Rolled Muddler

Published Apr 21st 2012

I met the Rolled Muddler in BC while fishing for Pacific salmon


Rolled Muddler

The Rolled Muddler is originally from British Columbia and a fly that was designed by Tom Murray and is sometimes referred to as Murray's Rolled Muddler. The fly was originally meant for fishing for cutthroats along saltwater beaches and in the estuaries. In other words a BC coastal fly!

In BC it's also popular for stream and river fishing for Pacific salmon, mainly coho, and I met it (and fished it) for the first time back in 2004 and have personally caught a couple of species of Canadian salmon on this pattern. I met it first when fishing with BC guide Erik Skaaning, who handed me this pattern when we were fishing for coho in a quiet backwater to the Harrison, a short but beautiful tributary to the Fraser. We had a very fun afternoon with medium size coho that were slowly milling around in this clear and almost still part of the river. Amongst the successful flies was the Rolled Muddler.
During my latest trip to BC and the Vancouver area, I also fished the Rolled Muddler for coho, and although it did catch more pinks than cohos, it certainly worked.

A BC fly

My usual fat style

There are several variations of this fly to be found. The one major variation is whether or not the fly is tied with a bead. Another variation is of course the color, which varies a lot. The fly can be found in natural colors as well as dull blue and olive and even in bright yellow, chartreuse or orange. Some are also tied so fat and bulky that they remind me more of a standard Muddler Minnow. The Rolled Muddler should be tied as a slim and lightly dressed fly. That seems to be the general conception, and the one I adhere to.
I have fished and will tie the natural one with a bead. That's what I have had success with, and what I prefer.
As you can see on the image to the right, I usually tie my muddlers quite fat. Not so the Rolled Muddler! The Rolled Muddler is a slender fly with a fairly skinny wing and a small and streamlined head. My muddlers also float or fish in the surface. The Rolled Muddler sinks and jigs on the retrieve.

Given my well documented muddler mania, I'd love to add yet another muddler to my box, and this one has everything I like: very fish-like, simple and it even has a bead for weight - love at first sight. It's time to introduce the Rolled Muddler to the Danish seatrout.
This one has everything I like: very fish-like, simple and it even has a bead for weight - love at first sight



Of course I had to do a FMJRM - Full Metal Jacket Rolled Muddler - using a brass cone in stead of a round bead, and using the technique I used for the first time 15-20 years ago when I began to tie the FMJNM - Full Metal Jacket Nutria Muddler. I won't say in any way that I developed this technique, but when I did it back then, I hadn't seen anybody else do it before.

These days there are plenty cone headed muddlers in almost any fly catalog, and just looking on this site, you will find the 8 year old article on the Zuddler, an excellent steelhead pattern developed by by Joe Emery and John Rode.

The Rolled Muddler lends itself very well to the cone head style, and I will most likely tie most of my RM's as FMJRM's. I use Bidoz 3.5 or 4mm brass cones for these flies - perfect in size and weight for the smaller hooks.

