|  First Published: September 2011

As the water starts to warm throughout spring, anglers will find that Australian bass in the rivers and impoundments will be hungry and aggressive. This awesome Aussie native will readily eat a wide array of food sources from sub-aquatic terrestrials to hapless insects, small reptiles, baby birds and amphibians.

This month’s pattern is derived from the Bass Bully, which was developed for American large-mouth and small-mouth bass. It has plenty of great attributes and our Australian bass just seem to adore it too.


The Bumble Bee Bass Bully is very similar to the standard Bass Bully; the only difference is it is tied in the highly contrasting colours of black and yellow. This makes it really stand out in the aquatic environment. Black and yellow is a popular colour combination on many lures targeted towards bass, golden perch, Murray cod and others.

The Bass Bully has many other features that make it a stand out pattern. The zonker tail and rubber legs possess plenty of movement in the water and pulse with the slightest twitch of the line. The estaz chenille body ribbing adds some flash and the bulky head pushes plenty of water to easily enable predators to sense its presence in their general area.

I have used marawool in this pattern for the head but suitable substitutes would include neer hair and Tiewell Hi-vis. The lumo bead serves two purposes; In deep or dirty water with minimal light penetration it makes the pattern more visible and obvious and it also serves to push the rubber legging forward, making it stand out and stay more erect which results in more action. The high visibility weighted eye makes the pattern quickly sink into the strike zone and helps to impart action when the fly is worked with short sharp strips.

Fine wire stinger hooks are ideal for freshwater patterns, as they possess short, sharp points and small barbs, making them ideal for penetrating the tough mouths of freshwater inhabitants.


Although the Bass Bully is an awesome pattern for bass it will also be effective for many other freshwater species. Its gudgeon like profile, high visibility and degree of movement in the water will make it attractive to numerous species, even impoundment barramundi, although I would suggest a stronger hook when tying this pattern for barra.

Retrieve techniques can vary depending on water depth, current and target species. For working in shallow water or along the front of weed beds, try a series of short, slow strips with the occasional pause. In deeper water or areas of high current flow, try two or three short, sharp strips and then a sizeable pause will allow the pattern to sink back to the bottom. In heavily structured areas, try single long strips with a sizeable pause to allow the fly to sink again. Obviously there are numerous other combinations to try and it generally pays to mix it up a bit until you find a retrieve that the fish like on the day.


(1). Place the hook securely in the vice and attach the thread with a jamb knot near the rear of the hook. Cut a length of black zonker that is roughly 1.5 times as long as the hook. Tie down the butt with the skin facing upwards. The rear of the tie down area should be roughly opposite the point of the hook.

(2). Take a similar length of yellow zonker and tie it in on top of the first so that the skins are facing each other. Now tie in the end of your estaz chenille before advancing the thread forward 5mm-6mm.

(3). Palmer the estaz chenille forward with a series of wraps. Use your fingers to preen the chenille fibres backwards before doing each progressive wrap. Whip finish, cut away the remaining thread and then add a little vinyl cement to the thread. The soft rubber nature of your lumo bead allows you to easily push it over the hook eye and onto the shank of the hook. Push this up firm against the chenille.

(4). Attach your thread again just in front of the lumo bead. Cut three pieces of black rubber legs and three pieces of yellow rubber legs that are each approximately twice as long as the hook shank. Place these lengthways along the hook shank and secure them at their centre on top of the hook shank and just in front of the lumo bead.

(5). Repeat this with another similar portion of rubber legs, however, this time tie them on the bottom of the hook shank opposite the first. Push both lots back firmly so that they butt up tight against the lumo bead. Now place a few wraps of thread just in front of them to secure them in this position. Advance the thread forward to secure your eye with a figure-of-eight; approximately half way between the hook eye and rubber legs. Whip finish and add some vinyl cement but do not cut away the remainder of the thread.

(6). Cut a portion of marawool that is approximately 2cm long. Tie the centre of this down just behind the eye of the fly and underneath the hook shank. Next do the same with three similar portions. Firstly on top of the shank and behind the eye, then on the bottom of the shank and in front of the eye and on top of the shank and in front of the eye. Each portion should be roughly as thick as a pencil when not compressed. When tied in tightly, this material will flare out as shown. Whip finish and cut away the remaining thread. Add a little vinyl cement to the thread.

(7). Use your scissors to trim and shape the head into an elongated dome shape as shown. Stagger the lengths of the rubber legs to increase movement and effect. Trim the length of both zonker strips so they are even and roughly as long as the entire hook shank. Your Bumble Bee Bass Bully is now ready to dominate some freshwater fish.



Hook: Mustad C52S BLN 2/0
Thread: Flat-waxed nylon- black
Tail: Zonker Strips- black and yellow
Body: Estaz chenille- black
Bead: Soft lumo- small
Legs: Rubber legs- black and yellow
Eye: Painted- Yellow with black pupil
Head: Mara wool- black
Finish: Vinyl cement

Reads: 985

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