How to Tie a Gurgler

orlando fishing report

The killer fly, a gurgler.

How to Tie a Gurgler

Gurglers, to the best of my knowledge, were invented by the late Jack Gartside. They are awesome, easy to tie flies that work of a wide variety of fish. Since I make them differently than Jack did, here are my instructions on how to tie a Gurgler.

First, you need to gather your materials. Use whatever color(s) you like.

how to tie a gurgler

Simple materials needed to make a Gurgler. Feel free to modify my list to suit your own needs.

-sheet of craft foam (available at any craft store)
-material for tail (in this case marabou, but it’s the tyer’s choice)
-tying thread (Danville flat waxed nylon for me) in Dr. Slick bobbin
-Estaz or similar product for body
-rubber hackle, sililegs, or what-have-you for legs if desired (for spider patterns or bass bugs)
-hook. For most of my saltwater flies I use a Mustad 34001 #2. For salmon I use a Mustad 36890, also #2. For freshwater applications it depends what the target specie is; i.e., for bass a stinger hook, #4 or #2, for sunfish an Aberdeen, #6 or 8, for trout and dollies a long-shanked, bronzed hook, #6 or 8, etc.

1. After placing the hook in the vise (I use a Regal), start the thread and wrap it back to the bend of the hook.

2. Using your Dr. Slick scissors, cut a strip of foam from the sheet of craft foam. Use the scissors to taper one end to a near-point.

how to tie a gurgler

Cut the strip of foam for the fly body. Wider ones float better but tend to rotate more. Taper one end to a near point.

3. Tie in the tail. The shorter it is, the less it will foul. It should never be longer than the hook shank.

how to tie a gurgler

Make the tail from any material you like.

4. Tie in the tapered end of the foam strip on top of the tail wraps, pointing back the same way the tail is.

how to tie a gurgler

The foam is tied in atop the tail wraps, and the Estaz is tied in directly in front of it.

5. Tie in the Estaz directly in front of the foam strip.

6. If you’re not using rubber legs, go to step #7. If you’re using rubber legs, wrap the thread up to the point where you want the legs to go. Wrap the Estaz to where the legs will go and tie it off. Do NOT cut it! Tie in the legs, then wrap the thread up to the point the front foam attachment will be.

how to tie a gurgler

If using rubber legs, wrap the thread to where the legs will be, then wrap the Estaz to that point. Tie in the legs.

how to tie a gurgler.

Here the legs are tied in.

7. Wrap the thread up to where the body will end. Wrap the Estaz up to that point and tie it off. Cut off the excess.

how to tie a gurgler

Whether using legs or not, be sure to leave enough room to finish the fly.

8. Pull the foam strip over the length of the fly and tie it down. Be sure while doing all this sufficient space is left to finish the head of the fly.

how to tie a gurgler

The foam is bent over the fly body and tied down near the hook eye.

9. The excess foam now sticks out past the eye of the hook. Bend it back over the fly again and tie it down again in the same place the last tie-down point was.

how to tie a gurgler

The foam is then bent back and tied down again.

10. Cut off the excess foam.

how to tie a gurgler

The excess foam is cut off, then the head is finished.

11. Bring the thread up in front of the foam, behind the eye of the hook, and whip finish the head. Cement and you’re done.

Mr. Gartside did not do the fold-over of the foam. I think you can pop it a little better this way, and the extra foam certainly helps it to float better. The Gurgler in the photos was tied on a #2 Mustad 34001.

Make several. The fish will tear them apart!

And that, dear reader, is how to tie a Gurgler.

John Kumiski

All content in this blog, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.

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