Fly Patterns - Billywog




Tiemco 2312, Daiichi 1260, or similar shaped hook, sizes 8-12


Black 8/0 or smaller


Small bunch of muskrat fur, with guard hairs


Dubbed muskrat


Fine gold wire


Peacock herl (wrapped)


Pheasant after-shaft (immature feathers from pheasant back)


Small black plastic eyes


(optional) .010” lead or substitute at thorax area





Trout fishing is a passion (and a job) for me. Nevertheless, bass and pan fish fishing is also high on the list. This has given me the opportunity to create some new patterns–some (but not all) of which have been successful. The Billywog is one of my successful still water creations.


Bass love frogs. Pollywogs–immature frogs–are plentiful and easy prey. So it’s a no-brainer: You need a pollywog pattern in your bass fly box. This fly is so simple it will make you laugh. Well then, all the better–because I favor simplicity. Fish it with short strips; if that doesn't work, try variations in stripping speed and length. Visualize the soft after-shaft feather moving suggestively as you strip, with a predatory bass eying the passing morsel. Hang on! Here he comes!


P.S.–the Billywog may also suggest a swimming damsel nymph.


Tying Instructions

1.   De-barb the hook and cover the rear half of the shank with thread; add weight at the thorax area, if desired.

Step 1


2.     Take a small bunch of muskrat fur and tie it in as a short tail at the hook bend, just above the back end of the barb.


Step 2 

3.     Tie in a piece of gold wire for the rib, at the same point that you tied in the tail. Dub a slim body up to a point just forward of the halfway point of the shank. Counter-wind the rib forward to this same point, tie it off, and trim the excess.


Step 3 

4.     Tie in 4 strands of peacock herl by the tips, at this same point. Strengthen them by wrapping them around the tying thread. Now take the herl and thread together, and wrap a nice thorax forward to a point about 2 eye-lengths behind the eye of the hook.


Step 4 

5.     If you opt for mono eyes, tie them in now, about 1 eye-length behind the eye of the hook.


Step 5 

6.     Just behind the eyes, or at the point where the herl thorax ends (if you choose not to use eyes), tie in an immature feather (called an “after-shaft”) from a pheasant back; it should be tied in by its tip. You will find these feathers behind the main, larger feathers on the back. Before tying it in, trim the feather material from one side of the feather.

7.     Take two or three wraps of the after-shaft, stroking it back so it sweeps back over the thorax; tie it off and trim the excess. Care must be taken in handling these feathers, as they are quite fragile.

8.     Form a nice, small head with the tying thread.

Steps 6, 7, 8

Now go fish your Billywog. Spring is near and. if it’s warm enough, the bass will be in shallower water. See ya on the creek...!!!


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