Barr’s Slumpbuster by Steve Yates/Flyman

Hook: TMC 300 size 10
Thread: Uni 6/0 Olive
Cone: Brass or Tungsten
Lead Wire: .020
Body: Uni Flat Braid, Gold
Rib: Chartreuse Brassie size
Wing: Micro Pine Squirrel strip
Collar: Micro Pine Squirrel Zonker strip

The Slumpbuster is another great fly from the vise of John Barr of Copper John fame. The Slumpbuster is weighted at the front end to create a jigging action that fish find irresistible. Its Matuka style hair wing flows without fouling and its hair collar breathes even when the fly is at rest. It’s an easy fly to tie and holds up well to multiple fish. I like to fish the fly on a short, stout leader, about 5 or 6 feet of straight 2 or 3X. I cast the fly to likely holding places and retrieve it with a variety of retrieves until I find one the fish prefer for that day. I try to present the fly sideways or with a fleeing type presentation. Some times its long, slow strips, and some times its short, fast, erratic strips. You cannot strip a fly fast enough to keep it away from a fish that really wants it. Often times a trout will strike a bait fish to stun it, then turn back on it and consume it. I do one of two things when fish are doing this: I either strip faster, or I let the fly sit completely motionless. I’ve had fish take the fly both ways. I like this fly in Olive, Black, and Rusty Brown, but I’m sure any number of colors would do well. I’ve been meaning to try an all white version. With the high water we have had this fall and the large Browns being more aggressive this would be a good fly to fish now.

Step 1 

Step 1- Slide the cone onto the hook and wrap about 20 wraps of lead wire behind it. I like to use wire about the same size as the diameter of the hook. Be sure to shove the wire up into the cone to push it all the way to the hook eye and hold it in place.




Step 2 

Step 2- Cover the lead wire with thread and tie in your wire for the rib at the front of the fly. Now wrap the thread back and forward again several times and start to build up a slightly tapered body.




Step 3 


Step 3- Tie in the flat braid at the front of the fly just behind the cone.




Step 4 




Step 4- Wrap the flat braid to the rear of the fly in touching wraps. Lift the ribbing wire and make at least one wrap of flat braid behind the wire rib.




Step 5 


Step 5- Return the flat braid to the front of the body just behind the cone. Leave room to tie in the wing.


Step 6 


Step 6- Tie in the wing just behind the eye. The guard hairs should be pointing backwards towards the bend of the hook. The wing should be about 2 shank lengths long at this point.




Step 7 


Step 7- Wrap the rib through the hair wing. I find that it helps if I wet the wing just a little bit and gently rock and wiggle the wire between the guard hairs. Make 5 or 6 wraps and tie off behind the head. Leave enough room to tie in the Squirrel strip for the collar.



Step 8 

Step 8- Tie in the strip for the collar with the skin side to the front and the guard hairs pointing back towards the hook bend. Next, wrap the squirrel strip abound the hook 3 or 4 times brushing the hair back toward the bend with each wrap. This will help clear the way for the next wrap. Trim the excess and make a few tight turns of thread to cinch everything down and whip finish behind the cone. Finally trim the wing if needed, it should be about half a shank length to help keep it from fouling.


Step 9  Finished fly.

Questions and comments are always welcome. You can email me a

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