After the trip to the Everglades canals, where the Muddler Minnow seemed to rule the day, I was asked if I could tie one.  I donít usually tie the Muddler for a couple of reasons.  First it requires materials that I donít have on hand.  Second, it doesnít conform to Don Colemanís rule that all fishing flies should be able to be tied in less than five minuets.  Third, to make it work as it was intended, you have to add weight to make the deer hair head sink.  Somehow making something float and then adding weight to make it sink didnít seem right.

The original Muddler was invented by Don Gaspen of Minnesota, to fish for trout in northern Ontario.  It was tied to represent a bullhead. 

Iíll give the tie for a Muddler and follow it with the tie I usually use. 

Muddler minnow

From the Flytierís manual

By Mike Dawes © 1985 Johnson and Co. Lt.

Hook: 4~6x long streamer hook.
Weight: wrapped lead.
Thread: brown, size 6
Tail: oak turkey wing.
Body: gold tinsel
Under Wing: gray squirrel hair.
Wing: oak turkey wing.
Head: clipped deer hair.
Add weight in the middle of the hook shank.  Cover about Ĺ to 2/3 of the shank.  Leave plenty of room before the weight, to spin the hair.
(I use thick copper wire rather than lead)



Wrap a base of thread.  Take two turkey wing feathers and cut a tail section from each.  The tail should be about Ĺ the length of the shank.  Tie the tail pieced in, dull side facing each other, shinny side out.
Tie in a strand of oval tinsel in front of the tail and a piece of flat tinsel at the head of the body.  Wrap the flat tinsel to the tail and back to the thread.


Wrap gold tensile to about 1/8in behind the eye.

Tie in the gray squirrel under wing and the molted turkey wings.

Spin deer hair until you have filled the space between the front of the body and the hook eye.  Tie off and cut the thread.



Take the fly out of the vice and cut a small head, leaving some of the hair pointing to the rear.

The substitute Muddler  (Smuddler)

Iíd been looking for minnow pattern to fish deep in Sunrise Lake, in the Ocalla National Forest, but, as I said, I didnít like adding weight to make the deer hair head sink.  I decided to try substituting a stiff synthetic fiber from a craft cord.  The problem was how to attach the head and the answer was to spin the fibers in a dubbing loop.
As I started to gather the materials, I realized that I didnít have most of them, so I started substituting.  Before I knew it, Iíd completely changed the pattern.  Itís one of the few patterns that I know that was changed without the idea of creating a new and better fly.

Hook:  3~6x long wet hook
Thread: body Ė red, head Ė black.
Tail: white paintbrush fibers.
Body: silver tinsel
Under wing:  brown paintbrush fibers.
Wing: grizzle hackle
Head: Craft cord fibers.


          Step 1



Apply weight to taste.  Wrap with red thread.  Leave about 1/32 red thread exposed.  Tie in silver tinsel and tail.  Tail should be about the same length as the hook shank and extend about half itís length beyond the tie in.

Step 2




Wrap tinsel to front of weight and tie in.  (a little super glue helps keep it in place) The under wing should reach almost to the end of the tail.  Make sure you have a red tag.

Step 3




Cut two small grizzle hackle tips to the length of the under wing.

Step 4




Tie them in, shiny side out and dull side facing each other.  Tie off and cut the red thread. 

What you now have is a very simple streamer.


Step 5



Tie in black thread.  Create a 6in dubbing loop.

Step 6



Cut craft cord into 3in sections and comb out from the tip to the center.  Reverse and comb out from the tip to the center.  (This prevents tangles.)  place a piece of two sided tape on a surface and stick the fibers to the tape,  cut the fibers at about 1 Ĺ inch and stick the section you cut off next to the fibers youíve already placed on the tape.

Step 7



Use a large spring clip (found in grocery stores these days) to grasp the fibers.  Lift them off the two sided tape and place them into the dubbing loop.  Close the loop and spin the tool creating fuzzy chenille with very long strands.

Step 8



Wrap the loop forward to the eye.  Keep the material from bunching up by stroking it to the outside. Tie off and cut the thread.

Comb the head to the rear and trim off any excess material.

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