Published Jun 16. 2011 - 13 years ago
Updated or edited Nov 17. 2015

Ken's Cuteling

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. Learn to tie it here using easily available materials - 

Ken at the vice - The originator (and very stable GFF fly contributor) Ken Bonde Larsen
A cute fly - the Cuteling - Brushed dubbing, black eyes and a very fishy shape
Slippery when wet - Once the fly is wet it becomes even more fishy, and in the water it's very translucent, letting the eyes and the bright rear body shine through the dubbing
Martin Joergensen - Ken Bonde Larsen

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 - One of Ken's fly boxes. Mostly Charlies, Mini Pigs and Omoe Brushes. But look under his thumb... yes, a couple of elusive Cutelings
Ken's box gff
Henning Eskol
Ken's Cuteling
Pattern type: 
Cold saltwater fly
Ken Bonde Larsen
Straight eye streamer size 6-4-2 (like the Daiichi 1750 or Tiemco 911S)
A few wraps of lead substitute
Tying thread
8/0 to suit body color
Black plastic eyes or bead chain
Arctic fox or similar plus a bit of flash
Rear body
Holographic tinsel
Front body
STF fibers spun in a dubbing loop
Body material combed back over the eyes
Skill level/difficulty: 


Step 1 - weight

Step 2 - secure

Step 3 - start thread

Step 4 - eyes

Step 5 - cover shank

Step 6 - tail

Step 7 - tail done

Step 8 - flash

Step 9 - body tinsel

Step 10 - varnish

Step 11 - wrap the body

Step 12 - secure tinsel

Step 13 - dubbing loop

Step 14 - thread forward

Step 15 - a final layer

Step 16 - dubbing

Step 17 - position dubbing

Step 18 - ready to twist

Step 19 - twist

Step 20 - wrap dubbing

Step 21 - under the eyes

Step 22 - comb

Step 23 - continue forwards

Step 24 - messy body

Step 25 - after brushing

Step 26 - whip finish and varnish

Step 27 - all done!

Sculpin water - When the sun starts shining on water like this, the bottom will be littered with small, tan sculpins - perfect territory for sea trout... and the Cuteling
Sculpin land
Ken Bonde Larsen


Great pattern Pla...

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

This pattern is Grea...

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.

Martin Joergensen's picture

The material is STF...


The material is actually STF fibers (Synthetic Translucent Fiber) and not Angel 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!


Is this really angle...

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

Look like a killer f...

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


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