Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Introducing the Jiggybee

For the past few months, we've heard about a great new fly from our good friend, Randy Leonpacher. It's called the "Jiggybee"...which he refers to as a cousin to his world famous Jitterbee. It's been a killer pattern for all types of panfish, from bluegill to crappie.

Randy will lead the Red Stick Fly Fishers in tying the Jiggybee on Monday, March 22nd at 7:00pm. The session will be viewable to the public on the FFI Gulf Coast Council YouTube Channel.

Randy explains the background to his new fly:

It was one of those stay-at-home, hot, mid-summer 2020 Covid-19 days.  So I decided it was a good time to tie a few flies.  I had acquired by purchase or trade an assortment of non-conventional craft, fabric & hobby store fly tying materials, great stuff for experimentation.   Naturally, I thought why not come up with a variation on the Jitterbee.  The new “cousin” would be jig-like and more “frizzy” than the Jitterbee.  Jig-like and frizzy have proven to be favorable factors attributing to the success of several flies.

I tied the first pass version fly onto my 3-4 weight when finished, ready for the next fishing trip.  It remained untested and unproven until an opportunity arose for trial in an October 2020 Lake Concordia trip.  The fly worked great during that trip, easily proving itself worthy for space in the fly box arsenal.  Although it has a couple of Jitterbee like features, there are enough differences to justify a “tweak” to the name.  So we decided to call it a “jiggybee”. 

The materials for the Jiggybee are shown below.  I realize most folks are not going to have the unconventional fly tying materials used.  So I’ve added a section on Material Substitutions.   Fish are less discriminating that people so I doubt the bream will be able to tell the difference.
Materials Used

  • Eagle Claw 570 jig hook size 8 or 10
  • Metal Gallery Gold metal bead 3.2mm (w/size 8 or 10 hook) & 4mm (w/size 8 hook)
  • 1/8” or 1/16” thick foam
  • Premier Parfait yarn
  • Scrubby Sparkle yarn
  • Bungee cord core rubber strands

Material Substitutes

  • Eagle Claw 214 (bronze) or 202 (gold) sizes 8 or 10, or Mustad 9672 size 12. Bend 90 degrees at eye.  (Mustad size 12 is same size as Eagle Claw size 10.)
  • Medium chenille or dubbing for Parfait yarn
  • Estaz or hackle feather for Scrubby Sparkle yarn
  • Rubber leg material for bungee cord strands  


Make a 60 degree bend in the hook, then place the bead onto the hook.
Cut the foam into a paddle shape
Wrap thread onto hook then tie foam paddle handle onto hook stopping just below hook bend. 
Tie rubber tail onto hook forming a V shape tail at start of foam paddle. 
Tie strand of Scrubby Sparkle yarn onto hook shank stopping at middle of V tail. 
Tie Parfait yarn onto hook shank stopping at V tail. Wrap thread to just behind bead at hook eye. 
Wrap Parfait yarn forward and tie off behind gold bead at hook eye. Hackle pliers work great for helping with the fragile Parfait yarn placement. 
Palmer Scrubby Sparkle yarn forward and tie off at gold bead. Again, hackle pliers work great for helping to palmer Scrubby Sparkle yarn. 
Dangle fly in cup of water from sewing or tying thread. Cut & shape the foam tail until fly body orientation is horizontal. No need to tie fly onto thread; just use a 6 inch or so thread loop. Be sure to go slowly on each foam trimming step. 

Hook size, fly colors, and tail shape is per your preference. The size 10 solid white fly shown above was the fly color proven to work great. I have confidence that the yet-to-be proven other color combinations will probably also work well under the right conditions.