Published Jan 23. 2010 - 14 years ago
Updated or edited Dec 31. 2022

The Perfect Woolly

Many flies were developed from the Woolly Bugger, German Raoul Kempkes got back to it and created a very simple pattern which is extremely durable and very easy to tie. Only a few materials are needed to tie a great pattern which is highly versatile. The perfect Woolly Bugger!

Different colors - Natural and colorful for different conditions and seasons
All colors - You can tie the Perfect Woolly in any color you please
Ready to roll! - An impressing array of perfectly tied Perfect Woolly's
Perfect Woolly's
Rouven Kempkes

I think sometimes flies are discussed too much. "Use a Polar Magnus in the spring-time and try the Pink Pig for sure. Make sure to tie in the bead chain very straight otherwise the fly is sloping…! Do not forget to add enough weight to the Pink Pig and also try the Grey Frede."
Nearly every sea trout fisherman has his own variations of dozens of patterns in his box. But most of them do not believe in every one of their flies and they try to tune-up older and develop new flies. If you go with this for some time your boxes will be overfilled and you will waste your time in changing flies on your next coastal trip.

I gave up. For me sea trout fishing in the Baltic Sea is some kind of search fishing and the pattern is a minor matter. If you found active fish your chances are very big to catch - never mind the pattern. For me the effect of a fly is most important. And in most cases it is the jigging effect. This is why a lot of Sea trout flies are tied for example with bead chain eyes. A concentrated weight close to the hook eye combined with a loop knot causes a nice jigging effect. For me an essential fact of the most successful coast flies.

Krystal Dub -
Whiting Soft-hackle/Chickabou -
Perfect Woolly materials -
Soft hackle -
Ultra thread -
Rouven Kempkes

If you generalize the style of a Magnus and all the variants (like the Bjarke, the Copper Frede and so on) it is nothing more than a Woolly Bugger with bead chain eyes. As a big range of flies - especially coast flies - were developed from the Woolly Bugger, I got back to it and created a very simple pattern which is extremely durable and very easy to tie. Only a few materials are needed to tie a great universal pattern which is highly recommended. The perfect Woolly Bugger!

Perfect Woolly
Pattern type: 
Wet fly
Raoul Kempkes
VMC PS Streamer Hook: Size #6; for me the best saltwater streamer hook out there!
UTC Ultra Thread 140 Denier: A very good thread! Very tear-proof and there is a whole range of colors available (fits to the colors of Krystal Dub & Soft Hackle with Chickabou).
I use 4 mm tungsten beads in various colors which weight and size fits great for my Woollys! They do not give too much weight but cause a nice jigging.
Tail and body hackle
Whiting Soft Hackle & Chickabou: The Woolly Bugger I tie is definitely living from its materials. The Soft Hackle & Chickabou from Whiting is a quiet rare material but very economic and giving perfect results. The Chickabou replaces the Marabo
I use two strips of pearl colored Krystal Flash for the tail. Less is more!
Krystal Dub: The Krystal Dub is used because it is a very fine natural (rabbit) dubbing with a minimum of shiny fibers. The small amount of fibers gives a nice little glimmer when the fly is brushed with Velcro after tying.
Skill level/difficulty: 

Step 1: the bead

Step 2: tying thread

Step 3: tail

Step 4: flash and hackle

Step 5: body

Step 6: hackle

Step 7: secure with thread

Step 8: brush and trim

The Perfect Woolly. Step 9: done!

Rouven Kempkes

Well done, this is a perfect Woolly!

Color selection - The colors are limited by your imagination and what materials you can get your hands on
On a row - Perfect Woolly's lined up for action
Rouven Kempkes


As all materials - Soft Hackle & Chickabou, Krystal Dub and Ultra Thread are available in different colors - you can easily create a single-colored fly. I personally love to create a color-contrast with colored tungsten beads since this is great looking and can be a key stimulus for fish to bite (especially red or orange). The coloring of the Woolly Bugger should fit to the actual conditions at your water.

I use colorful Woolly's (like pink) in muddy waters and in the winter and natural-colored Woolly's (like grizzly brown) in clear and calm waters. In-between of those conditions a natural-colored fly with a high-contrast tungsten bead is my first choice (particularly a black Woolly Bugger with an orange tungsten bead)!

I also tried luminous tungsten beads on the black Woolly Bugger for the coastal night fishing. This works well for sea trout and cod.


I tied this fly for a sea trout trip to the south Swedish coast in 2008 and I was quite lucky with it. Within my last trips this fly became my very favorite. The most vivid behavior of the fly is produced with a combination of a fluorocarbon leader and a loop knot. This is a very essential piece of advice regarding how the Perfect Woolly should be fished!
Since I started to fish with this fly I have caught sea trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, char, pike perch, perch, asp and roach with it.

Tie and try it. You will be thrilled…!

Warriors - A true sea trout fly - the Perfect Woolly
Rouven Kempkes

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Like David above, I ...

Like David above, I have always had mixed results with the wooly bugger. But this weekend, I tied up a few in black and a couple in brown, but I added a coil of lead under the body, and headed out to the Current River in SE Missouri. After nymphing without any luck, i tied on a huge black and caught a trout on the first cast. I kept throwing it, and they kept taking it. I think I had caught 10 or more before a fish snapped it off. But the spell was broken somehow... Using a different black, and then a brown, I couldn't get any more interest.

