San Juan Worm

Pattern Description:

I know, I know…A WORM? Of all the cool flies on this site, the San Juan Worm is the latest update? WTF? Well, there have been a lot of folks coming in lately asking me how to tie this simple critter, as it seems it is passed over in many tying classes and books. You know it is not like me to leave something out, so here is the worm, in all it’s glory! Some folks shun the worm, remembering their bait fishing days and frowning on such a lowly imitation. All I can say is, “EMBRACE THE WORM!!” Worms imitate an actual aquatic annelid that lives in the stream bottom and are every bit the natural food of the trout that a beautiful PMD is, so get off the high horse and admit it, you like the worm and you catch fish on it! Here’s how to tie these little suckers. Be sure to whip some up in dark brown with rust thread, worm brown with pink thread, red with red thread and orange with orange thread and bright pink with pink thread. Brighter colors work well in off color water, so don’t be afraid to fish a big, bright worm when the water is a bit dirty.

Materials Needed:
Hook: TMC 3761 #12 or 14
Thread: UNI 6/0 to match or contrast body
Body: Ultra-Chenille

Step 1
Begin by laying a thread base from the eye to the bend of the hook. Be sure to completely cover the shank with the tying thread. Leave the thread hanging at the bend.

Step 2
Place a two inch length of Ultra chenille on top of the hook with the majority of it hanging beyond the bend. Bind the chenille down with four or five tight turns of thread right at the bend. Make these turns one on top of the other.

Step 3
Lift the front end of the chenille up and wrap the thread forward to just behind the hook eye.

Step 4
Pull the chenille back down against the shank and bind it down with another bunch of tight wraps. Make these wraps form a band from the back edge of the hook eye extending back about another two to three eye lengths. Build up a bit of thread to form an oval shaped lump.

Step 5
Whip finish on top of the thread band and clip the thread.

Step 6
Singe the ends of the chenille with a lighter to taper the tips. Add a coat of head cement to the thread wraps and the bottom side of the hook shank for durability. Yeah, that’s it!

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