Hudson’s Mud Bugger

I have handed out quite a few of these flies over the past few months. So, I guess it’s time to share it with everyone else.

This is, without a doubt, my “go to” pattern for carp. This fly was tied with carp in mind, but it works great for other species too – largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, trout, catfish, walleye, and even bonefish. For the latter, I tie it in lighter colors and add some legs – Hudson’s Sand Bugger.

Update: Here’s a link to the Hudson’s Sand Bugger – and variations of this fly –

The pattern is easy to tie, and it slays carp. So, let’s get started…

Materials for Hudson’s Mud Bugger:

Hook: Gamakatsu SL45 #4-8
Thread: Danville 3/0, black
Eyes: Large bead chain, black
Tail: Turkey biot quills, green (also try brown or black)
Hackle: Whiting Bugger Pack, grizzly olive (also try grizzly brown or black)

Optional: .025 lead wire for extra weight and/or lead eyes


Step 1: Tie in the bead chain directly behind the hook eye leaving only enough room to whip finish at the end. I apply a spot of Zap-A-Gap to solidly anchor the eyes. This is a pretty durable fly, so let’s just make it bomb-proof.

Optional: If you plan to fish this in a river or deep, you’ll want to add 12-14 twists of 0.25 lead wire to the hook shank. Otherwise leave off the extra weight as the large bead chain is enough for most shallow still water applications. With or without the extra weight, this fly has a nice soft entry into the water.

Step 2: Wrap the thread a bit past the bend of the hook, and build a small thread ball. This helps keep the turkey biots splayed out for a consistent presentation.

Step 3: Clip two small sections from the turkey feather. Match them up evenly by the tips and tie onto either side of the hook just in front of the thread ball. The turkey feathers should extend outward past the tie in point approximately 3/4 to a full hook shank length.

Step 4: Pull two feathers from the Bugger Pack that has fibers approximately 1 1/2 to 2x the hook gap. Strip off the fuzzy fibers and tie in just in front of the turkey biots. Wrap the thread all the way up to the eye.

Optional: Experiment with using one feather or two. I definitely use two feathers on a size 4 or 6 hook, but I sometimes just use one feather on a size 8 hook. Your call.

Step 5: Palmer the hackle all the way (past the bead chain) up to the eye. I usually make a few wraps around the eyes if I have enough feather left. Anchor the feather down behind the eye and whip-finish.

Step 6: Now it’s time for a haircut. The head-stand effect of this fly is caused by the angle at which the hackle is trimmed. First run your fingers through the fly and get all the fibers sticking straight out. Take your scissors and start cutting as close as you can to the bead chain and eyes. You’ll want to angle your cut at an approximate 30-40 degree angle from the hook shank. After I’m done with the haircut, I’ll usually dab a bit of Hard as Hull head cement on the whip-finish.

That’s it.

What? You expected more?

Now tie them in different colors. The sky’s the limit. I found that olive green, brown, and black to be the most productive colors for carp. Legs are another addition that could be fun, but I’ve found I didn’t really need them.

If this fly works for you, I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment.

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About seanhudson

Internet professional, runner, skier, climber, father, and doer of things.

14 responses to “Hudson’s Mud Bugger”

  1. Nate says :

    I’m hoping this is your submission for the carp swap, love to try this one out!

  2. Gregg Martin says :

    Ha! Yes, why complicate a simple durable effective pattern! So saying, I would stick legs in there, just because I like legs on carp flies. That is a buggy looking dude, I’ll tie some, JUST like you have shown.

    Best, Gregg

  3. Gregg Martin says :

    OK Sean,

    It hurt to not play with these but I did not, almost. They cry for alteration, but look neat as they are. I tied 2 after tying other flies this AM. My hook a #6 M3366, black large bead chain eyes, tail of split 1″ black span flex, hackle of black Whiting Bugger Pack tied in by the butt and wound concave facing rear, and every wrap tightened bt hand, pulled back and repeated. I used a 7″ and a 5″ hackle to complete. Then, I steamed the hackle to insure my hair cut would be true, this really helps. Next I cut as you suggested. Still, what I intend to do is place a bead of Knot Sense (when the sun shines again,) on the clipped hackle for additional bomb proffness. This fly is similar to a series tied by Leonard Wright which he wrote about in Fly Tyer called “Signs of Life.” And a captain wrote of salt flies in the same magazine using hackle of which he coated parts with Softex. Never the less yours is unique enough to warrent it’s own pedigree for sure. It is too cool! The web of course looks opaque, the outer fibers very buggy. I want to play so much with it and I will (Hackle Stacker or Paraloop with dubbing for one,) but I’m going to tie several dozen the way I have, including some in the egg colors that carp take so well for me. Thanks for thr pattern and inspiration!


  4. Gregg Martin says :


    Glad to, but i’m not sure how to. The Knot Sense made an ugly bottom of the fly, but it can’t hurt. Tied some on a scud hook today and found that tying on the severe bend makes for a parachute effect, may not need trimming, or, trimming just nearest the eye.


  5. Gregg Martin says :


    I don’t know how to post pictures with a reply. I posted my version of your fly, and I simply adore that fly, on the CAG flyrodding forum. Tying many for….soon?


  6. mctage says :

    Go with a grey hackle and switch to red tails (or maybe tail) for the siphon and I think you might have the fly John Montana has challenged everybody to invent and found everybody lacking on. A clam fly with a decent profile that doesn’t land like a brick.

  7. Gregg Martin says :


    Got an email address I could send you pictures on? Been on these in a big way. McTage I tied grey with sili-legs of black white flake. This fly has clam potential, not mine, the concept. As well as fooling the fish for other organisms, with a rabbit tail, very dragonfly nymph looking.


  8. John montana says :

    Sean, you create a few clam prototypes and I will test em! Hah! Better yet, swing by OR and we can test them out together. Clams are a major forage for the carp I chase.

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