The Woolly Bully is the brainchild of our friend Nathan Sundine who sought to meld two highly effective bream patterns, the Bluegill Bully and Woolly Bugger, into a no nonsense, easy to tie, completely irresistible panfish bug. I tie mine a little differently than Nathan’s version, but the premise is the same, and the outcome is a fly that’s always moving and wiggling whether paused or retrieved. The bright tail dances and flutters when slowly stripped back and with the weighted rear end, sinks butt first, allowing the rubber legs to kick enticingly as it descends into the bluegill kingdom at the footsteps of the lily pad jungle. That is some ethereal stuff. Nathan has a reputation for dreaming up some pretty off-the-wall patterns, most of which fish really well. One of our favorites remains his “Bass Boat”, an enormous concoction of feathers, flash and open cell foam salvaged from a dumpster and fastened to a plastic tube. While that one probably reaps far less success than the now time-tested Woolly Bully, we’re still convinced it will one day produce an enigmatic 20 lb. largemouth on K-Marsh or some other sickeningly urban Whatcom County bass lake. You can tie the Woolly Bully in any color that tickles your fancy, but the black version with the chartreuse tail seems to have the most bluegill appeal. Fish it on a floating line and cast along the edge of the shoreline structure or lily pads. Retrieve it with short, slow strips with a pronounced pause. Keep a watchful eye on the tip of your line and lightly set the hook when you see it twitching off into the vegetation as bluegill frequently pick it up on the sink.
The Woolly Bully Pattern Recipe
Hook: #10 Tiemco 2457
Thread: 70 Denier Black Ultra Thread
Weight: 10-15 wraps of .015 Non-Lead Wire
Tail: Fl. Chartreuse Marabou
Rib: Small Gold Wire
Body: Black UV Ice Dub
Hackle: Palmered Black Saddle
Wing: 4 White Rubber Legs
The Confluence Beer Pairing: Check out Ninkasi Brewing’s Pacific Rain when you tie and fish the Woolly Bully. It’s a refreshing and flavorful year round Northwest pale ale that goes down easy on a hot summer day. Pacific Rain is also welcome departure when consumed in a cold bottle versus the omnipresent element that saturates your clothing, blurs your windshield or turns our rivers brown and unfishable.