Classic Pattern: Birth of the Woolly Bugger

The late Russell Blessing with his most famous creation, the Woolly Bugger.
Photo courtesy of Fly Rod & Reel

If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of the world’s most popular fly, Fly Rod & Reel has a great interview with Fred Blessing, son of the late Russell Blessing, the man who first tied a Woolly Bugger way back in 1967.

When he created the fly in 1967, he wasn’t an avid fly tier like he was in his later years. He actually created it for smallmouth bass. He wanted to create something similar to the Dobsonfly lava. He later added a marabou tail, which created the Woolly Bugger.

A little-known fact is that the fly was named by Blessing’s 7-year-old daughter, Julie.

Click here for the full story.

The modern version of Blessing’s pattern.
Photo via

5 thoughts on “Classic Pattern: Birth of the Woolly Bugger”

  1. I often get in arguments about the best fly of all time, and it always comes own to two: The Bugger, and The Clouser.

    There is no other patterns that come into the argument. As a fly tying guy who loves coming up with new patterns, I know I will never create anything that stacks up to those two.

  2. Not sure about flys in the 1800’s. But Lew Oatman tied a fly called the Mad Tom. I wonder if it had any influence. Lew passed in 1950. Guess we’ll never know.

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