Hellgrammite Tying Instructions
there's been some interest in hellgrammite
patterns and because smallmouth season is
upon us, I thought it would be fitting to
work up tying instructions for my
Hook: Size 6 Tiemco TMC 200R or similar
spooled lead or lead wire
filaments (gills): Brown size 14 Whiting 100
Light olive Scudback
Rib: Fine copper
Hellgramaniac is tied with the above color
combination, however a multitude of colors
may be substituted to match local variations
or artistic flare.
hellgrammite patterns aren't as abundant as
other patterns, today's fly fishermen still
have several choices to chose from. The
development of Dougherty's Hellgramaniac
came from a fact many bait fishermen already
knew, hellgrammites are bass magnets. Finding a good fly match was a natural
progression. Dougherty's Hellgramaniac, a
late 80's creation, was a product of wanting
a buggier looking hellgrammite. At the time
hellgrammite patterns were often overlooked
for more traditional bass patterns such as
poppers or Muddler minnows. The limited
selection combined with a lack of bugginess
created a need for the Dougherty's
Hellgramaniac has taken panfish and
smallmouth bass to 20". Whether fished by
itself or as a bottom fly on a double drop
rig, it's a fly worth having in the fly box.
It's a good pattern that still produces
thread, tie a solid thread-base to the hook.
A solid base will help prevent materials
from rotating around the hook once the fly
is finished. Gluing between each
following step is optional and dependent on
the fly tyer's personal preference.
Cut 2 sections
of lead wire and attach to either side of
the hook. Tying-in the lead to either
side of the hook provides both weight and a
wider abdomen for the fly. The
placement of the lead should still allow the
tail to be tied-in. Apply glue to
thread wraps to secure the lead. Allow the
glue to dry.
Build up a small
ball of dubbing towards the bend of the
hook. Next, tie-in the pheasant tail.
Several pheasant tail featherettes
(fibers/filaments) may be used. The
small ball of dubbing will help fan-out the
Scudback. The Scudback should be
tied-in far enough back so that once the
Scudback is pulled forward, all wraps from
the previous step are hidden.
Additionally, the tag-end of the Scudback
may be secured by tying forward the lead.
This will prevent an unnatural build-up of
thread at the base of the tail.
Tie-in one small
wrap of dubbing (optional) just forward of
the Scudback and tie-in the copper wire and
brown hackle. The small wrap of
dubbing is optional but will help prevent
the copper wire from rolling off the abdomen
on its very first wrap around the abdomen.
approximately 4-5" of dubbing to your
thread. Apply glue to the abdomen and
while still wet wrap the dubbing forward.
Because it will take the glue a few minutes
to dry, all steps requiring wrapping
materials around the abdomen will be further
secured once the glue dries.
Wrap the hackle
forward and secure.
Trim the top of
the hackle off. Bring forward the
Scudback laying it overtop the freshly
trimmed hackle. Secure it with a
couple of thread wraps. The bottom of
the hackle will be trimmed, but only after
the fly is finished and can be removed from
Wrap the copper wire forward and secure.
Lay the Scudback
back over itself and wrap over it.
This will form the wingcase or thorax of the
fly. Next, tie-in a small bundle of
rabbit on either side followed by one wrap
of dubbing. The rabbit will become the
partridge feather may be substituted for the
rabbit. See Additional Comments below.
Repeat Step 10
two more times so there's a total of three
small bundles of rabbit on either side of
Once the legs
are tied-in pull the Scudback overtop
forming the wingcase of the fly. Make
a tapered head, whip-finish and trim the
Finish the fly
by trimming the hackle on the underside of
the fly. Apply glue to the head.
The fly is
finished and ready to be fished.
color choice of grey and olive in the
original version has proven successful.
These colors darken once they become wet.
More traditional choices of all black or all
brown are also possible.
single partridge feather may be used as a
substitute to using rabbit for the legs.
Tie the feather in on top of the fly
(finished side down leaving the stem or
calamus unsecured). Apply dubbing to
the thorax. Carefully bend the feather
over the dubbing displaying the finished or
colored side up. Pull forward the
Scudback overtop the partridge. The
partridge's featherettes/filaments will
become both the left and right legs.
Caught on an
original colored Hellgramaniac
(Approx. 7 lbs.)
Caught on an
original colored Hellgramaniac