|  First Published: December 2010

The summer months create ideal conditions for anglers fishing in impoundments. Warm water increases the metabolism of many species making them feed more regularly and more vigorously.

Late afternoons and early mornings often create spikes in the barometer, especially when thunderstorms are looming. Bass and saratoga are favourite targets for freshwater anglers and these respond well to fly fishing technique, especially surface presentations.

The Booby Fly is a little different to many surface flies, yet works exceptionally well none the less. It will catch most species in the freshwater environment and has even proved its worth in the salt for species such as bream, tarpon and trevally.


Unlike the usually popping or blooping associated with surface patterns such as bass bugs, poppers, dahlbergs and warriors, the action of the Booby Fly is somewhat different. It possesses more of a shuffling action. It could best be described as a wake fly as its movement creates a wake as it shuffles across the surface.

This less aggressive action will still draw active fish from a reasonable distance away, the strikes often creating knee trembling excitement amongst anglers. After initially landing, it is often best to allow the concentric rings to dissipate before beginning the retrieve. It can be worked with very short, sharps strips, with a sizeable pause between to again allow the surface disturbance to dissipate.

A different approach can be obtained by simply using a slow and constant retrieve that sees the fly shuffling across the surface. How high your Booby Fly floats in the water will depend on how wide the eyes are in relation to the rest of the fly. This will also affect the action of the fly so it pays to try different variations to get the action you desire.


The prominent material in the Booby Fly is cylindrical foam, which is used for the eyes. Not surprisingly, these are called Booby Eyes and have been especially produced with this pattern in mind, yet they can also be used for hopper bodies and other uses. They come in three sizes (small 4mm, medium 6mm, large 8mm) and six colours (black, red, chartreuse, pink, olive, white), which allows patterns to be made in many different colours and sizes.

The hook I have used is usually favoured for all freshwater patterns, the stinger hook. These are of a thin, yet strong, wire construction with a short point and small barb. They penetrate easily and hold well making them ideal, especially for species with large mouths such as bass, Murray cod and saratoga.

Various tail materials can also be substituted for the marabou. There is a wide array of differing chenilles and other materials that can be used for the body to substitute for the estaz.

Flat adhesive eyes can easily be stuck on the end of the Booby foam cylinder however I prefer the dolls eyes as they increase floatation and also add a little audible attraction due to the rattling of the eye balls. Dolls Eyes are also sometimes referred to as Joggle Eyes.


(1) (viewed from above) Place the hook in the vice and then attach the thread with a jamb knot just behind the eye of the hook. Lay down a bed of thread for a good 5mm or so along the shank. Place the Booby cylinder across the shank and secure with a series of figure-of-eight wraps as shown. Add a little vinyl cement to the thread. Advance the thread along the shank to the position where the bend starts.

(2) (side view) Cut around six to eight strands of Krystal Flash that are roughly as long as the hook shank and tie in at this point. Whip finish and add a little vinyl cement.

(3) Locate the finest section of the blood feather from some marabou. This is usually on the side of the quill at the base of the feather. Cut a small portion and tie in on top of the Krystal Flash. Distribute the marabou around the shank evenly to create a full tail.

(4) Whip finish and add a little vinyl cement to the thread tying in the marabou. Position the butt of the chenille and tie in at this same point. Again, whip finish to ensure durability of the pattern. Advance the thread forward to just behind the eye of the fly.

(5) Palmer (wrap) the chenille forward along the hook shank up to the Booby eye. Keep the wraps evenly spaced to create a consistent body profile. Wrap the chenille around the eye with a figure-of-eight wrap. Tie off the end of the chenille just between the eye of the fly and the eye of the hook. Whip finish and cut away the remaining thread.

(6) Cut the ends off the Booby eyes so they now only protrude for about 10mm past each side of the hook shank. Lengths can vary from the 10mm but it is important that they are both even in length. Mix a small portion of 5 minute epoxy and apply a dab to each end of the booby eye. Position the Dolls Eyes on each end and hold into position until the epoxy cures.

Your Booby Fly is now ready to produce some awesome surface strikes from many different species.


HOOK: Mustad C52s BLN 1/0
THREAD: Flat-wax nylon – chartreuse
HEAD: Booby Eye Foam Large 8mm – chartreuse
FLASH: Krystal flash – golden olive
TAIL: Marabou – chartreuse
EYE: Dolls Eye – medium white
FINISH:Vinyl cement
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