Layered Hair Fly

The Layered-Hair Fly

Design flies that are easy for the fish to spot in the water. You’ll be happy with the results.

[by Jay “Fishy” Fullum]

AS AN ARTIST, I RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE of contrast when applying different colors to paper or canvas. I also know the importance of choosing the right colors when tying a fly that will stand out in stained water or during low-light conditions. This might require making slight changes in the colors recommended in the pattern recipe; a solid-colored fly tied using only light, medium, or dark materials will be difficult for the fish to locate when the habitat matches the hues used in the pattern.

Tying the Layered-Hair Fly using bundles of different-colored bucktail will enable you to create a pattern of contrasting colors. Combine bundles of yellow, black, bright orange, green, and more, layering them so the fly will be seen as water clarity or light conditions change.

The tying technique is user-friendly and results in very durable flies. Tie streamers with only two bundles of bucktail, or use as many as four or five bundles to produce some great-looking layered creations. I am convinced that the layers of color add to the productivity of these flies.

Tie up a supply of bundles and have fun lashing them on top of each other to create the Layered-Hair Fly.

Jay “Fishy” Fullum has written for this magazine for two decades. To learn more about his flies and fine art, go to Fishy lives in New York State.


HOOK: A streamer hook to match the length of the bundles of bucktail you will use.
THREAD: Size 6/0 (140 denier). Select colors to match the bucktail.
BODY: Bucktail in your choice of colors.
EYES: Doll eyes in your choice of color.
MORE STUFF: A yarn needle, superglue, and fingernail polish.

Layered Hair Fly Steps

1 Start the thread on the hook. Tie a bundle of bucktail along the length of the shank, tie off the thread, and snip. We’ll add separate bundles of bucktail to the fly in the following steps.
2 Place a large yarn needle in your vise. Start the thread on the needle. Tie a bundle of bucktail on the needle. Tie off the thread and snip. Apply a thin coat of superglue to the thread wraps, and pull the bundle off the needle. Repeat these steps until you have the desired number of bundles for the fly.
3 Restart the thread at the end of the hook shank. Tie the first bunch of bucktail to the rear of the hook; make sure it is centered on top of the shank. Apply a drop of superglue to the thread wraps.
4 Tie another bundle of bucktail to the top of the fly; place this bundle directly on top of the first bunch. Tie off and clip the thread. Add a drop of superglue to the thread wraps.
5 Start the thread behind the hook eye. Tie down the middle layer of bucktail at the front of the hook.
6 Carefully position the last layer of bucktail on top of the fly to form the back. Tie down the bundle behind the hook eye. Shape the head of the fly using additional thread wraps. Whip-finish and clip the thread.
7 Apply a thin coat of superglue to both sides of the layered body. Attach the doll eyes with superglue gel. If you wish, apply a couple of brushstrokes of nail polish in front of the head.