The Vanilla Ice Bugger is a creation from the mind of Dennis Collier. For those of you who don’t know him, Dennis is truly one of the best fly tiers I’ve ever met, an extremely talented and creative guy and, obviously, a huge fan of late eighties rap music!.
Dennis showed me this fly a few years ago and I was instantly impressed. I had been fishing a fly a lot like this for several years but Dennis’ rendition is just pure MONEY! His addition of an Ice Dub body creates an ultra-violet haze around the fly and really sets it apart.
I believe this fly imitates a baby brown trout. The pale yellow color closely matches the tone of a small trout’s belly and really stands out in the water. One of the best parts of this fly is that its light color allows you to see the fly in the water as you fish it. This visual contact frequently permits you to see the follow and take from the fish and alter your retrieve accordingly.
I have fished this fly extensively and find that my best results are with a fast, jerky retrieve and either a quartering downstream cast or straight across toward the bank. Dennis likes a quartering upstream cast and follows the fly through the swing. Either way, the Vanilla Ice brings crushing strikes from predatory fish.
Tie some of these guys up and put them in the corner of your box. The next time the fishing is hot, you may find yourself giving them some ICE!
Hook: TMC 300 #2-10
Thread: 3/0 tan Monocord
Tail: Cream Marabou
Rib: Small Hot Yellow Ultra-Wire
Body: Light Yellow U.V. Ice Dub
Hackle: Tan Rooster Saddle Hackle
Collar: Tan Rooster Saddle Hackle or Hen for smaller sizes
Place the cone on the hook and slide it up to the eye. Make about ten wraps of .035 lead wire around the hook. Break the ends off the lead and shove the wraps into the back of the cone. Start the thread and wrap a base over the lead wraps and the shank back to the bend.
Select a cream marabou feather and pinch the tip together into a clump. Measure the clump against the shank so it is about two-thirds of a shank length long.
Tie the marabou in at the bend of the hook with a band of several tight wraps of thread.
Wrap forward over the butt ends of the marabou feather in loose spirals up to the back of the cone. Clip any remaining butts.
Return the thread to the mid-point on the shank and tie in an eight-inch length of wire. Wrap over the wire with the thread to the bend of the hook.
Dub a robust body from the bend to about two eye lengths back from the cone. On larger flies, first wrap an underbody of yarn or furry foam to build up the body to save you from having to apply three pounds of dubbing to the fly.
Select a saddle hackle that has long, webby barbules. I don’t pay too much attention to the length of the fibers on a fly like this. I shoot for a feather with fibers between two and three gap widths long and a good taper. That is a feather that is skinnier at the tip than at the butt. This type of feather will provide a tapered silhouette when palmered over the body. Trim the fluff from the butt end of the feather and strip a few fibers from the quill. Dennis likes to strip a few more fibers from the inside edge of the feather also. This step will keep any fibers from straying from the wraps on the first turn. Tie the hackle feather in by its butt and with the inside of the feather toward the hook.
Palmer the hackle back to the bend of the hook in evenly spaced spirals.
Trap the tip of the feather with the wire at the bend and wrap the wire forward through the hackle. Be careful not to tie down any hackle fibers with the wire as you wrap. Tie the wire off at the rear edge of the cone. Break off the excess wire and the hackle tip at this point.
Prepare and tie in another like-sized hackle feather between the front of the first hackle and the rear edge of the cone.
Fold the hackle fibers back toward the rear of the hook. To do this, pull the tip of the feather up and hold it taut. Dampen the fingertips of your material hand and stroke the fibers down and back. It helps to ‘wiggle’ the fibers up and down a bit as you do this. Repeat the process until the fibers are all pointing toward the bend of the hook.
Wrap the hackle forward three or four times. Comb the fibers back after each wrap and tie the feather off at the rear of the cone. Clip the excess feather.
Make a few tight turns of thread to smooth out the head and whip finish behind the cone. Trim the thread.
Brush the body of the fly with a dubbing brush to loosen the dubbing. This will create the U.V. haze around the fly. Stroke the hackle fibers back toward the bend. Apply a drop of head cement to the thread wraps behind the cone.