paint all ahead of time, dry with a hair dryer the day after painting and store until needed. Do not paint entire front of spinner (pool in the center of convex side) allowing a thin rim of silver or gold around the spinner. I use two or three coats to get the depth of color desired. I also use three different colors: green, yellow and red. Your choice of colors, or combination of colors for all materials, can be anything you want to try.


Hook: TMC 300-8
Thread: 3/0 or 6/0 black
Folded clevis: 5 mm
Willow leaf: 1 inch
Loon: Hard Head paint
Estaz: opal black
Marabou: slate gray
Hackle: black wooly bugger

  1. As always crush the barb (clevis will not fit hook if you don’t).
  2. Slide clevis through spinner and onto hook.
  3. Leave three eye widths of space behind eye for free floating clevis. Start thread and wrap back to bend of hook. Coat with head cement or Zap-A-Gap.
  4. Tie in marabou tail the length of the hook shank, wrapping over entire hook shank to build body bulk desired. Wrap thread back to tie in point.
  5. Tie in hackle and Estaz.
  6. Wrap Estaz to within one eye width of thread wrap (this will be for tying a head).
  7. Palmer hackle forward and tie off at end of Estaz.
  8. Tie a tapered head, whip finish and cut thread.
  9. Coat head with head cement.

Troll or fish with as fast a strip as you can to made willow leaf spin. This fly works well for large and smallmouth bass, pike and, occasionally, trout.

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