Wonder Worm
  |  First Published: May 2007

With the cooler weather upon us, bream and winter whiting will be waiting to be targeted by anglers. Both of these bread and butter species can be an exciting and challenging target for flyfishers. Bream and whiting will readily accept a broad range of feather, fur and synthetic offerings that resemble one of their favourite food sources. The Wonder Worm is a simple and quick to tie pattern that works extremely well when fished over the shallow mud and sand banks where these species can be found on a rising tide.


The Wonder Worm works best when fished extremely slowly. Worms are usually eaten by many species as they poke their heads out of the mud, or when the tidal movement shifts the upper layer of a bank leaving them partly exposed.

The Wonder Worm is designed to sit head down, tail up while being twitched extremely slowly. It can also be allowed to wash across a bank, just like a real worm that is being washed along in the current.

Whiting, bream flathead and other species will like this approach which often results in a hook-up, if you strike at the right time. In very clear, still water I have seen bream cautiously approach the Wonder Worm. They will look at it when it is motionless but as soon as you give the line a tiny twitch, causing the worm move, they pounce aggressively.


The materials in the Wonder Worm are fairly basic and are definitely open to interpretation and substitution. There’s a range of chenilles on the market that could be used for this fly including variegated, rayon, suede, fluorescent and vernille. It’s best to find the colour that is the best match for the worms in your area. If fishing very dirty water then the brighter colours may be easier for scavenging fish to find.

The Mustad Pro-Select hook is a good choice for this fly due to the thin, yet strong, wire construction. It can also be carefully shaped to fit the profile of this fly by using a sturdy pair of pliers. The thin, extremely sharp point allows easy hook sets when hesitant fish such as whiting delicately pluck the fly off the bottom.

Eyes of differing weights can be used to suit the depth of water fished and the degree of current encountered. Many different eye patterns could be used. It is important to note that the eye is used as a weight to keep the fly close to the bottom. It is not used in the traditional way, which sees a prominent eye used to give a focal point for marauding predators and scavengers. Worms have no obvious eyes so fish do not expect this feature when attacking.

The chenille tail waving in the current is the catalyst for a strike. The weighted eye works better than a bit of lead on the hook shank as it gives a degree of stability. This allows the fly to stand up and wave in the current, just like a real worm does as it pokes its head out of a hole.

Several different types of foam could be used to add the desired floatation to assist the worm with its realistic stance. I use Evasote which is a type of foam that is readily available from good tying suppliers.


(1) Using a pair of sturdy pliers, bend the hook to resemble the one I am holding. The original hook is in the vice for your comparison.

(2) Put the hook in the vice as shown so that the bent section is horizontal. Attach the thread with a jamb knot or similar and wrap the entire bent area with thread to provide a base for your eye. Attach the eye with a series of figure of eights about half-way along the bent section until it is firm. Advance the thread approximately half-way down the shank. Attach a little head cement around the eye to secure the thread.

(3) Cut a small strip of Evasote foam and bind it loosely with thread to the back of the hook shank. The strip should be about the thickness of a match and as long as the section of shank shown. It should be substantial enough to keep the rear of the fly upright in the water but should not make the fly float.

(4) Wrap the thread loosely down the shank to the bottom of the foam, roughly at the start of the bend in the hook. Attach the chenille at this point, leaving about 1.5-2cm sticking past the rear of the hook. Wind the thread loosely back up the shank to just behind the eye of the fly. Palmer (wrap) the chenille along the hook shank and over the foam to just behind the eye of the fly.

(5) Wrap the chenille around the eye of the fly in a figure of eye fashion and tie off the tag end between the eye of the hook and the eye of the fly with a whip finish or similar. Cut away the remaining chenille. Use some head cement to seal off the whip-finished thread and also put some on the end of the 1.5-2cm chenille tail to prevent it from fraying easily during casting. I have taken the fly out of the vice and turned it over to demonstrate how the Wonder Worm will look and sit in the water.

The Wonder Worm is ready to work wonders on wary whiting and wily bream.


HOOK: Mustad Pro-Select 3261 NPBLN No.4 (Bent to shape)
THREAD: Flat-waxed black
FOAM: Evasote (any colour)
BODY: Variegated chenille olive/fiery brown
EYE: Real Eye medium black
FINISH: Head cement
Reads: 168

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