If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of the world’s most popular fly, the now-out-of-print Fly Rod & Reel published a great interview with Fred Blessing, son of the late Russell Blessing, the man who first tied a Woolly Bugger way back in the Summer of Love.
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.
In the video above, Brian Flechsig of Mad River Outfitters in Columbus, Ohio, talks about why the Woolly Bugger is so popular, goes over a few of the myriad variations on the pattern, and tells a story about his own experience fishing Buggers in Yellowstone. It’s amazing how one fly, descended from a long line of palmered-hackle patterns, could spawn so many imitations.