Strawboss- by Drew Chicone

featured, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on November 14, 2012 9:54 pm

Drew Chicone of shows off a great multi-species pattern.

Two years ago, in a “Baked Alaska” series of events, my buddy Joe Mahler created a peculiar fly called The Strawboss. In that two years the fly has become a standard with Southwest Florida anglers, catching it’s share of backcountry snook, tarpon, redfish, peacock bass and others. Mahler’s original Straw boss features 6-8 wraps of lead wire, giving it a back-and-forth tilting motion as it sinks. Recently, Mahler created a floating version for warm water species and this iteration has quickly gained favor with steelheaders.

Building the underbody is perhaps the most important step and it may take a few tries to get it just right. Wrapping the flat waxed thread to a smooth “football-shape” is key. The other trick is the tube. Keep a variety of tubes –hollow pen casings, large drinking straws, or any rigid tube that is at least three inches long. If when the buck tail is pushed back, it is not snug, really snug, remove the tube and build up the center of the body with thread and try again.

Although white-on-white is one of the most successful colors, the possible color combinations are limitless. The Straw Boss is made from two bunches of buck tail- the second one represents the wing color and the lower part of the tail. I am an earth-tone guy by nature, so browns, reds and greens make up the bulk of my collection, but chartreuse and bright orange seem to do the job on the brightest of days. Black and purple has worked well on baby tarpon.

This fly takes a little patience to tie and to fish properly, but with the Straw Boss in charge, I think you will see some serious results. See more at

Hook: Gamagakatsu B10S or similar, sizes 2-8
Thread: Danville 210 denier flat waxed nylon
Tail: Extra select craft fur
Body: Buck tail
Belly: Thread color
Legs/Wings: Buck tail in contrasting color
Misc: ¼” strip of Thin Fly Foam, hollow tube
Adhesive: Head cement, Clear Cure Goo -Hydro

Start the thread 1/8” from the eye of the hook and tie in a 1.5” length of lead wire. Cover the first ½” of the hook shank with thread and coat with cement. Tie in two clumps of craft fur one fourth the size of a pencil.

Cover craft fur with thread and build a “football-shaped” underbody with thread. Tie in, tips forward, a bunch of buck tail about half the thickness of a pencil. This will become the color of the back, or shell, of the fly. Trim the butts 1/8” in front of the starting point of the craft fur tail. Wrap over the butts making sure that they stay on top of the hook. Continue to build the football-shaped body and apply intermittent coats of cement.

At the same point, tie in a second bunch of buck tail about half the thickness of the first, making sure that the tips are even with the first bunch. This bunch of buck tail will represent the wings and the second layer of the tail. Trim butts 1/4” above the start of the craft fur tail.

With a needle or bodkin, divide the butts of the second bunch of buck tail and figure-eight them so they stick out to either side. Continue to build the underbody to a smooth shape ending with the thread at the point where the tail begins. If a bit of the buck tail butts show through on the top, no worries, it will be covered up in the next step.

Tie in a ¼” strip of thin fly foam between the wings and cover with thread (the foam adds bulk and buoyancy). Wrap to the end of the bucktail buts and double the foam over, wrapping toward the eye of the hook. Use as many as three layers of foam. Cover with thread.

Gently grasp all of the buck tail and fold back on the top of the hook, while pulling downward on the wings so they are not trapped underneath. Place tube over the hook’s eye and slowly push backwards. With the tube still in place, gather the buck tail tightly and tie off, applying enough pressure to tighten the buck tail.

Slowly remove the tube, whip finish and turn the fly over to pick out any of the wing fibers that are trapped and tug the wings outward. Trim wings if necessary. Apply two thin coats Clear Cure Goo Hydros of to the back and underbelly.

VN:F [1.9.13_1145]
Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)


  1. Frank Simons says:

    I’m excited by this fly…it seems to me as it is proven successful for snook and redfish, it’s not a stretch to think the same of silver salmon (cohos)and the direction are clear and concise and I’m about to vice a hook…we shall see. As suggested by Drew, it may take a few tries.

    Thanks, Drew Chicone for the great pattern and special thanks to Joe Mahler for pointing me to this site.

    VA:F [1.9.13_1145]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  2. eric says:

    Took some of these to the Maldives. I had pretty good success with a few different types of fish including small snapper, blue runners and other jacks and a small black tip shark

    VA:F [1.9.13_1145]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Comment

Powered by WP Hashcash

Tags: , , ,

Related Articles

WordPress SEO