Troy is an aspiring writer, currency trader, casual laborer and fly tier, with an employment background in construction, and logging.
The Origins of the Squirmy Wormy Fly Pattern
The original Squirmito was created by Dave Hise of Casters Online. The Squirmy Wormy is an improved variant of the more widely known San Juan Worm. Known for smashing strikes and reported to be one of the only flies that trout will actually pursue. The Squirmy Wormy can be used for any fish that eats worms. The San Juan Worm has won more than its share of one fly tournaments and the Squirmy should also.
Materials and Fly Quality
Well-tied flies should catch more than a couple of fish, survive some hard bites, and last more than 100 casts.
- Tied with silicon strands that feel like rubber and have wiggly action. If you get or have the squirmy do not leave in a hot car. If tying the squirmy do not use any type of adhesive or UV resin as the material will melt. The silicone should have a larger diameter than rubber legs, stretch 5X original length before breaking, and not be brittle or cracked. Any dubbing on the fly should adhere evenly with few strands sticking out. Silicone material should be cut even not ripped. If the thread is showing on the body and creating sections on material then fly is inferior and will be destroyed on hard bites as the thread will cut it. Some tiers do wrap the material on the hook. I do not. IF material is not wrapped it should not lay under the hook. This is a skill that many do not master. It is called the pinch. When not done correctly the material "rolls" to the sides and under the hook creating a god awful looking mess. If the squirmy material is wrapped the material should be nice even sections not stretched too tight.
- The hooks the fly is tied on should be known as well. The reason being is many low-quality, no-name, unbranded, poor performers are out there. Good hooks to start with are Mustad, Dai-Riki, MFC, or J. Stockard, in size #14 caddis/pupa style for starters. There are many premium brands one can use but do not expect anyone that ties commercially to use them unless asked and if you are willing to pay extra and wait longer.
- Any beads, if used, should be of non-toxic material. NO head cement or resin should be present.
Fishing the Squirmy Wormy
Fishing any pattern in a creek and catching 100 brook trout or cutthroat trout does not mean you have a good pattern. Fish in most creeks here in Montana will touch anything that hits the water, from pine needles to grass, and even tree bark pieces.
Any nymphing rig should work with your fly fishing rig, double nymph with a strike indicator, a big floating fly for an indicator with a dropper for your nymph, or just the squirmy, adding split shot if needed.
For spinning, spin cast and bait casting rigs... use a spoon/spinner such as panther martin, Mepps or other with hooks removed and fly tied on as a dropper. I myself use a spinning bubble 10lb test mono with a swivel and tie 3lb tippet or mono to swivel about 18 inches long. You may also use rubber bands knotted to the line in two places one 18 inches above the nymph/wet fly and another at desired depth to stop the spinning bubble. You use the wedge type spinning bubble to add water so you can cast a fly with gear other than a fly rod. This works with most flies you cannot cast with spinning, spin cast or casting gear due to the weight issues. OHH... Almost forgot if you have never used spinning bubbles use the clear ones that have a clear tube through the center that wedges and allows for adding of water for casting weight... use just enough water to cast. You may add split shot close to your nymph if there is current so you can get the nymph down to the fish.
Tying the Squirmy Wormy
The way I tie is like the Tightline Productions video on the YouTube and Orvis sites.
Materials list are included on the Orvis site. For my red worms, I use Quick Descent dubbing, though any dubbing of the same color as squirmy material should work fine. This is not an exact science. I will mention... again... do not use any type of glue, cement or resin with this fly as the reaction melts the material. I half hitch and then use two 3 turn whip finishes to finish. There are many patterns using the squirmy material just Google around and find one you like. Most techniques are covered in the Fly Tier's Benchside Reference.
HOOK: scud/pupa size #14 or #8
THREAD: UTC 140 Denier to match the main body material.
