Guest Blogger: Paul Beel, Frankenfly
The Eggie Special is a classic Michigan dry fly that was designed by a Grayling, Michigan fly fishing legend, Eggie Bugby. This fly is known throughout the area, but intricate details have been difficult to solidify. Until now.
I noticed one day last year that fly fisherman and former guide, Robert Woodland, posted a photo of the Eggie Special tied by the late Bob Smock, another legendary fly tyer from Grayling. I thought this might be a correct version, but it wasn’t.
I posted about the pattern and I had the very pleasant surprise of receiving a comment from Eggie Bugby’s grandson, Dale, on FrankenFly. He explained that his father, Robert Bugby, now 88 years old, had the correct material information about the Eggie Special pattern. I was thrilled! So I called Eggie’s son, Robert, soon after, to talk with him about his father, Eggie and the legendary Eggie Special fly pattern.
Robert explained that Bob Smock didn’t have the correct wing material because that is the closest type of hackle tips he had at the time to the original. The actual wing material used was a dark barred ginger variant. It looks like brown grizzly in color. There was something else that was different, but I didn’t know it at the time.
I asked Robert if he had any flies tied by his dad or if he had any that he tied that showed the fly in detail. He did, but sadly, they were eaten away by moths. I talked with Robert more about Eggie and other patterns he tied like the “Badger” and “Grasshopper.” Eggie used to sell his flies for 15 to 35 cents at the novelty store and from his home. He had a shop beside his house. He would fish the Au Sable River two to three times a week. Robert grew up fishing with his dad and learning to tie the patterns that caught tons of fish.
A few days later, I spoke with Dale again through email. He informed me they were sending me a package that included a photo of Eggie and not only that, but an actual fly they found that was tied by Eggie himself and it was intact! Yes, INTACT! I couldn’t believe it! I was like that kid on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when he found that golden ticket!
This is the fly that Eggie tied. An actual Eggie Special. The photo was taken by me of the fly I received in the mail from the Bugby’s. The other difference I mentioned earlier was that it had grizzly and brown hackle in the front around the wings and not just brown. I didn’t realize this until I studied the fly myself. So finally, after so many years, we finally know what the actual pattern is for the Eggie Special. I list the materials below the photo. I want to thank the Bugby family for being so generous and helpful.
I think it’s important to try and save information about these old patterns so they are not lost forever. Sometimes it is very difficult to gather information on certain old patterns because the details have been lost somewhere along the way.
I have also included a photo of an Eggie Special tied by me with the correct materials.
Eggie Special Dry Fly Material List
Hook: Mustad #94840 Size: 10-12
Thread: Black, 6/0
Tail: Turkey Tail Fibers, 3 to 4
Body: Pale Yellow Wool - yarn
Wing: Dark Barred Ginger hackle tips, upright and divided
Hackle: Rhode Island Red (Brown) Hackle, palmered the full length of the body. Brown and Grizzly hackle wrapped around wings near head of the fly.