Tying instructions
1 - bead - Slip the bead over the hook and mount the hook in the vice
1 - bead
2 - thread base - I like to make a thread base for the bead to fit tightly
2 - thread base
3 - super glue - Whip finish and cut thread and add a drop of super glue on the thread wraps
3 - super glue
4 - position bead - Push the bead forward over the thread and glue
4 - position bead
5 - start the thread - Start the thread again behind the bead
5 - start the thread
6 - mallard feather - Select a long fibered and symmetrical mallard feather. This will make both tail and wing
6 - mallard feather
7 - prepare feather - Stroke the barbs out perpendicular to the stem and cut them loose, keeping the tips even
7 - prepare feather
9 - measure tail length - You need the tail material to start right behind the bead to get a smooth body. I like a fairly long tail.
9 - measure tail length
9 - tie in tail - Tie the tail in right behind the bead
9 - tie in tail
10 - cover tail butts - Cover the tail butts with touching turns of tying thread
10 - cover tail butts
11 - return thread - Wrap the thread back up to right behind the bead. The more even the thread, the more smooth the body
11 - return thread
12 - tie in flash - Tie in 4-6 straws of flash behind the bead
12 - tie in flash
13 - wrap the body - Take the flash to the rear of the hook and back in touching turns, keeping it flat all the time
13 - wrap the body
14 - varnish - Tie down the flash, cut surplus and varnish over the wraps for a durable body
14 - varnish
15 - let dry - Let the varnish dry completely before continuing
15 - let dry
16 - prepare wing - Clip the rest of the long barbs off the mallard feather and combine with the tip
16 - prepare wing
17 - tie in wing - Tie the wing in on top of the hook close to the bead. Leave a little space for the muddler head
17 - tie in wing
18 - trim surplus - Cut off stem and butts and cover the wing base with an even layer of thread
18 - trim surplus
19 - select deer hair - Pick some spinning deer hair to match the size of the fly. This has a lot of underfur, which has to be removed
19 - select deer hair
20 - cut a bunch - Don\\\'t make the deer hair wing too thick
20 - cut a bunch
21 - wrap - Take a couple of wraps over the hair and tighten while keeping it on top of the hook
21 - wrap
22 - wing set - Take a couple of wraps through the flared hair and wrap the thread onto the shank in front of the wing and head
22 - wing set
23 - room for more - If there\\\'s room for more deer hair, make space by pulling back on the flared butts
23 - room for more
24 - extra hair - Add extra hair if there\\\'s space
24 - extra hair
25 - flare - Take a couple of wraps and tighten to flare the hair
25 - flare
26 - bottoms up - Turn the fly over. It will probably need an extra tuft of hair there
26 - bottoms up
27 - prepare hair - Prepare yet a small bunch of hair. Small...
27 - prepare hair
28 - bottom done - Wrap over the flared hair
28 - bottom done
29 - whip finish - Take the thread to the front of the head, whip finish and cut
29 - whip finish
30 - start trimming - Trim the underside first, and keep cutting the head closer and closer
30 - start trimming
31 - trim wing - Trim the wing as well as on the underside of the fly
31 - trim wing
32 - final trim - You want to wind up with a fairly skinny head and thin wing
32 - final trim


Rolled Muddler
TypeWet fly
Tom Murray
Target species
Brook trout
Brown trout
Pacific salmon (sea run)
Rainbow trout (landlocked)
Sea trout (sea run)

HookLong shank straight eye streamer, size 4-6 (like Kamasan B820)
BeadBrass, to fit hook (3-4 mm)
ThreadTan 8/0
TailTeal or mallard
BodyFlat gold tinsel, 4 straws of gold flash or gold braid
WingTeal or mallard
Collar and headNatural deer hair

Seatrout flies for 2012
These are the patterns that I will introduce in my boxes for the 2012 season

User comments
From: Iain · Iwmuir·at·  Link
Submitted March 15th 2013

If I only had one fly to use it would be the rolled muddler. I have caught everything from cutthroat to steelhead to snook and jack crevalle in salt water in Florida.
It is the most fun fly I have ever used

From: Oloff - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted December 12th 2012

Nothing beats the FMJ Rolled Muddler when targeting aggressive bows and bulls. I find when targeting these fish, adding some white bucktail and some crystal flash before the mallard wing makes the fly more enticing. However for salmon what the author said is especially true; you want the fly to be very sparse.

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted April 22nd 2012


Sorry about omitting the materials... a slip. I added the proper code now, and viola!


From: Ed Null · e.null·at·  Link
Submitted April 21st 2012

Very nice! A marabou muddler is my go-to for smallmouth, so I will tie up a few of these for low or very clear water. Thanks, Martin. Good series.

From: jan - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted April 21st 2012


nice fly and nice description, thanks! I am only missing the two frames as usual, one about the fly and one about the material. I like these frames a lot......or did I oversee them....?


Comment to an image
From: JohnTemplar - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted April 21st 2012

Nice! But what's the recipe?

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