Published Jul 16. 2014 - 9 years ago
Updated or edited Mar 15. 2019

Braid a worm

Sometimes a fly-tyer thinks out of the box, and suddenly the complex and difficult becomes very simple - like tying a great clam worm fly.

The loooong worm - You can vary the length of the worm by braiding longer or shorter ropes.
Consistency - The uniform length of the different versions is obtained by counting the number of braids.
The (braided) worm hatch
Soren Skarby

Clam worms are also known as ragworms or the free swimming polychaetes. Their swarming can give anybody who fishes the salt wet dreams. "Hatching" in great numbers, suddenly very visible in the water and drawing all focus from the fish - be it Baltic sea trout or Caribbean tarpon.
If you are there, in the right place and at the right time, you can find fish blindly focused on worms, their bellies so full that they are about to burst. And that's when you want a good worm imitation in your fly-box.

The problem

with the clam worms is that they are both long and very mobile and not easy to imitate, neither in shape nor in movement.
I have tried most patterns, sat through agonizing tying sessions with complex methods trying many techniques, sneezing from marabou and rabbit in the nose and having to vacuum like crazy after my usually unsuccessful attempts to produce a useful fly.


Danish fly-tyer Hans Aarre Pedersen from the shop Equator Sports in Odense on Fyn sat down and invented a novel way to tie these long worms. He found the solution in the neck of little girls with long hair.

He doesn't tie

a worm, he braids it. It's simple, easy and the result is a very lifelike, mobile and durable fly.
When you are sitting at the vise tying this pattern, try varying the color and don't just tie it in the traditional brown colors. How about a pink version for winter fishing or a fluorescent white version for the night? There are many possibilities, and you can tie them without it costing you a fortune in materials since this pattern basically only uses one material: Cactus Chenille, available in as many colors as you can imagine.
You can vary the fly further by putting a Sonic Disc just behind the bead or a Petitjean Magic Head in front of it. It will get the worm to dive and wiggle even more.

Purple - The purple version of the braided worm, good for imitating many of the blueish Baltic clam worms
Brown - The brown version of the braided worm
Pink - The pink version of the braided worm for imitating red worms and cold water fishing
White - The white version of the braided worm, suitable for night fishing. Notice the Sonic Disc which adds further movement
Color variations
Soren Skarby
Step 1 - rear hook

Step 2 - tail

Step 3 - chenille

Step 4 - wrap

Step 5 - connecting line

Step 6 - braid

Step 7 - clamp

Step 8 - front hook

Step 9 - tie in braid

Step 10 - cover front hook

Step 11 - finish

Braided Clam Worm
Pattern type: 
Warm saltwater fly
Hans Aarre Pedersen
Rear hook
Owner 50188 size 6
Fluo orange 6/0
Two red hackle feathers
Brown 15 mm Cactus Chenille
Connecting wire
Soft braided spin fishing line
Front hook
Gamakatsu F314 size 6
4 mm black or brass
Skill level/difficulty: 
  1. Cover the rear hook shank with tying thread
  2. Tie in the feathers for the tail "back to back."
  3. Tie in the Cactus Chenille
  4. Wrap the chenille forward to the hook eye and tie it down, but don't cut it off. Finish the first part of the fly.
  5. Thread the connecting line through the hook eye so that it is double.
  6. Braid the Cactus Chenille and the two pieces of line together. Count the number of braids if you want your flies to have the same length.
  7. Grab the braided part with a set of hackle pliers to keep it from unraveling and remove the rear hook from the vise.
  8. Slip the bead over the front hook, put the hook in the vise and cover it with tying thread to the bend.
  9. Tie the braided rope thoroughly onto the front hook, wrapping to the rear and forwards again.
  10. Cover the hook shank with chenille.
  11. Finish the fly with a whip finish. Trim off the remaining materials and lock with a drop of varnish.

When a big fish

slams its dentures into the worm, you can send Hans a kind thought for having made the difficult so easy.

Ready for some worm action - A selection of braided worms.
Clam worms
Soren Skarby

More worm patterns

Video showing the tying method. With Danish speak, but you can easily follow the tying in the video.


Tom Biesot's picture

Very nice tutorial, ...

Very nice tutorial, finally an easy way of tying a worm pattern!!



Tom Biesot


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