SBS – The Mighty Ugandan

A recent trip to Providence Atoll in the far outer reaches of the Seychelles, saw myself and Warwick tying up an absolute storm in the 8 months leading up to the trip.. regular “Whippet Wednesdays” sessions in Warwick’s Garage, which has been converted into a flytying, beer and whiskey drinking haven, saw us furiously tying vastly more flies than we would ever likely need for five trips, never mind one trip.. But “need” seldom enters into ones mind when discussing fish, tackle, or flies… “want” is a far more suitable emotion…

We tied all the usual suspects ( Brush flies, Sempers, NYAP’s etc ) and then started thinking about “experimental” patterns to keep ourselves entertained.. We ended up with a number of patterns in the “experimental” group, which we ended up putting to good use on our trip.. in fact I ended up fishing these new patterns almost exclusively, and getting some damn good fish on them..

One of the patterns, since nicknamed ” The Mighty Ugandan” stood out in particular for a number of reasons:

1 – Durability: A lot of patterns after a few fish ( GT’s, Snapper, Grouper, Emperors etc ) tend to start falling apart, and can lose their effectiveness. Because of the head design on this pattern, it protects all the tie on points, and as such remains incredibly durable

2 – Effectiveness around coral heads: Fishing around coral heads in particular, this pattern really stood out.. at one point Warwick and I were fishing side by side off a flat into a lagoon section with a small coral head in it, and I think I went 6 for 6 on Grouper and Snapper and Emperor, with Warwick, fishing a similar color Semper, not getting a touch.. I’m not 100% sure why it was su much more effective, but could be due to the flies bulkiness.. it creates a BIG profile, and the big head creates a lot of turbulence which in turn gives great movement to the rear of the fly..

The fly itself could be tied in so many ways, so its not really a specific pattern as such, but rather a method of adding a big bulky head up front, without using Deerhair for example, or building a head with Epoxy/UV resin, while still painting a relatively light fly.. I say relatively light as bear in mind this version is tied on an 8/0 Game SL12S, and being thrown on a 12 weight… and its a BIG fly..

The main feature is the use of Blane Chocklett’s Body Tubing for the head. Blane is a genius fly innovator, with numerous patterns to his name that have become famous such as the ground breaking Game Changer. He’s also widely credited with the insane popularity of huge articulated streamers for Musky and Pike in North America.. specifically his ingenious way of using this Body Tubing of his to help create flare and bulk on these enormous flies, often with 2 or 3 or even 4 articulations, but keeping the weight down. This fly below steals from his method, but utilizing the Body Tubing just for the head section as shown below.

Materials:

Hook – Gamakatsu SL12S or similar depending on application. This version is tied on the 8/0

Thread: Veevus 240 or similar for the big version. You need a strong thread, especially if you are ham fisted like me. Smaller versions you could use GSP or Nanosilk or 140..

Tail: Bucktail:

Hackles: Chineese( eBay hackles! ) 6 in total on this version.

Body: Brush – I’ve used the EP Foxy Brush… original version used the 5″ brush, but I’d run out so the version below uses the 3″… you could make your own brushes up for this quite easily.

Collar: Bucktail

Head: Blane Chocklett body tubing in 1/2 inch ( or Flexo material for smaller versions )

Tying sequence:

wrap shank and return thread to just above barb

 

Tie in small clump of bucktail to provide stiffness and bulk

 

Start adding your hackles.. I like to leave some of the soft bits attached, and try tying in on the stiffer butt section of the hackle to help maintain stiffness and prevent wrapping.
6 hackles tied in ( 3 a side )

 

Add a collar of bucktail, spread around the shank. You want to get a decent flare here to help the transition between the hackles and the brush in your next steps.

 

Tie in your brush and wind thread forward

 

Wind Brush forward to point shown and tie off. You want to leave some tag end of the brush as shown, don’t cut it, just fold it back out the way to use later.

 

Singe the end of the body tubing and tie in as shown. Its pretty tricky to get right, and requires a bit of practice, and helps to have strong thread.. a touch of super glue helps too.

 

 

Fold the tubing back on itself to get a rough measure of how long you want the head to be. My thumb is showing about where I want to cut the tubing.

 

Once cut, singe the ends of the cut, and fold the tubing back over itself completely towards the rear of the fly.

 

 

Now push forward again and tie in as show.. try make sure you are tying over the tie in point of the first piece of the tubing.
Now take a few more wraps of the remaining Brush, right up to give yourself a bit more body fill.

 

Tie in another collar of bucktail. For this stage, which is optional, I like to use Bob Popovic’s “Bulkhead Deceiver” method of tying in the bucktail with quite long butt ends, and essentially “spinning” it like deer hair. I also tie one clump on top, and one on the bottom instead of trying to get it all evenly distributed in one go.. one on top, spread around top half, and one on the bottom spread around the bottom.

 

Bottom clump tied in. After this, wrap your thread through the upright flared butt ends and get everything standing up or slightly backwards.

 

At this point I do a VERY rough trim of the butt ends as show.

 

Tie in a clump of bucktail, reverse/hollow fly style, with the tips pointing forwards.. note I am tying this in ON TOP of the tie in point of the Body Tubing. I do this in two stages again, one clump on top and spread around top of shank, and a second on the bottom.

 

Very important at this stage is making sure your bucktails are spread evenly around the head of the fly.. often best to look from the front to make sure you’ve got even coverage.

 

Side view of bucktail tied in top and bottom.. Using a bodkin to try get the fibers all spread evenly and straight is important, take your time.

 

Whip finish over the tie in point and super glue all the way round on the tie in point and leave to dry completely.

 

The fun part… push /fold the head back pushing the forward facing bucktails back with it. Try spread them evenly round the shank. Depending on the length of your body tubing, you can adjust the “flare” of the bucktail.. A longer piece of tubing will have the Bucktail lying flatter, whilst a shorter head will have them more flared.

 

good bulk and flare:

 

Front view.. lots of bulk and turbulence

 

Top view… all that bulk will create significant turbulence and water flowing back over the tail portion of the fly, imparting good action.

 

Sometimes the shape of the head is not perfect, but with a bit of work ( squeezing, squashing etc, can be manipulated to get it even and the shape you want )

 

I tried tying some smaller versions, using the 1/4 inch tubing which worked out pretty nicely too. These are on 4/0’s..

 

Warwick tied a pair in plain white, using the Flexo tubing in white, which is slightly bigger then the Blane Chocklett Body Tubing 1/4 and they came out absolutely fantastically… I think the versions above should have been tied on 3/0 or 2/0 size hooked, and with a little less body… but either way the came out pretty nicely.

 

Here are Warwick’s freshwater versions, tied on Game B10S hooks.. I love theses in all white and I think the head size using the Flexo tubing on this is perfect:

 

 

2 thoughts on “SBS – The Mighty Ugandan”

  1. Dave says:

    Very cool!

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