Sculpin Fly Tying Instructions

Sculpin Fly Tying Instructions
Streams and rivers around the country teem with small fish called Sculpin, which are common feeding material for trout and smallmouth bass. Fly fishers often use lures shaped like Sculpin that can imitate their movement. This fly requires weight so it sinks quickly to the bottom of the water; however the angler must perform short strips on the line to mimic the proper movement of the lure. This version of the Sculpin fly will ride upside-down in the water with the hook point facing up.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Mustad 79580 #8 streamer hook
  • Oliver and amber mixed rabbit dubbing
  • 2 mottled brown hen saddle feathers
  • Brown saddle hackle with filoplume attached
  • 6/0 olive thread
  • Head cement
  • Yarn
  • Lead wire, 0.025-inch
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Hairbrush
  • Lighter
Step 1
Cut a bristle off of the hairbrush at the base. Melt the base end of the bristle with the lighter until it forms a plastic ball the size of the ball at the top of the bristle. It should resemble a barbell shape.
Step 2
Wrap the thread around the shaft between the hook eye and the curve on the hook. Coil the lead wire around the shaft 10-to-12 times in the area where the thorax will be. Secure the wire in place by wrapping it several times with the thread.
Step 3
Place the barbell-shaped hairbrush bristle 1/8-inch behind the hook eye, perpendicular to the shaft, and tie it into place with the thread to create eyes on either side of the hook.
Step 4
Squeeze the lead wire with the pliers so they become flattened perpendicularly to the hook shaft.
Step 5
Tie the hen feathers at the top of the hook bend with the thread. Make sure the feathers are pointing backwards, away from the hook eye.
Step 6
Tie the brown saddle hackle by the tip at the same place you tied in the hen feathers.
Step 7
Wrap the yarn from the curve on the hook shaft up to just behind the hook eye. This forms the under-body, so the color of yarn isn't important.
Step 8
Cover the body in dubbing material by wrapping it around the yarn under-body from the hen feathers to about 1/8-inch behind the plastic eyes.
Step 9
Palmer the brown hackle around the dubbing by wrapping it in evenly spaced coils; the barbs on the hackle should stand up. Finish the palmer by wrapping the filoplume attached to the hackle several times just behind the eyes to form a collar.
Step 10
Wrap the dubbing around the head making sure to create a figure-eight pattern around the eyes. Whip finish at the head, cut the thread and finally apply head cement to seal the knots.
Step 11
Trim the hackle and filoplume from underside of the fly, hackle fibers only from the sides and filoplume from the top of the fly. Shape the filoplume on the sides of the fly to create pectoral fins.

Article Written By Jacob Hendriks

Jacob Hendriks' work has appeared in "The Western Front," "The Planet Magazine" and He graduated from Western Washington University with a major in international business management and a minor in Community Health. Hendriks' passion for sports nutrition and fitness, combined with experience as a personal trainer, has led him to pursue health-oriented journalism.

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