Chilli Pepper Flies

Something with chilli, and Chile and... chilly...?

By Martin Joergensen

Yes, this is a chilliSo you thought that chilli pepper was a small, strong, spicey fruit? Well, it is... but it's also a seemingly popular name for fishing flies. In the past I have come over no less than three patterns with the name Chilli Pepper. And I'm sure that there are more out there.

The first Chilli Pepper I ever saw was actually called Chile Pepper and was tied By the US tyer Phil Strobel while he was visiting The Bananaflies here in Denmark. He was inspired to tie this fly by seeing the Omoe Brush. The fly was originated by Marcos Vergeras, formerly of Fly&Field. The Chile Pepper was originated by both he and Bill Hurrell while on an excursion to Tierra del Fuego. It uses Golden Pheasant feathers solely. It's very simple to tie, utilizing the New Zealand Mrs. Simpson style of applying the feathers on the side of the hook shank. Phil tied a sample fly that evening, and I kept it as a memory and thought no more of it.

Spezio's ChilliBut a couple of years later there was a second Chilli Pepper mentioned on the FF@ fly fishing mailing list. This fly was introduced by Tony Spezio, whose friend Bob Root was the originator. I was lucky enough to exchange some flies with Tony, and a couple of Chilli Peppers were included in Tony's bunch.

The last Chilli Pepper that I know was brought about - also on FF@ - by Aaron Adams of The Virgin Islands. This Chilli Pepper is a salt water pattern and a variation of the well known Crazy Charlie. It's not Aaron's own pattern, but none of us know the origin. Hence it's dubbed Aaron Adam's Chilli Pepper

Phil Strobel's Chile Pepper
Hook Tiemco TMC 200 #2 Strobel's Chile Pepper
Phil Strobel's Chile Pepper

Thread Red or black
Body Rows of yellow G.P. body feathers
Cheeks Red G.P. body feather
Head Red or black

  1. Tie in a yellow G.P. body feather as a tail approx. three quarters shank length
  2. Advance the thread forwards one third of the shank length
  3. Tie a pair of yellow G.P. body feathers vertically on each side of the shank - 'Mrs. Simpson style'
  4. Advance the thread one more third
  5. Tie in one more pair of yellow feathers vertically
  6. Wind the thread to one eye width behind the hook eye
  7. Tie in one more pair of red G.P. body feathers as cheeks reaching almost to the hook bend
  8. Form a nice, small head from the tying thread
  9. Whip finish and varnish

Says Phil Strobel:
- I learned my version of the Chili (actually Chile) Pepper from one of the originators Marcos Vergara.
Phil tells that Marcos was born in Chile and runs a fishing camp there. Marcos has had success using the Chile Pepper for the huge sea run brown trout that frequent the rivers of Chile. Phil concludes:
- I have found it to be a useful pattern for stream resident brown trout here in the states.

Bob Root's Chilli Pepper
Root's Chilli
Bob Root's own Chilli Pepper

Spezio's Chilli
Tony Spezio's version of
Bob Root's Chilli Pepper

Hook Mustad 9672 or 79580 #6-14
Weight 20 wraps lead wire
Thread Fluo orange
Tail Burnt orange marabou
Hackle Dark ginger or furnace saddle hackle
Body Bronze or Copper Mylar Chenille. Bob has a special mix of chenille that he has Danville make up for him. It has pearlesent mixed with the copper.
Head Fluo orange or gold 5 mm bead with small painted eyes.
  1. Add optional weight in the form of lead wire or a gold bead
  2. Tie in a tail on top of the hook shank. Length approx. half shank length. The butt ends of the marabou can cover the whole hook shank to form a thicker body
  3. Tie in hackle pointing upwards, tip first, shiny side in
  4. Tie in the chenille, agin covering the shank for a thicker body
  5. Advance the tying thread to one eye width behind hook eye or right behind bead head
  6. Follow with close wraps of the chenille
  7. Tie down and cut surplus
  8. Wrap the hackle in the opposite direction of the chenille. Make shure the fibers lie nicely and point backwards
  9. Tie down and cut surplus
  10. Form a head from the tying thread
  11. Whip finish and varnish or
  12. Whip finish just behind the bead and varnish
  13. Paint eyes on the bead head

Aaron Adam's Chilli Pepper
Hook Mustad 34007 #2 Adam's Chilli
Original version of the Chilli Pepper
Thread Red flatwaxed nylon
Body Gold mylar wrapped around hook shank from eye to bend Clear mono wrapped over mylar
Wing Fine apricot/orange bucktail or calftail
Head Color of thread

  1. Tie in the thread one eye width behind the hook eye
  2. Tie in the monofile under the hook shank
  3. Cover shank and monifile with a smooth layer of thread to the hook bend
  4. Wrap the thread back to just behind the hook eye forming a smooth base for the tinsel
  5. Tie in gold tinsel
  6. Wrap the tinsel to the hook bend and back to form a smooth layer of gold
  7. Tie down and cut surplus
  8. Cover the tinsel body with touching wraps of monofile.
  9. Tie down and cut surplus
  10. Turn the hook upside down
  11. Tie in a bunch of hair as a false hackle/wing. Tips should touch and slightly cover the hook point
  12. Trim the butts
  13. Form a head over the butts
  14. Whip finish and varnish
Aaron's notice: For deeper water I wrap lead wire around the hook shank prior to wrapping the mylar.
Martin's notice: The fly can be tied with almost any type of orange hair. Arctic fox or squirrel will do fine too. Dumbbell eyes can be tied in on top of the shank to add weight and secure an upside-down position in the water.

Salt water Chilli
Chilli Pepper variations.
Left: with silver body and black head. Right: a version with dumbbell eyes for weight.

User comments
From: Houston Foist · foisthouston·at·  Link
Submitted January 31st 2006

Great, great page, I really enjoy the articles and reviews. Love the chilly flies. I will try tying it and use it on catching all sort of NW salt and freshwater species.

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