The Fuzzle Sowbug: White River Fly Tying Series


WHEN I first stumbled across Murray “Muz” Wilson’s Fuzzle flies, there were a few things that sprang to mind.

Shad patterns based off the Dehydrated Minnow, fuzzled caddis patterns and of course a tailwater staple the Sowbug.

Fuzzling is the technique, discovered by Aussie Peter Morse but developed and popularized by Muz, of dubbing to body materials instead of the tying thread. Chenille, wire or in the case of the Sowbug clear Wapsi Stretch Cord.

Fuzzling creates a fly with a solid core and a translucent, body around it, which lends itself to many of our sowbugs. I finger blend Sowscud with UV Ice Dub, and tie some without the Ice dub, some days it seems the IceDub really helps. Play with how much dubbing you need, too much and you won’t get enough cord on the fly to develop a shellback.

You can use any straight shank nymph hook you like but I’m digging these relatively new R-18B hooks from Gamakatsu, which features a huge gape and that unique bend.

Wrap the flattened lead with a darker thread than your dubbing color, to ensure you get a dark “spine”. I also trim the brushed out subbing to shape, wide at the head and slightly tapered to the rear, and flat on the belly and back. In particular on the back I trim down to the stretch cord.

Muz visited us in Arkansas after this was filmed and he showed me a tweak which makes finishing the fly easier. Stop winding the stretch cord one turn before your normal tie down point and lock it off. Then dub a thicker collar for one turn.

Check out our series of Murray Wilson’s flies on YouTube.

Hook:Gamakatsu R18-B #14 or #16
Lead underbody .025
Thread Wapsi UTC 70 Dark Brown
Wapsi Stretch Round Rib
Dubbing Sowscud Tan blended with Hareline Ice Dub UV Tan

Video produced by Brian Wise: Fly Fishing the Ozarks