Bibio’s

Bibios are so widely used that you may be forgiven for thinking that you know all about them. A great fly early in the season when you need something dark and a handy pattern if there are salmon around. What else is there to know? A hell of a lot is the answer!

Let’s start with the basics. Here is the original pattern:

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Hook: 8 – 10 wet fly hooks

Tying silk: black

Rib: fine oval silver tinsel

Body: 3 parts, 1: black seals fur, 2: red seals fur, 3: black seals fur

Body hackle: black cock hackle, palmered

Head Hackle: A black cock or hen hackle

This is still a fantastic fly which catches thousands of fish every season. Sizes have gone from big salmon irons like the size 4’s used on Beltra in the spring right down to tiny size 16’s for copying small midges on hill lochs. Some tyers prefer a claret instead of red centre band.

Somewhere along the line somebody had the bright idea of adding jungle Cock cheeks to the fly and the Jungle Bunny was born. It is normal to position the JC cheeks so that they sit up a bit.

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The Jungle Bunny

Then the body colours began to get some attention and we saw the introduction of the four banded Bibio:

Hook: same as above

Tying silk: black

Rib: fine oval silver tinsel

Body: 4 parts, 1: orange seals fur, 2: black seals fur, 3: orange seals fur, 4: black seal’s fur

Body hackle: black cock hackle, palmered

Head Hackle: A black cock or hen hackle

The lads from Kerry came up with this variant:

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Hook: as above

Rib: fine oval silver tinsel

Body: 3 parts, 1: black seals fur, 2: bright green seals fur, 3: black seals fur

Body hackle: black cock hackle, palmered

Head Hackle: A black cock or hen hackle

When pearl tinsel first became available it was quickly incorporated into the Bibio.

Tying silk: Black

Ribs: 2 ribs, first is medium width pearl tinsel wound opposite direction, rib 2 is fine silver wire wound normally and used to secure the body hackle

Body: in 3 parts, 1: black seals fur, 2: red or orange seals fur, 3: black seals fur

Body hackle: Black cock hackle, palmered

Head hackle: a brown partridge hackle

Next the fur body itself was change to include tinsel. Thus was born the Pearly Bibio, a widely used variant of the standard dressing

Pearly Bibio

A Pearly Bibio

Hook: 8 – 14 wet fly hooks (Kamasan 170 is fine)

Tying silk: black

Rib: fine oval silver tinsel

Body: 3 parts, 1: pearl tinsel, 2: red seals fur, 3: pearl tinsel

Body hackle: black cock hackle, palmered

Head Hackle: A brown English partridge hackle

Of course you can add jungle cock to a Pearly Bibio and make a Pearly Jungle Bunny.

From the English competition scene we learned of the snatcher design and the Bibio was quickly given that make over too.

Hook: curved grub hook, size 10 – 12

Tag: Globrite floss, no.4

Rib: silver wire

Body: Black synthetic dubbing

Body hackle: short fibred black cock hackle

Thorax: Red fur

Cheeks: white turkey biots (yellow, sunburst or red biots are also alternatives)

Head hackle: Black cock, longer in fibre than the body hackle

Of course all of the foregoing patterns can be converted to snatchers with a little thought.

Oh, then we have tails. Some people like to have tails on all their flies so the Bibio grew a lime green tail which is particularly attractive to Rainbows (I can’t confirm this myself having never tried it but the fly certainly looks good)

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Lime Tail Bibio

Still with me? OK, now it gets interesting because one obvious addition to any bushy fly destined for the top dropper position on a cast is a muddler head. Tying a deer hair head on to the Bibio turned a good salmon fly into a great one. The choice of colour is usually between natural or dyed black and I much prefer the black option.

I could go on! Every season there is a new twist on the Bibio theme and they all catch a fish or two on their day. The essential essence of the fly has not changed though, black body with a dash of some colour in the middle and black body and head hackles. If I was restricted to just one Bibio it would be the Jungle Bunny for me.

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