Woolly Bugger flies have been around the freshwater fly fishing world for a long time. They are known for their simple construction and foolproof effectiveness. But Woolly Buggers aren't just for lakes and rivers- they make great saltwater patterns too. If you thumb through fly catalogues and recipe books, you'll find many different flies that are in fact based on the original Woolly Bugger pattern. Most have catchy names attached to them (evidently "Woolly Bugger" sounds too wimpy for saltwater anglers), but they all share similar features- extended fibrous tails, leggy bodies, rounded heads/eyes, and bits of flash thrown in here and there. This ubiquitous design creates a buggy illusion crustacean-eating fish love.
The pattern shown here is a variation of the basic Woolly Bugger fly and is meant to mimic the general shape and spindled features of a small shrimp or crab. You can substitute a variety of colors and materials for the tail, body, and head depending on what size and shape of fly suits your needs. I have chosen rusty-orange (one of my favorite redfish colors) and used bead chain eyes so the hook point inverts to an upright weedless position in the water. This pattern is a good choice for tailing fish or shallow/spooky sight-casting situations where a subtle presentation is needed. It's simple to tie, easy to cast, and redfish love it.
Hook: Mustad 34007, Tiemco 800S, or equivalent #8 through #2
Thread: Clear nylon mono
Tail: Marabou or craft fur
Body: Chenille, Estaz, or braided flash
Legs: Saddle hackle
Eyes: Bead chain or lead dumbbell
Head Cement: Sally Hansen's Hard-as-Nails