Published Jun 2. 2006 - 14 years ago
Updated or edited Oct 27. 2019

Cheap Lazy Bastard

Named the Cheap Lazy Bastard because the originator, Joe Kissane, uses cheap materials whenever possible, takes shortcuts (because he's lazy) and the fly is a bastard – the original pattern mated illicitly with the body of any number of famous nymphs.

I came up with the pattern as a lazy and cheap way of tying a variation of the bead head sparkle caddis emerger. I named it the Cheap Lazy Bastard because I use cheap materials whenever possible, take shortcuts (because I'm lazy) and the fly is a bastard – the original pattern mated illicitly with the body of any number of famous nymphs (zug-bug, pheasant tail or even hare's ear) – Gary LaFontaine might have liked to think of it in those terms, I don't know. I dislike the abusive application of acronyms and alphabet soup in our language, so I prefer calling it the Cheap Lazy Bastard to the CLB, with the understanding that it is ok, if not desirable to use slightly profane names for flies like the Bitch Creek (named for a real creek near Ashton, ID) and the Green Peter (named for an Irishman named Peter Green – not the founding member of Fleetwood Mac, nor for the color of a particular part of the inventor's anatomy after he expressed his preference for fly fishing over domestic responsibilities.) It is not elegant, beautiful or dainty, but it works.

Cheap Lazy Bastard


I tie several variations. Of the most use, one is brown the other green. The cheap part is the use of craft-shop fake plastic pearl beads in the smallest of sizes for #14-#16 flies. They go for about $1.99 for over 100 of them, as opposed to $5 or so for 25 of the Orvis variety, hence the "cheap" aspect. For the body I use peacock herl or green Antron yarn for the green variety and pheasant tail, natural wild turkey biots, brown ostrich herl or a hare's ear colored yarn body for the brown variety - as a lazy man's alternative to dubbing I'll always use yarn or herl. I use a fine silver wire rib, or recently have been taken with a product called "Sulky Holoshimmer" an accent thread that I found at a sewing shop for $3 for a spool of 250 yards – and it comes in a wide variety of metallic colors. I wrap the ribbing counter to the body to add durability and keep it from getting buried in the body material wraps. I use Antron yarn, sparsely lapped (light olive or bright green for the green variety and tan for the brown/pheasant tail variety) as the overbody - loose, sparse sheath with some fibers trailing as a shuck. I use a few strands of dyed (imitation) wood duck on either side of the fly as "wings" or hackles or legs. If I want it greener, a felt tip is used to color the feathers, but I'm not sold on whether that makes any difference. That's it.

Oliver Edwards recently made a convincing case for the prominence of the middle set of legs on such patterns, so I am experimenting with small diameter rubber legs at about the thorax (see Miscellanea Emerger).

Fishing the fly

The fly is fished either by itself or below an elk hair caddis or similar high-floater. I will chastise anyone I see using it with a bobber ("strike indicator"), and may the fish take their yarn indicators over their flies forever (I say that now, but in 3 years when I can't even see my line, I'll sing a different tune.) I have caught more than half the fish that have succumbed to this pattern as it rises in the water column in the old Leisenring Lift technique or my poor imitation of it. On a particularly calm day in a clear Ozark stream I watched several times as it appeared trout would mouth the fly, and it looked like they may have actually caught their teeth on the Antron sheath, so they couldn't spit it out before they were hooked in earnest. This may be an over-analysis of things, but I wouldn't be surprised if this phenomenon didn't add to the effectiveness of flies with fibrous sheaths. When I mentioned this to Stan Bradshaw (an old friend of LaFontaine's), we discussed the possible "ethical conundrums" but I think it's one thing to snag a trout, it's quite another to prevent him from rejecting the goods once they've been in his mouth. I didn't get into the bobber versus top fly thing and don't know where Stan votes on that, but I won't debate the ethics of someone who uses Antron sheaths on flies to add to hooking ability with someone who uses bobbers, anyway (I probably would, in fact. I like a good debate.) And if it's the sheath that actually catches the trout and not the fish, then, as I told Stan, the fly is far overdressed, or the stuff is more magical than Gary ever dreamt.

Not a stickler

I'm not a stickler on hooks or recipes that say you have to use no more than 4 wraps of this and 3 wraps of that. Below is kind of a recipe if someone feels they have to have one.

Kissane's Cheap Lazy Bastard
Pattern type: 
Joe Kissane
I use Dai Riki #300 - A little more expensive - but spend it wear it matters. Cheap hooks lose fish or never even give you a chance.
Whatever you're comfortable with. I use white 8/0 and color it with Sharpies to my liking.
Tail and sheath
Antron yarn sparsely. Pale olive, tan or apple green - occasionally pale yellow.
Antron yarn, Hare's ear yarn blend ostrich herl, peacock herl, brown wild turkey biots or pheasant tail. I like the iridescence of peacock and the bronze effect some turkey has.
Fine silver, gold or mylar/holoshimmer thread wrapped counter to the other body materials.
Preferably cheap dyed 'lemon' wood duck imitation, sparsely tied on either side of the body. Might consider using 2 very thin brown or black rubber legs about 1/5 times the length of the hook shank tied midway in the thorax.
Bead head
Small plastic pearl bead - craft shop variety, unlessyou're your fly tying supplier has started carrying them - then pay up to get the ones individually autographed by the author in invisible ink. You may have to build up the hook with thread and us


Hi Joe, I guess I'm ...

Hi Joe, I guess I'm another clb.
I got some white rubber for legs when I took apart the waistband of my expired underpants. Can be warm,dyed, and variegated by twisting in the vice and marking the ribbing effect with permanent marker. Original girdle bug came about the same way, before my time.
Also nylon plastic canvas chord, a tubing about 3mms, comes in a wide variety of colours silver and gold being an obvious choice. Realy tough and perfect for mickey finns, cost here(Canada) about $1.50 for 10 yards.
Foam,3mm, costs about $1.15 for quite a large sheet, in various colours.
Mainly from the craft section in Wal Mart and it certainly pays to browse in any craft type store.
Best regards, Peter.


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