Fly Tyer's Corner

by Bill Carnazzo

The Billywog

(click above for photos)

Although trout fishing is a passion with me, bass and panfish fishing is also high on the list--which is why I live where I do, with two bass ponds. This has given me the opportunity to create some new patterns--some (but not all) of which have been successful. One of the successful ones, at least on my ponds, is my polywog imitation. Bass love frogs, and there are always polywogs around in one form or another. This fly is so simple it may make you laugh. Well, then, all the better--because I favor simplicity. It should be fished with short strips; but if that doesn't work, try variations in stripping speed and length. P.S.--the fly may also imitate a damsel nymph.


Hook: Tiemco 200R or similar shaped hook, sizes 8-12
Thread: Black 6/0 or 8/0
Tail: Small bunch of muskrat fur, with guard hairs
Abdomen: Dubbed muskrat
Rib: Fine gold wire
Thorax: Peacock herl (wrapped)
Eyes: (Optional) 30# Mono heated to form eye shape
Weight: (Optional) Lead or substitute, at thorax area
Hackle: Filoplume or immature pheasant feather
Head: Small thread head


1. Cover shank with thread and add weight at thorax, if desired. Smash barb.

2. Take small bunch of muskrat fur and tie in a short tail at bend, just above back end of now-smashed barb.

3. Tie in gold wire for rib, and dub a slim body up to a point just forward of the halfway point of the shank. Counter-wind the rib forward to this same point, tie off and trim.

4. Tie in 4 strands of peacock herl by the tips, at this same point. Strengthen them by wrapping them around the tying thread. Now take the herl and thread together, and wrap a nice thorax forward to a point about 2 eye-lengths behind the eye of the hook.

5. If you opt for mono eyes, tie them in now, about 1 eye-length behind the eye of the hook.

6. Just behind the eyes, or at the point where the herl thorax ends, tie in an immature feather from a pheasant back. You will find these feathers behind the main, larger feathers on the back. Before tying it in, trim the feather material from one side of the feather.

7. Take two wraps of the filoplume, stroking it back so it sweeps back over the thorax; tie off and trim. Care must be taken in handling these feathers, as they are quite fragile.

8. Form a nice, small head with the tying thread.

Now go fish your Billywog. Spring is near and the bass are in shallower water.

Enjoy, and see ya on the creek...!!!

Copyright 1998 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted.