Booby Trout Fishing Fly
This is an interesting fly that incorporates polystyrene beads that provide floatation causing the fly to float up off the bottom when fished on a fast sinking fly line. So successful is the design that it is almost impossible to get the fly caught on the bottom.
When the fly line is retrieved the fly is pulled downwards. When the angler stops his retrieve the fly rises up in the water. By a combination of short pulls on the line, the angler can impart a very life-like swimming action to the fly which also wobbles as it swims.
The Booby Trout Fishing Fly makes an excellent lake fly that can be cast in front of a patrolling brown trout and retrieved ahead of the fish. This fly has had some bad press in the past as apparently some anglers just cast it out and leave it there as they might a baited hook. Personally, I haven’t seen this but that is very much the method used to fish Glo Bugs which can also be tied with the addition of a polystyrene ball.
The Booby Trout Fishing Fly can be made to swim and bob like a wounded baitfish or bully which makes this fly one of the best for still water fishing.
When trolling or harling it is a good idea to let your lure over the side close to the boat and observe its swimming action as you row or paddle. When learning how best to work the Booby fly watch it closely after casting short and then adjust your retrieve accordingly for the best swimming action. You might be pleasantly surprised at just how effective it is even when retrieved quite slowly. Don’t forget to stop and start your retrieve long enough to give the lure time to sink back down.
A black version makes an excellent night fly for fishing at river and stream mouths. Again give it plenty of time to sink down. Adjust the length of your leader depending on water depth.
The most popular colours for the Booby Fly are black, olive green and brown. This fly is essentially a Woolly Buggar with added floatation. Polystyrene balls aren’t very resilient. The trout’s teeth tend to cut the pantyhose releasing the polystyrene. Booby flies are very easy to tie so that isn’t much of a problem. You can get around this by using closed cell foam instead of polystyrene. Cut a tube of the foam and lay it across the hook. The pantyhose cage then being unnecessary.
For each eye, wrap one polystyrene ball (the type you get in bean bags) in small 25mm squares cut from pantyhose. Tie each of these in just behind head and wrap figure eight fashion. You will find this fly easier to tie if you start by under binding the hook and then tying on the eyes. Then proceed to the marabou tail and continue from there as you would a Woolly Buggar.
Here is a newer updated article on the boobie fly using modern materials.