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Articulated Helgramite

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Here is my first try at tying an articulated fly:


#6 and #8 hook

black ice chenille

black hackle


backing for joining hooks

black thread


My question for you guys is, how soon do you start throwing these bad boys?



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A buddy, Dan Held, and I threw two and three hook articulated flies for big brown trout on the White River in Arkansas a little over a week ago. I think articulated flies are the closest thing we've seen in the world of fly fishing to imitating the movement of bait fish so far. I've read that cold water species chase them when it's colder, and warm water species chase them when the water starts to warm up, but I also think that it depends on the predatory instincts of the species you're chasing. I'm to the point after this last trip for trout that I'll try them for a little bit on almost every time out, and I plan on banging them off of the banks of the lakes and streams I fish around here (Decatur) from Spring thru Fall.


Have you fished an articulated yet?

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I have never used one before. In fact, this is only my second year behind the bench. Last year I popped my cherry on buggers and clousers with good results. I spent the winter making ice fishing flies that also worked well. That has given me the interest to expand my hobby.


I stumbled upon this design and couldn't help but think, " These have to be better than the standard bugger." The part I still need to figure out is how different weights will affect the action.I also intend to try diffent types of weights ( bead chain,dumbell,lead wire,etc). I am also going to try different materials for joining the two hooks. I used backing for the one above and have read that people use 30 lb mono, fireline and guitar string. It certainly changes the action on the back half but not sure at what point the action becomes too much or too little.


Living so close to the vermillion river in LaSalle county, I intend to focus my open water fishing on the fiesty smallmouth bass. I would imagine that if this works well as a Helgramite, changing the color to match a minnow would provide similar results. If I decide to make my two BWCA trips, fly fishing only, I will be bringing a few of these to try there also.


I would appreciate seeing other articulated flys, if anyone cares to share.


Thank you!


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Kelly Gallup uses beading wire, the stuff that people use to make jewelry, to connect the two hooks. I have been using 25lb mono for the last couple of years, but I plan on switching to the wire for a couple of reasons. Its even more durable than the mono because it's stainless steel and twisted like cable, and you can make a nice up and down loop through the eye of the trailing hook that prevents that hook from twisting too much side to side. The second point is important for presentation purposes and for insuring a hook-up versus missing fish due to a hook laying sideways. Also, it's important to leave some gap (I use glass beads as spacers) between your lead and trail hooks so your fly has that extra movement that you're trying to achieve by articulating them. I tie the trailer hook portion of the fly up first, connect the two hooks by tying the mono, now wire, down to the top of the shaft of the lead hook, then tie the lead portion of the fly.


A buddy of mine guides down in the Ozarks and has set up a pretty informative website for tying and everything fly fishing. Here's a link to the streamer "how to" portion of his page.

Taneycomo Trout


There is another guy up in Michigan by the name of Kelly Neuman that has some pretty amazing articulated streamers for Salmon, Trout, Steelhead, Bass, etc. Here a link to his site:

Michigan Streamside


Pretty amazing stuff. I'll be happy to help out with any further information that I have.



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Articulated flies are typically tied to represent leeches with their undulating swimming motion.Since they're tied large & well weighted they require an 8wt flyrod.They also resemble a spinfisherman's plastic worm.At times I use one for largemouth as an alternative to bassbugging.I get mine from Feathercraft in St Louis.

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Thanks for the links. I am looking forward to making a few more in preparation for the warmer months.I entered a fly swap on another site and will be doing this fly for it. Oh btw, my GF makes and sells jewelry and she had the wire you were talking about. It has been comandeered. Lets see how long it takes for her to realize I am the thief of not only her heart, but her necklace materials too. LOL


I have a 4,5,6 and 8 weight. I should be able to get this bad boy out there. Hopefully, I can keep the weight down enough to use my new 5 weight.

I never thought that this could also be used as a leech. Maybe I will have a few walleyes look at this thing as well.




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