Wet Flies

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The Fox Tail Grub

The Fox Tail Grub is a great bluegill fly. But, it has a problem. You can't keep the bass and crappies away from it.

Materials List

Hook Mustad 9672 Size 10
Thread Uni-Thread 6/0 - Olive
Eyes Bead Chain Small - You choose color
Tail Rabbit Fur from Zonker Strip Olive
Underbody Hare-Tron Dubbin Dark Olive
Body Hen Neck Feathers Olive Grizzly

Tying Notes

The "Fox Tail Grub" has many of the characteristics of a good bluegill fly. It's only an inch or so long, it resembles a variety of creatures that bluegills like to eat, it has soft materials that undulate in the water, and its eyes cause it to ride hook point up which makes it somewhat weedless.

It's called the Fox Tail Grub because it's tail originally was Arctic Fox fur - sometimes called fur marabou. Somewhere along the way I substituted a tuft of rabbit fur from a Zonker Strip and it's been that way ever since.

Two feathers from a Whiting Hen Neck are used in the tying sequence but you could easily substitute a long, thin, webby rooster feather like a feather from a Whiting Bugger Pack.

The fly in the tying sequence is Olive Grizzly. I also tie The Fox Tail Grub in Grizzly, Brown Grizzly, Black, and Chartreuse.

Try to use Whiting feathers for your flies. They are the best. To locate a source for Whiting Hen Neck and Bugger Feathers contact Whiting Farms.

Angling Tips

Most freshwater ponds and lakes throught the country have resident damsel and draggon fly nymphs which provide forage for hungry bluegills and other panfish.

I would like to think that the Fox Tail Grub tied in dark colors and fished with a darting and swimming action would mimic a draggon fly nymph. So that's the way I fish it - with a strp-strip-strip retrieve. And, it works pretty well.

Tying Instructions

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Step 1

Clamp the hook in the vice and crimp the barb. Attach the thread at the hook's eye and lay down a thread base back to the bend. Then return the thread to about one eye width behind the hook's eye.

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Step 2

Attach the bead chain eyes with several figure-eight thread wraps and return the thread to the hook's bend.

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Step 3

With a round toothpick apply a drop of Zap-A-Gap Super Glue to the eyes to lock them in place.

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Sstep 4

Remove a clump of rabbit hair from a Zonker Strip and measure it against the hook. The tail clump should be as long as the hook.

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Step 5

Tie in the tail material and return the tying thread to the base of the tail.

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Step 6

Select and prepare a hen neck feather by removing the fluff from the base of the stem. Stroke the barbs back as shown to expose the feathers tip. The size of the feather barbs should be the length of the hook's gap.

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Step 7

Tie the feather in by the tip "wet fly style" with the cupped side of the feather facing the hook.

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Step 8

Begin to build a tapered underbody by applying a thin noodle of dubbing to the thread. Then dub the body to about the half-way point on the shank making sure that the body widens as you dub forward.

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Step 9

Palmer the feather forward over the dubbing and bind it down at the dubbing break. Remove any excess feather material in preparation for tying in the second feather.

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Step 10

Tie in the second feather in the same way that you tied in the first. This feather should have barbs somewhat longer than the first feather so that the taperd look of the body can be maintained.

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Next, dub the remainder of the underbody by continuing the taper to the eyes.

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Step 12

Palmer the second feather forward to the hook's eyes and bind it down with a couple wraps of thread. Remove any excess feather.

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Step 13

Dub the thread with a very fine noodle of dubbing and figure-eight the dubbed thread around the bead chain eyes until a pronounced head of dubbing incases the eyes.

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Step 14

Form a neat thread head in front of the eyes and tie off the thread with a Zap-A-Gap Knot. Simply apply the super glue to about one-inch of thread nearest the hook and take several turns of thread on top of the existing thread wraps. The glue dries instantly and the knot is secure.

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Step 15

Now brush the Fox Tail Grub vigoriously with a dubbing brush to marry the dubbing fibers with the feather barbs. The more you brush the buggier the fly gets.

If you don't have a dubbing brush go to the "On The Bench" page to learn how to make one.

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Step 16

Your Fox Tail Grub is finished.

Copyright 2024 Ward Bean, Council Bluffs, IA, All rights reserved.