fly tying frank sawyer killer bug

Tying Frank Sawyer Killer Bug

The killer bug tied with the original Chadwick’s 477 reinforcing and mending wool.

Killer bug Frank Sawyer

This classic Grayling pattern from nymph expert and legendary river keeper Frank Sawyer still doesn’t disappoint, but if you follow Sawyer’s tying instruction, the killer or (grayling) bug as it was originally named, could and should only be tied with one brand and shade of wool, Chadwick’s No 477. Killer bug pattern that may be one of the most simple flies ever tied!

Materials for killer bug

Hook: Mustad S80NP-BR
Thread: Dyneema
Tag: Medium copper wire
Body: Chadwick’s 477 or any other pinkish grey darning wool

Chadwick’s 477

Chadwicks-477 materials for killer bug

Although this wool is not produced anymore there are a whole load of substitutes to be found and the original wool cards occasionally come up for auction. Like several of Sawyers patterns, in the original he diddent use tying thread, only red coloured copper wire.

Step by step how to tie Killer bug:

killer bug step by step 1

  1. Secure your wet fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.

2. Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank from just behind the hook eye to the bend.

3. Cut a length of medium copper wire and tie this in a little down the hook bend.

4. Now make 7 or 8 tight wraps of copper wire as shown for the tag. If you would like a heavier killer bug now is the time to add the extra weight.

5. Tie off the copper wire and remove the excess. Cut a length of your chosen wool and tie this in along the length of the whole hook shank finishing at the tag.

6. Now wrap the wool forward and back along the hook shank between the tag and the hook eye, but not too tight, the idea is that the body will absorb water. If you wrap the wool too tight this will be difficult. Once you have built up a cigar shaped body, tie off the wool behind the hook eye.

7. Trim off the excess wool and finish with a couple of whip finishes.

Grayling’s favorite fly – killer bug

The proof of the pudding!

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