Steve Dally's White River Fly Fishing Guide Service

The Fuzzel Sowbug

For a few years I’d been pondering the way to imitate a lot of the sowbugs I’d been finding in the White River system. These weren’t solid dark or light colors, instead they had a distinctly dark “spine” and pale gray edges. There are a lot of good Sowbug patterns around, Davy Wotton’s Sowbug Series, John Wilson’s Trout Crack, Mike McLellan’s Woven V-Rib Sowbug, all are great.

But like most fly tiers I tinker, but really struggled to get what I was after. Then I spotted an article in Flylife magazine about Murray “Muz” Wilson’s Fuzzling Technique, and subsequently found a video where Muz ties a Fuzzel Bugger with another mate Peter Morse. Click Here to see the inspiration.

The Fuzzel Sow seemed a natural. It took my a bunch of playing with the technique to get it right, trimming the teased dubbing to show the shell back and leave a halo of fibres each side. Choosing right dubbing is fairly tricky. Sowscud is decent, but I tied a bunch with Whitlock’s SLF, then as you will see on the video, mixing prism dub and Whitlock’s SLF.

This technique is applicable in a whole range of flies, you probably are getting ideas now.

Hook: Nymph Hook 14 to 18.

Thread: UTC Dark Grey 140

Underbody: Flattened .010 lead wire.

Body: Micro Stretch Tubing.

Dubbing: Whitlock’s SLF Blend Sowbug Grey and Prism Dub Tan.

5 responses

  1. Bill Falconer

    Unbelievable fly. I have been almost unable to sleep since first watching this video four days ago. Since then, I have tied sowbugs, scuds, soft hackles, buggers, and midge pupa using the ‘fuzzling’ technique. These flies have a buggy translucence like nothing I have ever seen.

    A caddis pupa with clear tubing, an abdomen fuzzled with Caddis Green Ice Dub, and a thorax dubbed with dark gray or hare’s ear Swisher’s Gen-X dubbing practically crawls out of the vise. A Red Ass with two turns of bare flourescent red d-rib and then three turns fuzzled with Peacock Ice Dub looks like a killer.

    The key points so far are that they look BETTER wet and are about a 3-4 minute tie so they are practical. Hope the fish like them as much as I do. THANKS FOR SHARING.

    April 2, 2009 at 10:21 am

  2. Thanks Bill glad you like it so much. And as you have discovered it is a technique which can be applied to all manner of flies.
    Caddis definately come to mind, but I hadn’t thought of a Red Ass.
    You should send me some pics.

    And its not my genius, Blame Muz Wilson.

    April 5, 2009 at 10:55 am

  3. Bill

    Hello Steve – I’d be happy to send pics if I could but I’m not much with the camera or the technology. If you will email me your mailing address at I’ll mail you some flies. Thanks!

    April 7, 2009 at 9:27 am

  4. Leo

    Great tie, you made it look really simple and it is. big secret is to get that lead covered with the right color it seems and oua la you have a nice translucent body with a really buggy look!

    September 30, 2010 at 11:20 am

  5. yep it works too 😉

    I have been playing with some with hardshell backs too over the dubbing, they are still in the prototype phase

    November 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

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