Warmwater Fly of the month: October, 2002 - The Gurgler

Tying the Gurgler



The Gurgler
The Gurgler is one of Jacks surface pattern to fish for srtipers. The gurgler is a cross between a slider and a popper. You can do many things with this patterm by manipulating it with your rod and stripping line movements. Jack has stated that he would not be with out it. Since Jack came out with the original pattern, fly tiers have made changes to the pattern. The gugler is now tied in large and small sizes, for freshwater or saltwater and a variety of colors.

Jack Gartside
In 1956 Ted Williams, the great Boston Red Sox outfielder gave his first fly tying lesson. He's been tying and fishing ever since for both the fresh water and salt water critters. I first read about jack in the March 1990 issue of Fly Rod and Reel. I purchased some of his books and have been hooked on his patterns since. Jack best known original patterns are the Sparrow, the Soft Hackle Streamer, the Gartside Pheasant Hopper, and the Gartside Gurgler. Jack has published a number of books on his patterns, Fly Patterns for the Adventurous Tyer, (volumes I and II), Flies for the 21st Century, and the Soft Hackle Streamer. He has also authored Secret Flies and More Secret Flies, two instructional pamphlets featuring designs utilizing a special tying material, Gartside's Secret Stuff (or GSS). For more about Jack, You can visit his web site.




Hook: Mustad 34011 or 34007 (Salt Water) sizes 4 - 2/0
Mustad: 37187 (Fresh Water) sizes 2 - 1/0
Mustad: 9674 (Fresh Water) sizes 6 - 2
Mustad 3406 (Fresh Water) sizes 6 - 2
Thread: Danville's 3/0 or Monocord white
Tail: Very sparse bucktail or marabou plumes overlaid with 5 or 6 strains of Peral Glimmer or Krystal Flash
Body: White closed-cell foam, with 5 evenly spaced segments.
Foam should be 1/2" - 5/8" wide for most flies. Use foam at least 1/8 thick.
Rib: White or Grizzly saddle hackle palmered between segments.

(For tying purposes we are using a Mustad 34011 #1/0)

(Click on picture to enlarge)

Step 1: Cut a strip of foam that measures 1/2" to 5/8" wide.

Step 2: Start your thread right behind the eye of the hook and lay down a thread base on the shank of the hook of approximately half of the shank of the hook.

Step 3: Select some sparse buck tail hairs about 1 1/2 the length of the the hook shank..

Step 4: Tie the buck tail hairs at the position where you stopped the thread.


Step 5: Select a 5 or 6 strans of Glimmer 6" long. Tie in the glimmere so that there is approximately 3" that goes over the buck tail. Tie them at the point where you tied in the buck tail hair. This will leave you with 3" of Glimmer in the front (foward).

Step 6: Bring the front foward strans back over the tail to keep them out of the way.

Step 7: Lay the foam that you cut in step one over the top of the hook shank. Leave some between the tip of the foam and the back of the eye of the hook. Where you tied in your tail make a wrap around the foam and pull the thread tight but not so tight as to break the thread. Now make several more wrapes around the foam at the same location

Step 8: With your thread make 5 distinct and evenly spaced segmants, cupping the foam around the hook as you wind the thread forward. At the spots where you have made the segments with your thread make sure that you wrap that particular area more than once with your thread.

Step 9: On the last segment, make sure that you wrape down the tip of the foam with your thread.

Step 10: Wind your thread back to the rear where you put in the first segment by wrapping your thread in between the segments.

Step 11: Select a saddle hackle and with the shine part towards you strip of the left side of the hackle. DO NOT strip of the barbs off as one BIG strip (this would damage the stem of the feather and may even break the stem). BUT take a few off at a time.

Step 12: Secure the tip of the feather with the bare part of the stem way from you.

Step 13: Wind your hackle forward in between the segments.

Step 14: Tie off the hackle and trim.


Step 15: After Step 14 you fly should look this.

Step 16: Bring the foam fowardover the top of the body and tie down securely just behind the eye of the hook.

Step 17: Bring the 6 strands of Glimmer over the back of the foam shell.

Step 18: Secure the strans on Glimmer by tieing them down at the foam tie down stop. Trim any excess Glimmer.

Step 19: Trim the lip to the desired length and wip finishing. Trimming the lip can be done in various ways. The usual way is just a simple cut. You may want to round the corners.

Step 20: The completed Gurgler. Go and catch some fish with it.