Tying the Soft Hackle Sow Bug Bead Head.
Some might think fishing in winter is akin to hot-tubbing in Hell, but we addicts understand. Winter is a reprieve from the crowds and an opportunity to experience our favorite waters in a unique setting. But different conditions call for different tools, so I created this fly for the winter months on the Gallatin. It’s easy to tie and one of my favorites—at least one that I’m willing to share.
Hook: TMC 2457, size-16
Thread: UNI-Thread 6/0 or 8/0, pink
Head: 2.3mm glass barrel bead, pink
Body: .015 lead wire
Overbody: Fine copper-wire rib
Soft Hackle: Partridge
Other: Dubbing wax; Hareline Cinnamon UV Ice Dub
1. Slide the bead over the hook and place it in the vise.
2. Wind lead wire halfway up the front half of the hook, then push it into the back side of the glass bead.
3. Tie down the lead wire with UNI-Thread, then wrap some thread around the back of the hook.
4. Tie in a fine copper-wire rib.
5. Wrap the thread to the middle of the hook. Wax thread using dubbing wax.
6. Dub in a small amount of UV cinnamon ice dub. Make a few wraps to the back of the hook with one wrap of dub behind the ribbing, then wrap forward to just behind the eye of the glass bead. You should have a nice tapered body.
7. Wrap rib forward using six to eight wraps. Tie off the ribbing behind the glass bead.
8. Tie in a partridge soft hackle behind your glass bead. Using hackle pliers, wrap the hackle 1.5 turns and tie off. Clip excess.
9. Whip finish and glue.
J.D. Bingman is co-owner of Wild Trout Outfitters in Big Sky and has been fishing in southwest Montana for over 40 years.