The James Wood Bucktail


The James Wood Bucktail

The James Wood Bucktail fools another hefty bluegill!

The James Wood Bucktail fools another hefty bluegill!

Tying The James Wood Bucktail

Materials Needed:

Hook: 3x long streamer hook (Allen S402BL size 8 used here)

Thread: 140 denier UTC blue

Body: Medium yellow chenille

Wing: White bucktail

Head: Medium blue chenille


Step 1

Mount the hook in vise, attach thread at the eye of the hook and advance the thread down the shank of the hook stopping above the barb.


Step 2

Prepare the chenille by stripping away the fibers, exposing the thread core. Expose a length of thread core equal to three quarters the length of the hook shank and secure to to the hook near the bend.


Step 3

Secure the thread core of the chenille to the hook with, touching thread wraps to create a smooth underbody, Advance the thread three quarters of the way up the hook shank


Step 4

With close touching wraps, wind the chenille around the hook stopping 3/4 of the way up the shank. Secure the chenille with thread wraps and cut away excess.

Tip: I usually leave a short tag of chenille which I then tie down along the hook shank in front of the body. This will help add bulk to the head later on in the tying process.


Step 5

Cut small clump of white hairs from a bucktail. Even the tips and pull out any underfur and short fibers. 25-30 fibers is more than enough. This wing is tied very sparse.

Tie in the bucktail with the tips extending rearward in front of the chenille with several loose wraps.


Step 6

Distribute the bucktail 360 degrees around the hook. I can usually move the bucktail around with my thumbnail. When satisfied with its position, hold it in place and secure with several firm wraps of thread. If you don’t hold the bucktail in place thread tension will move it on you creating a gap in the distribution of hair around the hook.


Step 7

Tie down the rest of the hairs along the hook shank. This will further anchor them in place and build up the diameter of the hook shank so when wrapping the blue chenille it has a larger diameter than the yellow. Cut away the excess bucktail.


Step 8

Tie in the blue chenille. I tie it in at the eye and lash it down by wrapping back towards the wing. Then advance your thread back towards the eye. This will continue to add bulk to this portion of the hook shank resulting in a head that is larger than the body.


Step 9

Wrap the blue chenille towards the hook eye, secure it and cut off the excess.

Apply a small amount of super glue to the thread and make several wraps in front of the chenille head. This will greatly increase the durability of the fly. Secure the thread with a whip finish or several half hitches and remove thread.

Step 10

Lean back, take a sip of you favorite beverage and enjoy your handy work!

Harry Murray designed the James Wood Bucktail as an imitation of a sunfish.  It is impressionistic pattern at best, but the fish seem to think it does a pretty good job. I shrunk the pattern down and found it is just as effective on larger specimens of the very fish it is supposed to imitate! The pattern lends itself to a lot of variations. Experiment with different colored chenille and bucktail to imitate other fish.