If you look closely, you'll see a black bead head woolly bugger in the mouth of the fish. Let me tell you that is one of my favorite flies. Let me explain.....
If you told me that I could only ever use one fly again, I'd pick - without hesitation - a black woolly bugger. Pound for pound it's one of the most consistently effective fly patterns ever created. There are many reasons for this. First, the woolly bugger is one of those flies that look like it could be something, & it looks like nothing specific all at the same time. It could be a crayfish if you creep it along the bottom. It could be a bait fish if you strip it & give it motion. It could be a hellgrammite or some other large form of nymph or larva. Sometimes you can never be sure what the fish took it for, but take it they do.
The palmered soft hackle & the marabou tail of this fly give it motion & life in the water. The slightest movement will make the feathers undulate in a very good way. It looks very much alive to the fish. Because of this, it's effective even when you drift this fly in a drag free drift down stream. You can also fish it sideways to the current, or even against it in some cases & this fly will produce.
Okay, so why black? Well, because the black color gives a more definite silhouette in all kinds of water. It will show up in murky water, or when the sun is high & bright. It can easily be seen by the fish when the light is low & conditions are darker. If you could only pick one fly for fishing below the surface, choose a black one.
The black woolly bugger has saved me from getting skunked more times than I can count through the years. It's the fly I fish when I don't know what to try, when I'm exploring new water, or on those days when nothing seems to work. Get a day along the stream where the flies that should be getting you fish aren't for some reason unknown to you? Tie on a black woolly bugger in an appropriate size for the water you're fishing.
This was the first fly I ever learned to tie many years ago. It was my fist tie because it's so simple & basic. It's a great pattern to introduce someone to fly tying with. But it's one of those patterns you'll fish all your life because it just catches fish!!