7 of the best boobies you'll ever see

What fly angler doesn't love boobies? We check out seven of the best booby fly patterns to tie which will make blanking a distant mammary.

7 of the best boobies you'll ever see
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
7 of the best boobies you'll ever see
Picture copyright © Fly and Lure
7 of the best boobies you'll ever see
Estimated reading time 6 - 10 minutes

What is a booby?

The booby is a trout fly which has two very large round eyes made from buoyant foam. They're large and rotund, so I guess you can use your imagination to figure out how they got their name.

Where are boobies used?

Boobies are a stillwater trout fly predominantly used on large waters such as lakes and reservoirs. Along with the blob, the booby is one of the most commonly used trout flies with competition fly anglers.

Boobies are a killer fly on the bigger lakes and reservoirs of the UK.

What makes boobies such effective flies?

Firstly, they're buoyant, which means you can use them to suspend your flies at the surface if you're fishing a floating line, or you can suspend them at a specific point above the bottom if you're fishing them on a sinking line.

Secondly, the shape of the eyes means they move a lot of water and wiggle enticingly when pulled. The vibrations they give off attract trout, which can feel the tiny movements via their lateral line sensory system, which can make them very effective to fish.

Where on my leader should I use a booby?

Boobies are invariably fished as the point fly, whether you're fishing them on a floating line, intermediate or full sinking line. Fish them anywhere else and they're likely to tangle. For that reason, you'd never normally use one at a time.

Big reservoirs, like Brenig, are great booby territory.

How do you fish boobies on a sinking line?

If you fish a weighted fly on a floating line, it rises up when you pull. The obvious difference in fishing a buoyant fly, like a booby, on a sunken line is that when you pull the line on the retrieve, the fly heads downwards and then bobs back up. This is really enticing to fish.

Clearly, the length of your leader is going to be important. If your sinking line is submerged below the flies somewhere near the lake bed, the booby is going to be floating above it.

As it's being pulled forwards and down by the retrieve, it won't be sitting vertical and will probably be around 45°, so if your leader is six feet long, then the fly will be a couple of feet lower than this.

Boobies can be fished on lines of all types.

Why do some fisheries ban boobies?

Some fisheries have banned boobies because some anglers have historically chosen to fish them static on a sinking line. Here, the booby is generally fished on a short leader and cast out on a sinking line which is then allowed to sink fully. The booby suspends in midwater above the sinking line and moves around naturally in the current, where the trout often pick it off.

The problem is, the angler can't detect a bite easily (or at all) by which time the trout has swallowed the fly and ends up deeply hooked, which isn't great for fish welfare, whether it's being taken for the table or not. As a result, some fisheries have taken the drastic measure of banning them entirely, even when not fished static.

Why do boobies cause my leader to get tangled?

Boobies can cause some tangling and twisting of the leader. They're very air resistant so aren't always that easy to cast and this can sometimes cause them to twist around the leader.

They can also spin when retrieved quickly. This is said to be particularly bad when you're using boobies which have had their eyes (or should that be breasts?) left flat, instead of being rounded off neatly to create little spheres.

Boobies are great when fished from a boat over deep water.

7 great booby fly patterns

The booby is one of those versatile patterns where you can effectively go freestyle. Since a booby is technically any fly to which a pair of booby eyes have been attached, you can create booby versiosn of any popular trout flies, from nymphs and crunchers to cats whiskers.

1. Traffic Light Cormorant Booby fly

Matthew Pate / YouTube.

Hook: Sproat wet size 10
Eyes: Black booby cord
Wing: Black marabou
Hackle: Silver badger cock hackle
Body: Mirage opal tinsel and red holgraphic tinsel
Thread: Black thread

2. Mini Candy Cat Booby fly

Davie McPhail / YouTube.

Hook: Kamasan B175 size 12
Eyes: Pink booby cord
Tail: Candy pink marabou
Wing: Candy pink marabou
Rib: Fine silver wire
Body: Mirage opal tinsel
Throat: Spirit River hanked lite brite cotton candy
Thread: Uni 8/0 fire orange

3. Candy Floss Booby fly

Dave Downie / YouTube.

Hook: Kamasan B175 size 10
Eyes: Yellow booby cord
Tail: Candy coral and springwater blue marabou
Wing: Candy coral and springwater blue marabou
Rib: Fine silver wire
Body: Mirage opal tinsel
Thread: UTC 70 in chartreuse

4. Black and Green Booby fly

Steve Cullen / YouTube.

Hook: Kamasan B175 size 10
Eyes: Black booby cord 6mm
Tail: Black marabou
Wing: Black marabou
Body: Chartreuse chenille
Thread: Uni 6/0 in black

5. Cormorant Booby fly

Hywel Morgan / YouTube.

Hook: Kamasan B175 size 10
Eyes: Black ethafoam booby cord
Tail: Black marabou
Wing: Black marabou
Body: Peacock herl
Thread: Black thread

6. Cats Whisker Swimmer Booby fly

Hywel Morgan / YouTube.

Hook: Xxx
Eyes: Yellow mini booby cord
Wing: White marabou
Body: Chartreuse thread
Butt: Red holographic tinsel
Thread: UTC chartreuse thread

7. Zonker Booby fly

Andy Saunders / YouTube.

Hook: Dohiku 302 size 8
Eyes: White booby cord
Tail: Hot orange 240 denier floss
Strip: White rabbit zonker strip
Body: Holographic dubbing
Thread: White thread

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