The Fish-Skull™ Skulpin Bugger, by Martin Bawden, is tied the same as a conventional Woolly Bugger except a Sculpin Helmet replaces the traditional cone or bead-head. In addition, rubber legs have been added to imitate the prominent pectoral fins found on sculpins and to add more action to the fly.
Quick and easy to tie, this awesome fly takes the proven “bugger” style of fly to a whole new level.
Hook Size #6, standard Woolly Bugger streamer, down-eye.
Fish-Skull® Sculpin Helmet, size Small, color (brown or olive as per the fly variation being tied).
Eyes 3.0mm, gold 3D.
Thread Strong 3/0, color (brown, black or olive as per the fly variation being tied).
Tail Marabou (color as per the fly variation being tied).
Underbody Chenille (variegated if possible).
Hackle Woolly Bugger hackle (use grizzly or a variant if possible to help promote the “mottled” effect).
Pectoral fins Rubber or silicone legs, color (brown, black or olive as per the fly variation being tied).
There are 3 basic color variations designed to suit different geographic areas and fishing conditions.
#1 “MOTTLED OLIVE”
Sculpin Helmet (olive), marabou, hackle & chenille (olive), rubber legs (olive), thread (olive).
#2 “MOTTLED BROWN”
Sculpin Helmet (brown), marabou, hackle & chenille (brown), rubber legs (brown), thread (brown).
Sculpin Helmet (brown), marabou, hackle & chenille (black), rubber Legs (black), thread (black).
The Skulpin Bugger™ is tied like a standard Woolly Bugger. The only differences are:
- The fly is tied in the “hook up” position.
- A Sculpin Helmet™ is used instead of a bead or cone.
- Rubber legs are added to help imitate the prominent pectoral fins found on a Sculpin.
Summary of Steps:
- Tie on the tail and form the underbody.
- Tie in the chenille, flash and hackle.
- Tie in the rubber legs.
- Attach the Fish-Skull and stick on the eyes.
Step 1: Tie on the tail and form the underbody.
Put the hook in your vise and lay a thick thread base over the hook shank.
Note: It is very important that you leave a clear “gap” between your materials and the eye of the hook. The gap leaves space for the Sculpin Helmet to be fitted from the front of the hook over the materials and secured in place. Therefore, start your fly tying thread approximately 2 to 3 eyes width distance behind the hook eye. Work backwards and wrap a thick thread base that completely covers the hook shank. Lay this thread base all the way to the back of the hook to the point where the hook starts to curve.
Tie in the marabou tail like a standard Woolly Bugger. Tie down the marabou feathers all the way to the front tie-in point to build up bulk and create a nice “fat” Sculpin body.
NOTE: The length of the tail should be the same length as the hook shank, not longer.
Step 2: Tie in the chenille, flash and hackle
Tie in the chenille, hackle and two or three strands of krystal flash like a standard Woolly Bugger.
Wrap the chenille forward like a normal Woolly Bugger to form a “chubby” under-body and tie off.
Wrap the hackle forward like a normal Woolly Bugger and tie-off.
Note: the materials are tied off about 2 to 3 eye widths behind the eye of the hook to allow space for the Sculpin Helmet™.
Rotate the fly into the “hook up” position.
Step 3: Tie in the rubber legs
Tie in 3 or 4 rubber or silicone legs on either side of the fly to imitate the prominent pectoral fins found on a Sculpin and to provide extra movement from the fly.
This top view shows you 3 rubber or silicone legs tied in evenly on either side of the fly. The legs should not be longer than the point of the hook if they are pushed backwards.
Note there is still a wide gap leaving room to fit the Sculpin Helmet.
Tie a small “thread head”, tie off and cut your thread.
Step 4: Attach the Sculpin Helmet™ and stick on the eyes.
The final step is to attach the Sculpin Helmet™ and secure the eyes.
First, fit the Sculpin Helmet to make sure it is fitting correctly.
If your spacing is correct, then the helmet will fit snuggly against the materials and there will be a small gap left between the Sculpin Helmet and the eye of the hook.
Apply a coating of Zap-A-Gap or your favorite super glue to the top, bottom and sides of the thread-head.
Fit the Sculpin Helmet™ and position correctly.
Re-attach your tying thread in front of the Sculpin Helmet™ and tie a strong “thread dam” to secure the head firmly in place.
Tie-off your thread and add head cement to seal the thread wraps.
Apply a small amount of super glue on the middle of each eye socket and stick on the 3D Fish Eyes.
The eyes are now in place and the fly is ready for action!
Now go and catch a big fish!