I recently wrote about Jack Gartside’s Gurgler pattern and how I adapt the design for fishing for bass and panfish. Tied in a size six, a gurgler makes a great pattern for both bass and large panfish. However, there are times when I want to fish something smaller just for panfish, and that is where the Micro Gurgler comes into its own.
The Micro Gurgler is a gurgler style fly with a few changes. It looks like a generic terrestrial foam dry fly, but at its heart, it is a gurgler. A pint-sized standard gurgler tied on a size 10 or 12 hooks will work just fine for panfish, and it is still a vital pattern in my panfish arsenal. The Micro Gurgler was developed over a few years using techniques I have seen on other patterns along with a few of my own.
Here are some of the differences that set the Micro Gurgler apart from a standard Gurgler pattern. First off, the traditional tail has been eliminated from this pattern except for a few short strands of flash material. The “tail” is created by allowing the foam body to extend past the end of the hook and adding a tapered point to it. The waist of the fly is thinned down by compressing the foam with wraps of thread to give the fly a different profile in the water. The dry fly hackle is palmered over this portion of the body to add some flotation back into the fly after compressing the foam. The foam head is doubled back on itself instead of extending over the hook eye and cut off. I often wrap this layer of foam over a contrasting color strip of foam to create an eye on the pattern and give it a little more floatation. It is probably an unnecessary step but I do it occasionally on flies I tie for myself. On darker versions of this pattern, I like to add a small bright colored tab of razor foam to the head to increase the fly’s visibility on the water. This step is unnecessary if tying the pattern using bright colored foam that is easily seen on the water. Legs are a must on most of my topwater panfish patterns so it felt natural to add them to the body of the fly.
This pattern has been a reliable producer for bluegills and other panfish of all sizes. I tie the fly in natural colors like black, brown, green, and olive, but bright colors like chartreuse, white, yellow, and orange also work well at times. The fly is quick and easy to tie and is one I like to include in my fly tying classes as it is perfect for beginners.
Hook: Standard Dry Fly size 10
Thread: 140 D UTC color to match
Tail: 4-6 strands of flash material (Crystal Flash, Flashabou, etc.)
Body: 2mm closed cell foam strip
Hackle: Grizzly dry fly hackle
Legs: Silicon Grizzly Flutter legs
Eye: Small strip of 2mm foam in a contrasting color (optional)
Indicator: Brightly colored 1mm Razor Foam (optional)