I have been cursed b...

I have been cursed by the Woolly Bugger flay for many years. I would try to fish this fly when report and those persons leaving the river were having luck with its use. I was told to fish this like a nymph i.e., drift-fishing under an indicator. I had completely given up using the woolly. A few days ago I was fishing at Roaring River State Park MO and observed a young teen boy just tearing up the trout on almost every cast. After sitting and watching for about fifteen minutes I tied on a brown Woolly, used the same technique and caught fish on my first cast. "Curse broken!" Brown, olive, grey, and pink are my go to flies here on out.

I tie these with buc...

I tie these with bucket heads, great for wet lining on the tongariro

I got these boxes ex...

I got these boxes ex Chine at about NZ $5 a box. Site to follow up is The same boxes are selling here at $99-00 - a rip off.
I have double sided ones with waterproof clear lids. Glue is not good so have redone them with superglue

Martin Joergensen's picture

Amir, If this ver...


If this very simple and clear sequence can't do it, I'm afraid we can't help you... Look on YouTube, Vimeo or ask in your local flyshop for help.


hi I want tie wooll...

I want tie woolly bugger but i can not understand the pictures .
can you help me with this?

Somehow my local fly...

Somehow my local fly shop doesn`t sell this exact box. But i have already found them on a polish and very reliable webshop. Thanks four your help and a great site!

Martin Joergensen's picture

Sietze, That cert...


That certainly depends on where you are in the world... C&F design are widely aqvailable, and if "almost all your boxes are C&F" you must have a source already or...? A lot of shops carry them in alsmost all countries.

Anyhow, as always: Know Google? Leads directly to C&F homepage with a webshop.


Ok thanks do you hav...

Ok thanks do you have any idea where i can find these boxes? the seem impossible to find. The price of a box doesn`t bother me. Amost all my boxes ar c&f rather pay 25 quid then al my hours of work and delicate dressings spred along the river bank.

Martin Joergensen's picture

Sietze, My guess ...


My guess is that the box is a C&F Design box - or a knockoff. Excellent boxes - most of the copies are not anywhere as good as the original, but also way less expensive.


Wich brand and type ...

Wich brand and type of fly boxis it? Do`nt know if i see it right but is this a flat foam box with long slits marked by a small dot cut out? I`m trying to find those boxes quite a while because i find a large streamer hook ruines the regular foam boxes where you stuk them in. And i can`t find a large slit foam box thats suitable either. I`m looking forward to your reply.

Gary, my favourit...


my favourite seller for tungsten products can be contacted at
These beads have got a very good quality for a reasonable price!


Where did you get th...

Where did you get the colored tungsten beads for these flies?

C & F flybox ? its...

C & F flybox ? its looking great filled with one of the best flies of the world...


Thats exactly the sa...

Thats exactly the same fly (except for the hook) that I use for grayling in northern Finland with good success.

-very nice box very,...

-very nice box very, nice arrangment it looks like a pattern we use in montana only chenille instead of krystal dub and it works all year long even under the ice.But i might have to try it this way

Frank, the only s...


the only source I know is K&HD in Hamburg (
Call Ralph or Walter (+49 040 43208697) and just ask for the special VMC saltwater hook. It is not a low-budget hook but it is solid, very sharp, really saltwater resistant and has got a good proportioned hook curve. Simply the best streamer hook I have ever tried.


raoul, thank u fo...


thank u for this article, that fly really has got what it takes. I think I recognize the hook, which I am just as enthusiastic about. I just heard from a VMC-Ebay-dealer that he couldn`t find VMC PS streamer hooks in neither their german- nor world-catalogue. Where do u get them??

Best regards,

Martin Joergensen's picture

ashbee, Print the...


Print the article and take it to a fishing tackle shop or flyshop and just say "I want all this!" and point to the material's list. Wrap the whole thing with the print and you're set!

Your boyfriend will love you endlessly and kiss you more for that! ;-)


how do i get a wooly...

how do i get a wooly kit like that or similair my boyfreind has gone full force into it and i would like to get him tha

Thanks for these nic...

Thanks for these nice comments...

"Soft Hackle & Chickabou" is quiet rare, as I already wrote in the article. But for example, there are some for sale on eBay at the moment (also in black color). The eBay-Shop is called "1A Fly Materials and Fishing Flies". You have to be a bit careful in shopping these items online, because the quality can be extremely different.

Easily the best tied...

Easily the best tied Woolly Bugger I have seen and an excellent article. Just one question; where can you source the black Whiting Soft Hackle w/Chickabou from?

Great article.. and ...

Great article.. and a very nice fly box! Neatly arranged!

Makes me wanna test in on the danish coast, when the ice vanishes.. Big trouts are waiting for the fly ;-)

Congratulations! Su...

Superb article!
Now you are in the same league as Stephan Dombaj...

Align-quiet :) Look...

Align-quiet :)
Looks great...

wow , this makes you...

wow , this makes you want to run to your vice....very nice article. ( and yes what fish does not like a wooly bugger.)

rybolov's picture

I like the barred ch...

I like the barred chickabou effect. That looks really nice.

WOW great looking ...

great looking box!


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