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Fly Tying: Catch More Fish in Warm Water With the White Gurgler

Caught on the white gurgler pattern

Caught on the white gurgler pattern

The Gurgler Fly Is Great for Topwater Fishing

The Gurgler fly became a favorite for fly fishing in the early 1940s when John Clarence “Jack” Gartside presented his Gartside Gurgler. A variation of the original Gurgler fly can be found in many fly boxes today. This foam fly is effective in salt or fresh water and can be tied in a variety of colors. My favorite color is white, as I fish in mostly warm water lakes. I have caught some of my largest bass, crappie and bluegills on this fantastic fly. It makes for amazing topwater action, and I am sure you will find it to be an asset to your fly box!

The White Gurgler

The White Gurgler

Supplies needed

Supplies needed

Supply List

  • White foam 2mm thick cut to 1.5” x 0.5”
  • Hook - Streamer
    • I used Daiichi size 10 Streamer Hook, but use what you have, the fish do not care.
  • Lead Wire .015
  • White GSP Thread or a heavy thread
  • Chenille: Pearl/White
  • Krystal Flash Rainbow or Pearl
  • Strung Marabou: White
  • Rubber Legs: White or Barred Pearl—I prefer Round White Rubber legs.

Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Start with a thread base on hook (wrap thread around hook).
  2. Wrap a small amount of lead wire on the front of the hook—this will help the fly track in the water.
  3. Wrap a few wraps of over the lead wire and bring the thread back down to the hook bend.
  4. Tie a piece of the Strung Marabou onto the back portion of the hook.
  5. Repeat as in step 4 with krystal flash or rainbow flash.
  6. Then tie a piece of the Chenille—lay this forward.
  7. Cut a small slit in your white foam and tie this on.
  8. Wrap your chenille forward, tie it in, and cut off the excess.
  9. Bring your thread back toward the center.
  10. Pull foam forward and tie in—start with a couple loose wraps then pull tighter being careful not to cut the foam.
  11. Fold rubber legs in half so you have four on each side tie in one side then repeat for the other side.
  12. Pull foam forward.
  13. Bring the thread to front and whip finish or tie off.
  14. Trim fly as desired.
Photo Step by Step

Photo Step by Step

Gurgler Movement and Colors

While my favorite is a white gurgler, this fly can be tied in a variety of colors. The action can vary too. I will sometimes pull three quick tugs, then let it sit or a continuous movement. If the fish are not biting, try changing your presentation.

I have fished entire days with only this fly, and it has not failed me. My personal best bass, bluegill, and crappie have all been caught on topwater action with this fly. I even got upset over something stealing my fly and desperately tied on a bite protector (metal leader) to save my last fly and caught a 26-inch pike. I hope you enjoy this fly as much as I do!

© 2019 Susan Sears


Susan Sears (author) on May 29, 2020:

I sure enjoy your walks through the for fishing most of my fishing stories are on my blog

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Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 28, 2020:

I'm going to have to live vicariously through your fishing exploits, Susan. At this point I just don't see me taking up fishing as a serious pursuit. Maybe it will happen. I sure did enjoy it back when I was younger.