Catapla Worm- Fred Hannie

featured, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on May 4, 2011 4:59 am

Catapla worm is the common name used in some parts of the south for the mature caterpillar of a species of sphinx moth that are found to inhabit only catalpa trees. Because catalpa trees are often found near water catalpa worms are often blown from the tree limbs to become easy meals for waiting fish. Whether the area you fish has catalpa trees are not, this pattern is fun to tie and will catch numerous species of panfish.


Hook: Daiichi 1870 #12
Thread : Danville’s white 6/0
Head Cement : Griff’s thin multi coat high gloss
Velvet Chenille micro chartreuse
Stripped Goose Biots Black
Ostrich Herl white
Craft store embroidery thread
Dubbing (black)

With the hook securely in the vise , tie on and stop at the back 1/3 of the hook.

Tie in a black goose biot at the bend of the hook. Wrap a small lump of thread just past the biot to make it stand erect. Then work your thread and back to the middle of the hook.

Tie in a piece of black embroidery thread (two inches) to each side of the hook. Make sure to wrap it down to the bend of the hook and back.

Next tie in two ostrich herl (two inches long) one on each side of the hook. Wrapping to the bend of the hook and back to the middle.

The velvet chenille is tied in on top of the hook starting 1/16 of an inch from the hook eye and wrapped to the bend of the hook and back.

Wrap the chenille around the hook to form the body . Tie it off and remove the excess leaving 1/16 inch room from the eye of the hook.

Wrapping the thread between the wraps of chenille work the thread back to the bend of the hook. Pull the two pieces of embroidery thread toward the eye of the hook and wrap between the chenille wraps with the thread.

Continue to wrap in the black embroidery thread and tie off just before the hook eye. A bodkin can be used to move the embroidery thread to keep the lines parallel.

Work the thread between the chenille wraps back to the bend of the hook . The ostrich herl will be tied in the same fashion as the embroidery thread , except it will be tied to each side of the hook.

Once the herl and embroidery thread are tied down , whip finish and coat with head cement. But do not cut or remove the thread. We still have dubbing to add .

Black dubbing is added to form the caterpillar head . Whip finish and remove the thread

We used white thread so that it would not be noticeable wrapping between the chenille . But for the head which is black we need to color the white thread with a black permanent marker and coat with head cement.

I used Griff’s thin multi coat cement on both applications because we have a lot of wraps and a few different materials and I wanted a head cement that would be strong and penetrate to the hook shank .

The finished fly

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Rating: +18 (from 18 votes)
Catapla Worm- Fred Hannie, 9.4 out of 10 based on 5 ratings


  1. Murray (lykos33) says:

    Still a beautiful recreation of the real catalpa, sure to nail almost anything that swims!

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  2. Jere Anderson says:

    Nice bug. We tie quite a few catalpa worms in the North Texas area, but prefer the woven body version developed by Mike Verduin. I will tie a few of these and see if I like it better, however….

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  3. Orly says:

    Kevin, you showed a couple of techniques on this and the termite that will be of use on other flies. Very nice ties.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  4. JC Keith says:

    Cool pattern. Thanks for sharing. I always remember my grandpa collecting Catalpa worms for fishing, haven’t seen any in a few years. I will be trying this pattern for old times sake!

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  5. Scott Hobbs says:

    I have been using catapla worms since I was a kid. We’d cut them and then invert them where the insides were outside. Great for bluegill and most game fish..don’t for catfish. I now have a big tree of my own in the back yard.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  6. Johnny Utah says:

    Thank you for this extremely effective pattern. I tied and used it this past summer and man did the trout just dart right at it and suck it right in. A little trick I know of to get the sink rate correct- I tied in two pieces of foam, and pulled them along side the hook shank like you did with the ostrich. I then wrapped the chenille over and continued by your method. It got the fly to sink just right that the trout took it without hesitation. Once again I thank you and congratulations on creating a successful fly!

    VA:F [1.9.13_1145]
    Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)

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