About Sweetwater Fishing

About the Fly of the Month and Bonus Fly

Freshwater(Sweetwater) Fly of the Month- July/August 2012

O.C.  Tuttle’s Devi Bug is the my  Freshwater  July/August 2012 “Fly of the Month” The Devil Bug is one of the oldest bass bug patterns and while not as popular as in days gone by, many warmwater  anglers  still favor it.   The Devil bug is fun to tie and  because of its productiveness, it’s always worth a try. This pattern was probably the inspiration for other well-known fly patterns such as the Cooper Bug, Humpy type flies and any other pattern using deer hair for the tail and over the back.

   The Devil Bug came to be when Orley Tuttle  of Old Forge, NY designed a bug to imitate beetles he saw smallmouths eating in  his local lake. He tied it by laying a thick bunch of deer hair on top of the hook shank then lashing it down fore and aft, clipping the front into a stubby head, and leaving the rear tips of the hair to flare around the bend of the hook. When Tuttle showed his odd creation to his wife, as the story goes, she declared: “Looks like the devil to me.” From then on, Orley’s creation was called  the Devil Bug.  Although the Devil Bug wasn’t the first deer hair bass bug, it was certainly the first really popular one. By 1922, Tuttle was selling 50,000 bugs a year in more than 800 combinations of color, size and design — moth bugs, beetle bugs, mouse bugs, and even a baby duck Devil Bug.

This deer hair creation is not a noisy bug. It doesn’t really produce much noise at all and seems to work because of the water it can push and disturb with the slightest movement. Often times in bass bugging, especially for smallmouths in calm, clear water a noisy popping retrieve won’t get them up. Yet a slow retrieve with frequent long pauses and only a slight twitch to disturb the surface with ripples will. Pickerel are fond of Devil Bugs as they seem to key in on movement rather than sound. Of course they can quickly destroy this deer hair morsel. By nature of its design the Devil Bug is somewhat weedless as it pushes weeds aside and down its wings and not underneath toward the hook. There are many different styles of Devil Bugs and the one presented here is perhaps the best known. It can be tied with solely natural deer hair or in many different color combinations.


Thread: Monocord or preferably Kevlar

Hook: Mustad 3399 or any other suitable bass bug hook

Body: Chenile, yarm , poly yarn, or even foam strips   wound on to the desired shape as an under layment for the deer hair covering..

Tail: Tips of the deer hair tied on for covering the back, sides and underside of the bug. Trimmed at the head.

Back and Underside: Deer hair , natural or dyed. Spread around the body, tied off at the head and trimmed.

 Wings: Deer hair tied in at the head and at an angle to the body

            The Devil Bug is another pattern that holds a special place with me, not because of my success with it but rather someone  I was fortunate enough to meet by way of it.   Fishing is more than having the right fly, simple or fancy and catching many big fish. It’s about the total experience of each outing, from flies, fish and birds; to the people you meet while fishing.  Several years ago while surfing the web I stumbled upon the Bass Pond.com website and eventually joined the forum. A friend who was a forum member told me I should join as I would  enjoy this  forum as they were  a group of friendly and unpretentious fisherman whose passion was warmwater fly fishing . The forum’s moderator  was John Medige of Nashua NH (a.k.a. Gillbuster). John provided all sorts of fly fishing informational posts  and links to the forum and was also coordinated the forums fishing get-togethers held several times a year  These outings are  for enjoying fellowship and wamwater fly fishing.   At these outings there is never a mention of who caught the most or biggest fish. However at the annual get- together a trophy is awarded to the angler who brings the best food not who catches the biggest fish. John coordinated all these events and provided everything from driving directions and fishing reports to lodging arrangements and flies(if you needed some.)  He covered all the bases and always made sure everyone was taken care of and had everything they needed for an enjoyable time.   Everyone brings some type of food to these outings and John always brings gourmet entrees fit for a king and enough to feed the kings army.  John always brought two other items to the site and fishing get-togethers; a very friendly manner and a big smile.  He  is one of the friendliest and most pleasant people I’ve ever met. I know of at least one fly fishing organization that could really use an infusion of people like John.

            Although John is very enthusiastic and passionate about the Bass Pond website and fishing trips, his main passion is Devil Bugs. John loves to tie, fish, and tell people about Devil Bugs. This became very clear to me at several fly fishing/tying shows this year.   I had the pleasure of sitting alongside John at the Bass Pond.Com table tying flies at two springtime shows.  I tied salt and freshwater streamers while John was tied, guess what?—Devil Bugs.  John told each visitor that that stopped to look at the Devil Bugs  on display and the ones he was tying  the story of the Devil Bug from its history,  to how to tie and fish them. The entire time the enthusiasm and passion in John’s voice for his Devil Bugs never wavered and it was as enthusiastic for the 200th visitor as it was for the very first. That sort of enthusiasm is hard to find but it’s also contagious as I credit John in part to my somewhat enthusiastic return to warmwater fly fishing and tying.  So  when I look at my fly box I see not only a Devil Bug  but a bookmark that returns my memory  back  to a really nice person I had the good fortune of meeting and some good times warmwater fly fishing.  I can only  hope to  open to that bookmark many more times in the years to come.

Check this link  for more pics and old time info on Devil Bugs

© Copyright Ray Bondorew Aug 2012