Created By Tony Spezio
The original Chili Pepper was tied by Bob Root as a joke. I would not fish “Woolly Bubbers” as he called them. Bob gave me that fly on the river one day many years ago. I told him I would not put that gaudy fly in my box let alone fish it. I stuck it in my box and there it stayed about six months!
Bob finally talked me into using it one day when things were slow. Tied it on and made a cast. A nice Brown, made a second cast and another Trout, again and another! Thirteen Trout in a row and broke off on the fourteenth! We both were astounded.
I know it doesn’t sound real, but I gave Woolly Bubbers a second thought. That was the only one Bob Had tied. Needless to say, he went home and tied up a bunch more. We caught a load of fish of all types on the “Gaudy Bugger” as we called it. Then it was called “The Hot Number”, then finally, “That Red Hot Chili Pepper”. The original was tied with a combination of Ginger and Pearl Tinsel Chenille that Bob had made up by Danville. It did not have a bead head. The head was a large oversize Fire Orange thread head. The Burnt Orange Marabou was some marabou I found in a bargain bucket in a shop in OKC. Bob and his wife were commercial tiers. We tied the Buggers for several shops. Bob quit tying and the Chenille was not available anymore. I then went to my version of the Chili Pepper with the Copper Tinsel Chenille, Bead head and Fire Orange Collar. I was able to get the Copper Tinsel Chenille, and Wapsi dyed the marabou to the right shade. Bob used Ginger Hackle, I used Brown, Furnace and now the hackle that Denny Conrad at “Conranch Hackles” has come up for the Chili Pepper. It has all the colors in the hackle. I now will be tying them with the Nymph-Head™ tungsten Beads.
The Pepper had caught all types of fish here in the USA and a number of countries in Europe. I fish it down and across with a twitch, fast stripping, Dead drift and just about any way you want to fish it. A deadly way is to cast it down and across, twitch it while it is drifting, let it make the swing then let it sit there for a few seconds. Work it back upstream with a forward pull, then let it fall back like an injured bug. The strikes will be solid with a lot of break offs if the line is not held loose in your retrieve hand.
Over the years, I have caught and released over 3000 fish on the Chili Pepper, it is my “Go To” fly.
Hook: Size #14 to #2 Streamer hook 3 or 4X long
Head: Gold or Copper Nymph-™Head tungsten bead to fit hook size
Weight: Lead Wire
Thread: Fire Orange
Tail: Burnt Orange Marabou
Tail Flash : Copper Flashabou
Hackle: Conranch Chili Pepper Saddle Hackle or Brown, Ginger, Furnace
Body: Copper Tinsel Chenille
Collar: Fire Orange thread
Tying The Chili Pepper
Step 1: Put the bead on the hook and then hook in the vise, hook point through the small hole on the bead.
Step 2: Wrap just enough wire on the shank to hit in the bead recess and to about 2/3 thirds of the hook shank.
Step 3: Note the tag end of the wire. This is left to wrap the thread on it to keep the wire from rolling.
Step 4: Wire wrapped with thread, wrap thread back to the barb then back to the wire. This is the marabou tie in point.
Step 5: Take a Marabou plume and strip off a bit of Marabou off the stem.
Step 6: Tie in the Marabou just behind the wire to start a smooth transition.
Step 7: I pinch off the tail then take what I pinch off and tie it in on top of the first marabou. I pinch the tails shorter than most to keep from getting short strikes. If you prefer longer tails feel free to do it that way.
Step 8: Cut the corner off the flash package, this makes it easy to pull individual strands. In this case I pull out two strands with the point of my scissors.
Step 9: Fold the two strands of flash on the thread, this will give you four strands of flash.
Step 10: Sliding the flash up the thread allows you to position the flash where you want it. In this case, on the far side of the tail.
Step 11: The far side tied in, repeat for the near side.
Step 12: The flash tied in, bring the thread back fwd to the end of the wire.
Step 13: Conranch Chili Pepper Saddle has all the colors in the Chili Pepper. Other hackles like Brown Ginger and Furnace will work well.
Step 14: Tie in the hackle. I tie it in by the tip with the dull side facing me.. This allows the hackle to make a twist on the first wrap and the dull side will be to the rear.
Step 15: Tie in the chenille in the length behind the wire.
Step 16: Wrap the chenille fwd to form the body
Step 17: Lift the hackle straight up to start the wrap this will reverse the hackle so that the dull side is against the body. The hackle is wrapped flat on the body. Also note that the barbs are stripped off the stem where it will get the last wrap. The last wrap is made with a bare stem for a clean finish
Step 18: Finish off the wraps with a Fire Orange Collar.
Being that the beads have eyes on them I like to accentuate them with Fabric paint. ,
Step 19: A dot of red from the tube of Tulip Fabric Paint.
Step 20: Now a spot of black for the pupil. Allow to dry and then finish off the eyes with a spot of Sally Hansen’s Hard-As-Nails for added durability during fishing.