The Booby

by Jonathan

The Booby is a relatively recent addition to the flyfishers arsenal.  The original patterns were tied using polystyrene balls tied together in the mesh from ladies tights and tied in at the eye of the hook.  The way they wobbled about was how the fly acquired its name.  Their other main disadvantage was that if you applied varnish to the head and some got on the polystyrene it was only a question of time before either one or both ‘deflated’.

The fly had proved so successful on the stillwaters, particularly for rainbows, that some enterprising angler came up with booby tube which could be supplied in various lengths and was not damaged by varnish.

That is the material we have used on the demo.

The variations on colour of head, chenille, cactus chenille or the marabou tail is limited only by the imagination of the tyer. Green and white and orange and white are favourites.

The ‘fly’ is usually fished with a sinking line. Once the line has settled on the lake bed the booby will be floating above it at the height of the leader.  You can be lazy and sit there and wait for a rainbow to cruise by and take the fly, or you can retrieve your line in long pulls, allowing time between for the fly to lift back up to its original height.  As you pull the line the booby is drawn to the lake bed.

In recent years the competition fishers use boobies to fish the ‘washing line’ method.  Usually, I believe, with an intermediate line.  The booby is fished on the point and 2 droppers with nymphs or buzzers on the cast.  This method is used to explore different depths where the fish are feeding.

I do not believe our American friends have discovered this ‘fly’ yet despite their Dolly Parton probably being responsible for its name.

If you like sitting on the bank and taking it easy this fly might be worth a try.  It has accounted for some big fish.


  • Hook long shank 10 / 8
  • Body orange chenille fritz
  • Tail orange marabou
  • Head plastazote tube orange or white
  • Tying silk orange
  • Tail flash optional
  • Please note color variations are optional ( white /green – black / green ) 



Dave Cammiss and The Team

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

DaveC October 19, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Hi Lewis
Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.
I was lucky when I started tying flies. I lived in the country and whilst my Dad was the village Bobby he still kept a few hens and bantams, not to mention the pigs,goats,sheep and bees. We used to go ferreting and shooting. All in all the problem was not getting materials so much as storing it. Those were the far off days of North country spider patterns and the needs were simple.( 60 yearsago) But I digress. I would be reluctant to buy a starter kit on E-bay. I have some good suppliers on e-bay but I have had some bad experiences with the odd ‘supplier’ not having a clue what he/she was selling.
Send for a catalogue from the 2 following. Both do starter kits and list the contents. I use both.
Fly Hooks Roydlures ROYD1 @ BLUE YONDER.CO.UK
I have probably got the wrong case. Look up Roydlures on search engine.
Hope this helps
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

LewisD October 15, 2009 at 11:26 am

Hi dave and the team! Can i say fantastic website and great information on fly tying! I’m a keen fly firsherman and thinking about starting up fly tying to further enhance my hobby. I’ve noticed there are a few really good adverts on ebay selling fly tying kits at very cheap prices. In your opinion, what makes a goiod fly tying kit and what are the main things to look for when considering purchases? Also, i am very busy with work and cant really commit to attending a weekly fly tying course, can the necessary skills be gained by dvd’s, books and online adequately? if so, are there any core materials you would recommend?

all the best,


DaveC October 13, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Hi Matt,
Thanks for your e-mail. It is difficult to be specific about where my materials come from. Much has been acquired over the last 50 plus years.
Hooks kamasan from Fishtec, and good quality bargain price hooks from Roydlures. Tying threads,/braids,/wires marabou and chenilles from Sparton. Most of the rest just seems to accumulate.
Over the years before imported flies plagued us I did tie for several local tackle shops. Tie mainly for myself and myown amusement these days but do tie for friends who dont/wont tie their own.
My mission …….To get as many as possible flyfishers tying their own flies.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

matt fee October 12, 2009 at 6:25 pm

hi dave just a quick question, where do you buy your materials from, and also do you tie for other people.

kind regards,

derek September 6, 2009 at 6:18 pm

very helpful indeed and worked at a pace that is easy too follow thanks

Georg September 4, 2009 at 2:03 pm

A great fly for stillwater, we had a nice day with this fly an great lake, have a look!

