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Tying Video – Murray’s Hellgrammite

Growing up in the Midwest there were not too many opportunities for trout fly fishing, actually non at all for a kid who couldn’t drive.  So, warmwater species was the thing.  Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass were King!  Not having anyone in my family to “show me the ropes”as it were, I had to learn most things by experimenting, reading what I could (which wasn’t much) and pure dumb luck.  This served me well for many years but I always thought I was missing something somewhere in terms of real knowledge and experience.  Most of this “learning time” was the Mid-70’s through the 80’s.  When Harry Murray’s book, Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass, came along in 1989 it was like a whole world opened up.  Not only did somethings get affirmed but there was so much information I had never even thought of in this book.  One of those things was the larva of the Dobson Fly, the Hellgrammite.  Sure, Crayfish were all over and it was well known a good Crayfish pattern could provide a fine day of fishing but I had never even heard of a Hellgrammite.  Although, I might have been bitten by a few as I would wet wade barefoot, ah youth!  Memory lane aside, the book opened up a whole new world to my fishing and my thinking, even for trout.  Learning to tie and fish the Murray’s Hellgrammite helped bring my fishing to a whole new level.

The fly itself is not a difficult tie nor is it a remarkable (appearance wise) fly as flies go.  It is essentially a Woolly Bugger with one catch.  If you read the book you will find that Mr. Murray was on the hunt for a better Hellgrammite pattern and striking out with all the usual flies.  Until it was mentioned to use Ostrich herl for the tail of the fly.  Once he did this he found a fly that now swam the way Hellgrammite’s swim in the water when displaced from the bottom of the stream.  Here he found a fly that had all the appearance and action he was looking for.  Since that first Hellgrammite he has made a few small changes to the fly as well as thrown in a few other colors than Black that work well.  This video shows the basic fly as I learned to tie it from the book as well as standard variations from this.  That said, if you search the web you will find all sorts of variations that have worked for other folks.  My intent with this video is to show the fly as it was “originally” tied (or as close as I know of) to keep in mind what the author was intending with the pattern.  If you are someone who love chasing Smallmouth Bass in river, streams and lake, I HIGHLY recommend you get a copy of Harry Murray’s original book on Fly Fishing For Smallmouth Bass.  Not only will you enjoy reading it and learn more than you thought you ever could you will enjoy opening it up for years to come!

Hook:Mustad 9672, #4 – #10
Thread:Uni-Thread 8/0, Black
Tail:15 – 20 Ostrich Herl, Black
Hackle:Rooster Saddle Hackle, Black
Body:Rayon Chenille, Medium Black
Pinchers:Round Rubber Legs, Medium Black
Eyes/Weight:Unpainted dumbbell Eyes, Small
Links above are to affiliate products as are the links to books or videos mentioned in this post.  If you purchase any of these products through the affiliate link it helps Dressed Irons.  Thanks in advance!

I am continuing over the next few weeks with a few more streamer patterns.  I have one fly in particular, the Myakka Minnow, that I will be doing an in depth video on.  Maybe not really in depth but more discussing various materials to tie the fly with and how they effect the outcome of the fly.  It is a simple and fun pattern and one that can easily be experimented with to see what new flies can be created. 

If you would like to purchase some Murray’s Hellgrammite’s there are a number for sale (while supplies last).

If you haven’t yet, sign up for the weekly newsletter to stay up to date on Dressed Irons as well as receiving more details about this upcoming class.  The sign up form is on the right of this page!

As always, if you have any questions about this fly (or any other) you can leave a comment on Dressed Irons or any of the videos I have produced and I will help in anyway I can. Enjoy!

Remember….. It’s Fly tying….. If you’re not having fun, You’re Doin’ It Wrong.

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