I have been tying the Wobble Bugger for about 3 years. Originally I was trying to make a fly rod version of a Lazy Ike. The Wobble Bugger has been a great success. I tied in at the Small Mouth Rendezvous last year and Larry Stinnett has been tying them since. Here is an e-mail he recently sent to me. He made a few modifications, but the fly has worked very well for him.
Just a note to tell you that we have been catching white bass (called “sand bass” in Oklahoma) on a variation of the wobble bugger fly.
The fishery is the tail water below Fort Gibson Dam here in eastern Oklahoma. It is a very popular place for the sand bass fishermen. We fish when there is no water being released through the dam. Several of us were catching fish using light spinning rigs and shad imitating poppers. Surface lures are the only thing that be fished because the area is full of old fishing line and lures that have been broken off and when the water is low anything other than a surface lure will hang and be lost. We started trying poppers and gurglers on our fly rods with some success. I thought that the wobble bugger in white might work well in this scenario so I tied some and tried them. They work great!!! The ability to dive just below the surface with a strip and then float up on a pause is just what is needed. The best approach seems to be to use long (18 inch or more) strips repeated quickly enough to prevent the fly from reaching the surface as it floats up. This keeps the fly moving just below the surface at all times. It remains shallow enough that it does snag the old lines in the water.
I tied the fly on a 1/0 Daiichi Style 2720 hook. This is a good hook for the fly because it is a fine wire hook with a small eye that aids in pushing it through the foam. We have started weighting the fly with 6 inches of 0.020 diameter lead wire to reduce its buoyancy and allow a little slower strip when retrieving it. The fly still floats well and fishes even better. The Daiichi hook is not available locally and we have started looking for a substitute. We are going to try the Gamakatsu B10S Stinger hook in a size 1. This is a heavier wire hook and will require a different lead wire to duplicate the weight of the combined Daiichi hook and 0.020 wire. The Daiichi hook/0.020 wire weighs 0.7 grams. The Gamakatsu hook and 6 inches of 0.015 lead wire also weigh 0.7 grams so this is what I am going to try. We have used 5 mm thick white foam that is available at Hobby Lobby and white hackle feathers. To imitate a shad, we have used a gray Copic marker to color the topside of the foam. When the marker is used on the foam, it takes a couple of minutes to dry so I usually color the foam strip and set it aside to dry while I tie the body of the fly. The color begins to fade when fished so I will try to stabilize the color or find a more permanent marker. I am not sure that this is very important since I have caught fish on the solid white foam also. I am attaching a picture of the fly and also the two hooks with the appropriate amount of wire wound on them.
As I am sure you know, it is essential to get the angled cut of the foam straight or the fly will spin when stripped. I got tired of cutting myself when holding the razor blade and have a simple tool that helps cut true and minimizes cut fingers. I square off one end of two “tongue depressor” sticks and sandwich the double edge razor blade (single edge blades are not sharp enough to cut the foam straight) between the two sticks. I clamp it in place using small binder clips. I remove and save the wire “arms” from the binder clips. The “tongue depressor” sticks are available at Hobby Lobby. I then can use the “knife” to cut the foam beginning on the bottom side and carefully slicing through at an angle to the top side (the colored side). I am attaching a picture of the “knife” as I find it most helpful.
I thought that you would be interested in how we are using the wobble bugger.
I agree that it is important to cut the foam at a 45 degree angle. I cut a ¼ inch groove in a piece of wood and then mitered it at 45 degrees. The foam strip is placed in the groove and then trimmed flush with the wood using a razor blade.
Thanks Larry for your comments.