Conehead Rubber Bugger

Conehead Wooly Bugger flies produce big results in turbid waters.


The Conehead Crystal Bugger is a popular variation of the classic Wooly Bugger fly. The added flash and weight of this Wooly Bugger version make it a great fly when rivers run stained and a more visible fly becomes necessary making this old-stand-by even better.
In sizes: 4, 6.
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Overall: Show Rating Distribution 4.2 / 5 based on 12 reviews


10 of 12 reviewers would recommend this product to a friend.

  • 4/5


  • 5/5

    Solid Bass Fly - 12/31/2013
    By: from South Central Texas

    Gotta say these conehead rubber buggers are in my top choices. I prefer the size 4 and have caught some really solid Bass...with a few over 5lbs. Also have caught some chunky sunfish way bigger than my hand. I prefer the olive over other colors, but have all of the Orvis colors and caught fish on all of them. It is a great fly for suspending Bass. I am using an 8wt rod with a Bass taper floating line and these fly's cast smooth.

  • 1/5

    the rubber turns to a sticky paste - 12/1/2013

    if you don't use them and lose them immediately, the rubber starts to get soft and turns into a sticky mess. go for the tunghead buggers - these are straight garbage.

  • 1/5

    Ink bleeds a ton - 9/3/2013
    By: from Virginia

    Orvis is a great company with quality products, usually.I have to be honest. I have had luck with this style of fly..the rubber legs move well and has been a good representation of a a leech or hellgrammite. However, the ink appears to not be set correctly and once wet stains your hands black (for the black flies)... I had two orders of these be the same way and bled horribly once wet. Not only is this a pain but pollutes the watershed. The ink needs to be set correctly. Now I tie my own.

  • 5/5

    Cone Head Rubber Bugger = Big Bass - 3/24/2013
    By: from South Central Texas

    Never tried the rubber bugger, but when I saw it on the Orvis web site it made good sense that Largemouth Bass would tear this up. I tried one out recently and it worked like a champ. I used size #4....big enough to attrack the bass, but still a fly so different and does not look like what a typical conventional bass fisherman would toss in the water. I will be buying more of these!!!

  • 4/5

    Excellent fly - 2/2/2013
    By: from Southwest Virginia

    Great fly. I have found it to be a little clunky for trout, but have caught a few dead drifting or on the swing. I use this most often for carp. Let it sink and wait to see a tailer. Give a short strip to make a puff of dust in the water and then wait.

  • 5/5

    Will attract big fish - 11/22/2011
    By: from New Hampshire
    Top 100 Contributor

    Have caught many fish on this fly, from big browns to large mouth bass, this fly is a must for the box.

  • 5/5

    Highly Recommended - 5/12/2011

    I was fishing on the Teton River in Idaho the water was a little murky but not too bad.I was using nymphs for a while then switched to a little black bugger and got one hit after about 60 casts. It didn't seem like it would end up being good so I looked in my fly box for patterns I hadn't used before. I chose the ConeHead Bugger,I threw it out and let it drift under a willow then I stripped it in quickly first cast I caught a nice Cutthroat trout and almost every cast after that I caught a good fish.

  • 5/5

    great bugger - 12/30/2009

    great bugger, was a little scared thinking it was too orange but it worked like a charm. actually my brother bought it and I said let me have it, tried it maybe 10 times and caught 18 inch brown on it, december 2009

  • 5/5

    Rubber Bugger - 1/8/2009
    By: from Lancaster County Pa. U.S.A.

    I bought these for a hard fished stream thinking its something new and they would like it. They did and now im on my last one ! Buy a dozen and catch more fish than you will on any other bugger.

Learn More

Conehead Rubber Bugger

The Conehead Rubber Bugger: Rubber Material Gives An Old Favorite Streamer New Life

Nothing is really new these days they say. Well I guess that’s true for the most part. All the new flies out there really are a variation on something else. It’s really the materials that limit everything. And recently I found a new material that makes one of the best flies in your box–new or old–even better.

I’m the founder and president of a fly tying company so I get to experiment with and develop new materials all the time. A few years ago I started looking at a new material that our partner, and Hot Glue Guru, Doug Brewer found. We now call it “Tentacles.”

It’s basically a fine diameter spandex material, like Super Floss, but much finer. Doug Swisher and I started playing with it to find new applications and hopefully some “new” flies. Doug Swisher has been experimenting with dubbing brushes for a while and decided to put the Tentacles in a wire dubbing brush. He sent me some samples of his new Tentacle dubbing brush creation and called it “Rubber Hackle.” I immediately starting thinking about all the new possibilities this application created, and of course my first thought was “Wooly Bugger”.

I guided all over Montana for ten years before starting my fly company. I quickly learned that streamer fishing is the most productive way to regularly catch large trout. I found that the more alive you can make the fly appear in the water the better the results. Of course a lot has to do with how you make the fly “swim” in the water, much like a puppeteer, but you can’t overlook the materials and how they move and breathe when the fly is swimming.

Recalling all this from the days before I was a desk jockey, I got excited about the streamer applications for Tentacles used in a dubbing brush or dubbing loop.

One of my favorite streamers has always been a Conehead Crystal Bugger, which is one of the first variations on a Wooly Bugger. It adds just the right amount of flash and weight to make the old-stand-by even better. I didn’t think there was much more you could do to it, until I saw Swisher’s use of tentacles in rubber hackle. I then substituted the tentacles for the saddle hackle in the Conehead Crystal Bugger and coined the name “Rubber Bugger.” I wanted to get a good mottling effect so I put several different colors of tentacles in the first dubbing brush. My favorite color combination is black and yellow, which I incorporated in the Black Rubber Bugger. Other good color combinations are brown, orange/yellow/brown (Halloween Rubber Bugger), and Brown and Olive (Olive Rubber Bugger). Since Tentacles are a fine diameter and are a flexible material, they move and react with even the slightest wiggle of your rod or strip of your line. Every time you stop your line to grab the next strip they spring out. Every time you make your next strip they suck back into the body. This pulsating movement has proven to really turn the fish on.

My first real test of the effectiveness of this new fly was last year on Norman Maclean’s famed Blackfoot River outside Missoula, Montana. There were Salmon Flies in the air, but the fish had not keyed on them yet. The water was just coming down from spring runoff and starting to clear – a perfect streamer opportunity.

I tied on the new creation, a black version, and was ready to try it out. An old guide buddy of mine was at the oars rowing feverishly to hold water, which would enable me to get a good swing with the new streamer. My third cast was downstream from the boat and tight to the bank, inside a seam in a slow pocket caused by a big boulder. No sooner than I twitched the fly after my first strip when the line tightened and a large boil appeared. I set the hook and the fish took me out into the swift current and started running... upstream.

My guide buddy rowed me over to the bank as quickly as he could so I could get out of the boat and chase the fish upstream. After a good battle against the fish, and the current, I landed the 5-pound brown and had to wonder if there was something to this new creation, or if it was just a fluke. That fish was the largest I landed that day, but my friend and I ended up with more then 2 dozen large Browns and Rainbows that afternoon, none of them smaller than 16 inches.

Feedback on this fly has been remarkable. Guides and fishermen from Vermont to Colorado and of course, Montana, have had the same results I had, proving this pattern to be a long time winner, until the next new wave of materials comes about... which may be a while.

-by Adam Trina

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