Tight Lines

David Cammiss April 7, 2009 at 8:57 am

Hi Ted
Thanks for your comments. I cannot recall having replied to your message……busy recovering from Christmas. Good to know that the vids are of help. Anytime i can help dont hesitate to come back to me.
Happy Fishing
Dave C.and the Team

David Cammiss April 7, 2009 at 8:54 am

Hi Lee
Thanks for your comments. The egg sucking leech sounds an interesting variant.
Happy Fishing
DaveC.and the Team

Lee April 6, 2009 at 8:02 am


Ive recently found an American variation of this fly know as the egg sucking leech. Its a woolly bugger in black or brown with an egg pattern tied just behind the hook eye. Love your lessons and I cant wait to get my own vise and material to get started.

Ted Leather January 11, 2008 at 11:09 am

many thanks for a very informative set of demo’s, particularly the half hitches which I have just mastered. I can now do away with the whip finishing tool for most of my fly tying (phoo). As a fishery bailiff I am regularly asked to help with a variety of problems regarding flies/fly tying. In future I will not hesitate in recommending your web site and demo’s.

Thanks agin


topflyman December 29, 2007 at 10:16 am

Hi John
Jon will try to get the next one edited in the next few days. He has had a busy
Happy New Year
Dave C. and the Team

john brown December 28, 2007 at 5:44 pm

looking forward to the next lesson, any idea when david !
thanks john

topflyman December 14, 2007 at 3:10 pm

Hi Rab
my son does the editting. There are 2 more in the can but I cannot remember what they are. He will put one on line when he can get some time, but it is coming up to xmas and he is very busy at work.
DaveC and Team

rab December 13, 2007 at 8:04 pm

hi there, rabby here great videos when and what fly will be posted next
cherrs rab

Ray November 27, 2007 at 2:04 am

I have just recently found your site, and I just love it! A few years ago, I took lessons in fly tying, and have never considered any of my flies “fishable.” Now, thanks to you, I have found a renewed interest in tying flies, and they are much more pleasing to my eye, and hopefully so to the trout!!!

Thank you for all the effort you and your team have put in to making fly tying much more approachable to the average person.


By the way, do you have any intention of showing us some more of the North Country flies? I love those, as I loved your video on the Partridge and Orange, and Greenwell’s Glory, those are fantastic!

topflyman November 23, 2007 at 10:16 am

Hi Ryan
The first step into tying your own flies is always the hardest.Glad that we were able to ease the pain. Keep watching , there is more to come.
Happy Fishing
Dave C. and Team

Shakeyfly November 23, 2007 at 2:23 am

Hi Dave,
I have been fly fishing now for several years, but only recently been brave enough to start tying flies. I have tied a couple in the past, and they are terrible! With the encouragement of your videos, the perfect speed of the tying, and ease of which you make it seem, I have been able to mimic several of your flies, and have already caught fish on them! Thank you so much for sharing your talents with the world. It is much appreciated.

Rhode Island, USA

topflyman November 22, 2007 at 10:15 am

Hi Ben
Thank you for your comments…..very kind.
There are more lessons on the way. Keep watching.
Dave C. and Team

ben franks November 22, 2007 at 1:30 am

Hello Sir, my name is Ben. I live in Candler, NC USA. Getting started tying flies. I have only been able to begin buying equipment but came across your teachings on YouTube. I enjoy your personality and appreciate your techniques and methods. In my collecting tools that I haven’t been able to use yet I have dug through my wife’s medicine cabinet and found a suitable hat pin I believe you would be pleased with. Just wanted to send you a note to thank you for sharing with everyone your talents. With my next dollars saved up and can buy hair and fur, I plan on sitting with you and tying my first fly on new equipment. Thanks again. If you put out more lessons than what I see would you please bring it to my attention by dropping me a note? Be blessed. Happy fishing. Ben

Terry November 20, 2007 at 8:13 pm

Outstanding… Thanks once again for this great quality video.
You certainly make it look easy which is very encouraging for someone like me with two left thumbs 🙂

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