Fly of the Month by J. Stockard Pro Tyer: Brandon Bailes, Athens, AL. Brandon’s passion is exploring and fishing small streams. Find Brandon on Instagram.

This fly is one I’ve been using on smallmouth and trout in smaller water. The bend in the hook and head profile creates an erratic swimming action that attracts fish in all water conditions. Although the fly really shines when you are fishing low or smaller waters where fish can spook easy, as this fly lands softly but has a lot of movement once it gets subsurface unlike many small streamers that are just profile-oriented and don’t have as much swimming action.

Hook- Ahrex TP650 size 2
Thread- UTC 140 for the body and Veevus GSP 200D for the collar/head
Tail- Peacock Sword
Body- Flashabou, coated with Raid Zap UV Thin
Wing Support- Bucktail
Over Wing- Peacock Sword
Head- Deer Belly Hair, coated with RaidZap UV Thin

Tying Steps

1. Begin by tying in a tapered clump of peacock sword at the rear of the hook shank. The length of the sword should be the same as the length of the hook shank.




2. Tie in 3-4 strands of Flashabou and palmer forward and tie off.





3. Coat the flashabou body with UV resin and cure. This is done instead of adding a rib for durability.





4. Next tie in a sparse clump of bucktail on top of the hook shank. The length should be just short of the tail.





5. Add a generous clump of peacock sword on top of the bucktail support ( a tad shorter) and whip finish the UTC 140.





6. Now tie on the Veevus 200D thread and tie in a “half pencil size” of stacked & aligned deer hair with the hair tips. This will serve as the collar of the fly and the butts should be trimmed tight to the hook shank.




7. After the collar is tied in, stack on similar size clumps of deer hair on the top and bottom of the shank until you reach the hook eye.




8. Using a piece of the thin plastic with a slit cut in to it, work your thread to the front of the plastic and whip finish.





9. Finally, begin to trim the head with scissors and a razor blade. Be mindful of the hook bend and take your time, removing small amounts of hair at a time. Once you have achieved the overall shape you can round the edges and then apply uv thin resin to the top and bottom of the head.


  1. Very interesting color choice Brandon; easy to imagine how it’d attract attention. It reminds me in one way of a version of the “Bird’s nest” nymph that the great Cal Bird tied long ago…using materials that reflected just about all the colors of the spectrum. Cal said of that version, “Fish see whatever they want with these.” I suspect your very striking muddler might have the same kind of advantage going for it.

    I’ll tie one up and give ‘er a whirl (as soon as I get enough peacock swords)! Thanks,

    – Mike

    1. That’s an interesting comment Mike. I have one of Cal’s Spectral nymphs which I believe you are referring to. This pattern predated the Bird’s Nest by several years and the spectral referred to Cal’s dubbing mixture which included many different colors and textures (including dyed seal and Australian opossum). The rest of the pattern included cock pheasant tail fibers as both a tail and beard hackle and a red thread head.

  2. I’ll give this pattern a go.
    Photos next to steps 5 and 6 seem out of order.
    I don’t understand the use of plastic with slit reference in step 8.

    1. I couldn’t help noticing that the wing and tail on the cover or the 2020 catalog employs feather sections
      rather than peacock swords. What feathers are employed and what are the advantages over peacock swords?

      1. Yeah on the that color scheme I use turkey just like the original Muddler. No real advantage or disadvantages just for color scheme.

  3. Constructed using different materials than the photo on the 2020 cover. Disappointing instructions as well but I understand how to spin and trim deer hair and substitute materials. Why not just tie what was depicted, laziness or just indifference?

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