UNDERBODY: dubbing to match the main body color. Dub very sparse so dubbing does not fluff
MAIN BODY: Squirmy Material one-half for size #14
OVERBODY: dubbing to match. Again use dubbing very sparsely
Whip finish, but do not use any head cement, resin or other adhesives to seal the knot
3 Preferred Brands
Hooks I have Used
I use the hooks below for my Squirmy Wormies and will try and clarify why for you. A 1x strong hook is strong enough for brookies and cutthroat. But when you desire to fish for salmon, steelhead or big tailwater rainbows a 2x strong hook should be your choice. Your line should break before you bend or damage a hook.
- MFC #7045- This is a 2x strong heavy scud hook that I do like because of the strength and quality.
- The Dai-Riki #135 is my favorite 1x strong caddis pupa hook because it feels as strong as some 2x
- The J2 500 from J. Stockard is a good and affordable hook that can be trusted. I should also mention that the J. Stockard hooks have a nice feature that I appreciate. A small flat sheet that is magnetic and holds your hooks. This is handy for me because I do not use trays.
Parts of a Hook
Style and Model No.'s
The style of hook used is listed as Scud, Pupae, Nymph-Down eye, 1x Strong, 1x short, curved shank. These are what is stocked by J. Stockard. Check for availability. The Gamakatsu is a popular hook with a loyal following. It and the Partridge are what I would consider premium hooks for the American market. I have tied many flies with Mustad hooks, which have always been a top selling hook among all fishermen.
- J2 500 Is a J. Stockard hook
- 1120 by Daiichi
- 2457 byTiemco
- C49S by Mustad
- C12 by Gamakatsu
- K4AY/K4AH by Partridge
Thread and Bead Chart
The Thread I prefer
The Thread I prefer for this pattern is UTC 140 Denier. This is a very strong thread with high breaking strength that makes a good knot. This is essential in this pattern because you use no head cement. I will substitute down to UTC 70 Denier if the 140 is not available which is acceptable for size #14 flies. The UTC also flattens very well which is necessary so the Squirmy material is not cut. Since I started using this type of thread I try and find a way to use it in every pattern I experiment with. I like it that well. As must everyone else because it sells out in my color quite often. So if you find the colors you want be sure to stock up.
The only reason for dubbing the thread on this fly is to keep the thread from cutting the squirmy material. But it does kind of look like the clitellum on a worm.
My favorite dubbing for this fly, when available, is the Quick Descent by Hareline. Good luck finding all 24 colors offered. I do believe they may be getting ready to discontinue this dubbing because there are only certain patterns that it will work well on.
The Quick Descent dubbing is shredded aluminum. This is heavier than traditional dubbing materials and adds weight to the fly. The dubbing makes a very nice noodle and lays down well which is perfect for the worm pattern. I just do not see many hairy worms.
Just about any dubbing that sticks together will work. I have used antron dubbing and it works well. My fresh supply shipment has some Krystal dub in it and I believe I will experiment with that. The thing about dubbing is you always use it so do not be afraid to have plenty of different kinds around. 1 package will do over 6 dozen flies of most patterns. 1 package should do over 10 dozen squirmy worm flies. My inventory is over 12 packages of dubbing. I tie a lot of flies. ;)))
Squirmy Wormy by Tightline Productions
Worm Fly Patterns to Google
Traditional San Juan Worm
Son of San Juan Worm
Flyfish the World
Troy Brooks (author) from Stevensville, MT on June 01, 2018:
Any of the flies I have on the chart are good. They all catch fish in right conditions. I have not fished these patterns yet but I am hoping to have time this summer to hit some creeks and maybe the Bitterroot River here. Just waiting for water to stabilize as rivers and creeks are very high and turbid this year.
Bob Cala on June 01, 2018:
Am I a fly-fisher and teach fly tying to wounded veterans, I think this is something they may like to try out due to his simplicity......have you catch anything with it?
Susan Sears on June 02, 2017:
Great pattern for fly fishing. I have caught a lot of trout off of this simple pattern. When tying it though I have found that I need to be careful otherwise, I tear the worm material and need to start over.
Kim on May 19, 2017:
Great worm fly. I added a brass bead to help get it down quicker in a lite current and still a killer. Thanks. for the post.