Wet Burrito
Contributed by Fred Vargas

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Fly Tying Terms

Fred Vargas watched Dave Whitlock tie this type of fly and liked the simplicity of the pattern. It also intrigued him because he knew it would work on his home waters of the Muskegon River [Michigan]. Fred liked the overall design and the materials used on the fly, but he thought he needed to eliminate a few of the bells and whistles. He guides fly anglers on the Muskegon River and needs flies that are simple to tie, yet effective, simply because of the nature of the river. The Muskegon was a logging river, so there are snags lurking at the bottom that devour flies when an angler is trying to get them down to the fish. The depth and current requires the use of a 300-grain sinking line to get the fly down to the popular steelhead on the Muskegon River. With this type of rig an angler can lose a lot of flies.

Fred explains, "Patterns used for guiding have to be effective, yet easy and quick to tie. When I find something that I think will work with a few minor changes I will tie them. In this case, the Wet Burrito was an instant success."

Whitlock's original is called the Sheep Minnow. Tied as a bass streamer, the pattern is varied to imitate bluegill, crappie, and shad. Some were tied sparely to run deep in the water, while others were laden with wool to make them swim with more action. You can find this pattern in Fly Patterns of Umpqua Feather Merchants.

"I added a flash tail and the dubbed body to this pattern while leaving out the outer wing and eyes. When you look at Whitlock's original recipe in the book, I think you'll understand about the bells and whistles," Fred says.

He enjoys the simplicity of the fly, but that does not take away from its effectiveness. The flash and overall white color of the fly work very well on steelhead rivers, especially when the water is somewhat off color or murky. The red throat adds the strike-triggering color and represents gills. And trout like it.

Materials for the Wet Burrito

    Hook: 7X Streamer, size 4 Daiichi 2370

    Stinger: Scud Hook, size 10 Tiemco 2457

    Thread: White 6/0, Gudebrod

    Tail: Krystal Flash, pearl

    Body: Lite-Brite Dubbing, white (Spirit River Inc.) Lite-Brite Dubbing red

    Belly: White wool

    Underwing: Krystal Flash, pearl

    Wing: White wool, topped with gray wool

    Overwing: Krystal Flash, peacock colored.

Method for the Wet Burrito

    1. Prepare the stinger hook before tying this fly. Any stiff bite tippet of 40-pound test will work to attach the stinger hook to the main hook. We are using brown Maxima on this example. Snell the stinger hook using a nail knot tool. This works really well with a three-turn nail knot. Start the thread on the main hook at the one third point and wrap to the back creating a smooth thread base. Move the thread back to the one third point. With the hook point up, secure the stinger hook on the fore side of the hook and wrap to the back of the hook. Move thread forward again. Pull the tag end of the bite tippet back, lay it on the far side of the hook, and wrap back with very tight wraps. Trim excess tippet and drop a spot of super glue on the thread wraps to lock the stinger hook in place. Add several turns of .030 lead wire in front of the stinger-hook tie-in point to about the ¾ point of the hook shank and lock it in place with thread.

    2. Secure 13 strands of Krystal Flash at the back of the hook for the tail. Half jokingly, I asked Fred to be more precise about the number of strands. He jumped right in and said he does count them because he wants all of his flies to be consistent. Consistency is an inherent, spiritual trait of a pro tier. Length is up to the tier, however, cutting the strands right at the point of the stinger hook looks pretty good. Save this bundle of flash for later use. Wet them with a little spit to keep them together.

    3. Dub the body to the ¾ point of the hook. Taper the dubbing slightly as you go forward. Dub a red throat area to the seven eights point of the hook. The dubbing should be pretty rough looking with loose fibers of the Lite-Brite sticking out around the hook shank.

    4. Take the 13 strands of Krystal Flash you used for the tail and secure them on top of the hook. Make sure the strands extend beyond the stinger hook on the back. Separate the strands hanging out over the eye and pull them back and under the hook shank. Make a wrap or two to lock them in place. Trim the strands under the hook at the hook point. Trim the strands on top of the hook to the point of the stinger hook, even with the tail.

    5. Take a patch of white wool and comb out the fibers with a fine-toothed comb. A pet brush works very well to fluff the fibers up. Snip out a clump about the size of a wooden match stick. Secure it under the hook so that the tips extend back to the inside of the bend. Trim excess. Cut out another lump of white wool about twice as nick as the first. Secure it on top of the hook with the tips extending back to he point of the stinger hook. Comb out patch of gray wool and snip out a lump about the size of a wooden latch stick. Secure it on top of the white wool so the tips of both clumps are even. Make sure to put a drop or two of head cement at the wool tie-in point to help lock it in place.

    6. Add 8 or 10 strands of peacock-colored Krystal Flash for a topping and whip finish. ~ Marty Bartholomew

    Publisher's Note: Stinger or double hooks are not legal everywhere. Please check the regulations before you use such flies.

    Credits: From Tying Flies Like a Pro by Marty Bartholomew. Published by Frank Amato Publications.

    For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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