Ken's Cuteling

Published Jul 5th 2011

A small, soft baitfish imitation that will do a very good job standing in for a sculpin, but can be adapted to look like almost any small fish.

By ,


The Cuteling is called as it is because it's cute!
And because it's a very good imitation of a sculpin, which is called a kutling in Danish.

Now, cute doesn't cut it when it comes to imitating baitfish and catching more fish, but this fly is more than cute. It's actually also very identical to the natural.
It's a simple fly to tie, uses easily accessible materials and can be varied endlessly to look like any small fish. The tan color is a natural choice for the sculpin lookalike, but choose a combination of gray and silver to get a small pelagic fish, olive or black to get close to a darker type of fish, and white to get... well, a white fish. Rare in real life for sure, but white flies seem to work well, so a white variation may be worth having in the box.
You can of course simply make the tail one color and the body another. You can also mic dubbing of dark and bright colors in the loop to get a veriegated look.
If you want to be really artistic, your can break out your waterproof markers and start designing all kinds of color variations.

As is the case with many of Ken's other patterns, the Velcro stick is an important tool when tying the Cuteling. When you dub traditionally or use a dubbing loop like on this pattern, the result can typically become very fluffy or very tight. Some tyers can get a perfect body just dubbing, but the rest of us will have to use the Velcro to brush things in shape.
By combing the materials with Velcro while tying and after the fly is done, you get a more uniform shape and a smoother and more translucent look. And don't restrain yourself! You can be rather tough on the fly with the brush. As long as the dubbing has been applied firmly enough, the amount of material that you comb out of the fly is limited.

Ken's box

Ken's Cuteling
TypeCold saltwater fly
Ken Bonde Larsen
Year of origin
Target species
Brown trout
Sea trout (sea run)

Hook Straight eye streamer size 6-4-2 (like the Daiichi 1750 or Tiemco 911S)
WeightA few wraps of lead substitute
Tying thread8/0 to suit body color
EyesBlack plastic eyes or bead chain
TailArctic fox or similar plus a bit of flash
Rear bodyHolographic tinsel
Front body STF fibers spun in a dubbing loop
HeadBody material combed back over the eyes

Step 1 - weight - Add a bit of heavy wire on the front third of the hook shank
Step 1 - weight
Step 2 - secure - Give the weight a bit of nail polish to secure it. Nail polish is nice here because it has a smoothing effect and dries fast
Step 2 - secure
Step 3 - start thread - Start the thread in front of the weight
Step 3 - start thread
Step 4 - eyes - Tie in the eyes in front of the weight on top of the hook shank. If you use heavier eyes you might want to tie them in under the shank to avoid the hook turning in the water
Step 4 - eyes
Step 5 - cover shank - Continue the thread to the rear of the hook
Step 5 - cover shank
Step 6 - tail - Prepare a small bunch of Arctic fox hair. Remove the smooth guard hairs
Step 6 - tail
Step 7 - tail done - Tie the tail as long as the shank. Cover the butts and trim the surplus. Prepare a bit of flash
Step 7 - tail done
Step 8 - flash - Tie in the flash. A couple of straws on each side of the tail
Step 8 - flash
Step 9 - body tinsel - Tie in a piece of flat, holographic tinsel right over the end of the body
Step 9 - body tinsel
Step 10 - varnish - Use some nail polish to \
Step 10 - varnish
Step 11 - wrap the body - Wrap the tinsel forwards, covering half the hook shank. You can stop at a single layer or go back and forward again to get e thicker body. Use a bit of nail polish between the layers to get them to stick
Step 11 - wrap the body
Step 12 - secure tinsel - One the rear body is done, you can tie down the tinsel and trim the surplus
Step 12 - secure tinsel
Step 13 - dubbing loop - Form a large dubbing loop with the tying thread
Step 13 - dubbing loop
Step 14 - thread forward - Wrap the thread out of the way to the front of the fly
Step 14 - thread forward
Step 15 - a final layer - If you want a really durable fly, give the body a final layer of nail polish
Step 15 - a final layer
Step 16 - dubbing - Prepare the dubbing for the loop. Make a flat and thin sheet that\'s about 10 centimeters or 4 inches long
Step 16 - dubbing
Step 17 - position dubbing - Slide the dubbing in the loop as close to the hook as possible
Step 17 - position dubbing
Step 18 - ready to twist - Notice how most of the fibers are perpendicular to the thread and almost equal in length
Step 18 - ready to twist
Step 19 - twist - Twist the dubbing to a fairly tight rope.
Step 19 - twist
Step 20 - wrap dubbing - Start wrapping the dubbing rope forward in tight turns. Pull the loose fibers back while doing so
Step 20 - wrap dubbing
Step 21 - under the eyes - Take the rope under the eyes to the front of the hook. Notice how the loose fibers point to the rear
Step 21 - under the eyes
Step 22 - comb - Comb all loose fibers back with a Velcro stick
Step 22 - comb
Step 23 - continue forwards - Take some wraps in front of the eyes. Ideally you \
Step 23 - continue forwards
Step 24 - messy body - Once the dubbing is done, it\'s pretty messy, but don\'t worry, we\'ll fix that shortly
Step 24 - messy body
Step 25 - after brushing - Brush the dubbing back with a Velcro stick and you get this result
Step 25 - after brushing
Step 26 - whip finish and varnish - Finish the fly by locking the thread with a bit of varnish
Step 26 - whip finish and varnish
Step 27 - all done! - The fly is finished and ready to fish. You can use waterproof markers on the white fly to give it some accent, but the pure white will work just fine
Step 27 - all done!

Sculpin land

User comments
From: Paul Smart · paulhsmart·at·  Link
Submitted August 24th 2011

Great pattern

Plan to use it for Sea Bass and hopefully Sea Trout here in UK. Havn't been able to find STF here any advise on an alternative or a UK source for STF

From: Kelvin Kleinman · pugetsoundflatwing·at·  Link
Submitted July 18th 2011

This pattern is Great! I tied up a few and took them out tonight on the incoming tide and caught several nice Coho Salmon on Puget Sound.
I used Angel Hair as listed in the original recipe, I just cut it to fit the dubbing loop.
I have a pattern I use for Chum salmon in the fall, only I find the addition of the tail gives it a more fishy look in the water.
Thank you ! I will be twisting up some more of these to have in my box can't wait to try them in the local rivers for sculpin eating trout.

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted July 14th 2011


The material is actually STF fibers (Synthetic Transluscent Fiber) and not Angle Hair as I had first written. Ken Bonde tells me that SLF will also cut it, and Angel Hair might also. But Ken's own flies are made from STF

Sorry about the confusion!


From: Daniel K · dankobie·at·  Link
Submitted July 13th 2011

Is this really angle hair did he twist in the loop for the head?

From: Richard · duikerr·at·  Link
Submitted July 9th 2011

Look like a killer for perch and also zander down here in Holland, thanks for the share !!

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