|  First Published: May 2009

For any angler fishing in an estuarine environment, bloodworms are prime bait for most inhabitants, especially whiting, bream and flathead. They are a delicacy for these species and naturally are eaten with gusto upon sight.

With bloodworms being favoured by estuarine species, it is no wonder that most keen fly fishers who wave their wand over these waters have a few bloodworm pattern flies in their arsenal. There are several different worm patterns to be tied and this month we will look at one of the easier ones.

Whiting are one species that particually love to dine on worms and most keen anglers consider bloodworms to be the top bait. Even out on the sand flats in Moreton Bay, bloodworms, as well as sand worms, will definitely outshine other offerings the majority of the time.

Many freshwater species also love various species of worms, such as African Night Crawlers, which are colloquially referred to as garden worms by most. Silver perch, bass, golden perch, saratoga and cod will all fall for a hook impaled through a few of these wriggling morsels.


The materials used in this bloodworm fly can be altered readily in both type and colour to better match the worm you are copying.

One thing that must be considered is the strength of the fly. The main material used for the body is suede chenille, which comes in an array of wormy colours and has a breaking strain of around 4kg. This strength is satisfactory for most estuarine species and will even withstand the serrated bite of flathead most of the time. Try to break it by hand and you will soon see that this is a surprisingly strong material. Most other chenille that I have tried will break much easier than suede and are therefore unsuitable for this application.

I have used two different hooks for this fly. The main hook is a stainless steel O’Shaunnessy pattern, and the tail hook is a bronze hook, which is often used for trout flies and other freshwater uses. You could use a stainless steel hook on the rear also, however, this would require more Evasote for tail buoyancy, which would make the rear of the fly more bulky. The bronzed hook is of a thin wire construction that penetrates the mouth of a whiting, bream, flathead, pike or other species with a minimum of effort. Even if you lost the rear portion of this fly to a large fish, the front portion still makes a great fly that is somewhat similar to a Crazy Charlie.

For the head and the tail of the fly I use Leech Yarn, which is easy to tie with and possesses many errant fibres, similar to the small hairs on many estuarine worms. Other products that could be used in its place are dubbings (super possum, buggy dub, hares ear, antron etc) or possibly even other chenilles.

The eye is used solely for weight and stability to get the head of the worm to the bottom while the tail wafts enticingly above, due to the buoyancy of the Evasote.


The way your work your worm will have a big impact on how enticing it looks in the water. Worms mainly do one of two things. They stay close to the bottom, sometimes partially buried and wriggle as they feed but do not move much from one spot. Or at other times the current will carry them along until they can again get purchase on the bottom where they commonly feed in the silt and sediments.

Retrieves to match this promote better strike rates. Casting the worm fly out and then allowing it to just sit on the one spot as you twitch the line will get the fly moving slightly. Short strips with sizeable pauses in between will allow you to cover a reasonable area efficiently. Longer strips will cover more area and will look like a worm that has lost its purchase on the bottom and is being swept by the current making it very vulnerable to predators.

Any retrieve you use should be very slow with pauses long enough to allow the worm to again rest on the bottom. As worms are not fast creatures and have no visibility or way of knowing there are predators in the area, they are easy prey and are usually engulfed without caution.


(1) Place the Mustad 34007 hook in the vice securely and attach the thread just behind the hook eye with a jamb knot. Lay a bed of thread for around 5mm and then attach the weighted eye securely a few millimetres behind the eye of the hook on the back of the shank.

Take the suede chenille and tie in just behind the weighted eye. Tie the chenille down all the way along the hook shank and to almost half way around the bend of the hook. Wrap the thread back to the weighted eye.

(2) Whip finish just behind the weighted eye and then apply some vinyl cement to the thread along the hook shank to secure the eye. Next, tie in the end of the Leech Yarn just behind the weighted eye.

(3) Palmer (wrap) the chenille along the hook shank to cover the area where the chenille is tied down and then back again. On your return journey make the wraps closer so that it builds up more, creating a tapered body.

Next, go around the eye in a figure-of-eight manner and then use your thread to tie off the end of the Leech Yarn in the small gap between the weighted eye and the eye of the hook. Whip finish at this point and cut away the remaining Leech Yarn and thread.

(4) Take the 34007 hook out of the vice and then securely place the bronze hook in the vice. Cut the suede chenille to around 5-6cm long, measured from the eye of the fly. Starting from just behind the eye of the bronze hook, tie the suede chenille down along the shank of the hook as shown.

(5) Cut a small V-shaped section of Evasote 2mm foam and tie down the pointed end onto the hook shank roughly opposite the point of the hook. At this same tie in point attach the end of the Leech Yarn. Add a little vinyl cement to all the thread securing the chenille and Evasote.

(6) Wind the thread back along the hook shank to just behind the eye of the bronze hook. Palmer the chenille along the shank to just behind the eye of the bronze hook also and tie off at this point with a whip finish. Cut away the remaining thread and Leech Yarn and add a little vinyl cement to the tie off thread.

Put the fly in water and trim the Evasote foam (if necessary) until you get just the right buoyancy when the tail floats upwards and the head of the fly sits on the bottom.

Your Bloodworm fly is now ready to wiggle away at any hungry fish.



HOOK 1:Mustad 34007, size 6
HOOK 2:Mustad Curved Nymph, size 12
THREAD:Flat-waxed nylon, olive
EYE:Dumbell nickel, medium
BODY:Suede Chenille, dark olive
HEAD:Leech Yarn, dark olive
TAIL:Leech Yarn, dark olive
BOUYANCY:Evasote 2mm, olive
FINISH:Vinyl cement

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