This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the LaFontaine Bead Head Marabou Worm.

LaFontaine Bead Head Marabou Worm |

Gary’s original Marabou Worm was presented in his book – Trout Flies Proven Patterns. He received feedback from a few friends who had added a bead head to the fly with increased success. And Gary always wanted to know why?

He sent divers into the water to watch the fly as it was fished through the water. They found the fly tumbled with the bead head. Convinced, the Bead Head Marabou Worm went forward. For the record, the white incorporated in the tail is called a “tail float”, a small piece of cylindrical foam.

The fly imitates a worm and can be tied in olive, gray, red, or black.

For complete tying instructions how to tie the fly, be sure to pick up a copy of LaFontaine’s Legacy. Just follow the link below.

I’ve known of Al and Gretchen for several years and they are truly masters at the vise! In fact, Al is the 1999 recipient of the FFI Buz Buszek Fly Tying Award, an honor for any fly tyer! In addition, both were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 from Fly Tyer magazine.

In 2016 while I was attending the Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo, Al offered to provide a fly for my Throw Back Thursday Fly post. I took him up on it and the Lady Heather Double Wing was published in March of that year.

At this year’s Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo, Al offered to give me a box of flies he and Gretchen tied for their LaFontaine’s Legacy book. I couldn’t believe it. I said “thanks for trusting me with these. I’ll be sure to publish them in future RiverKeeper Flies TBT posts.”

And here it is.

This is a brief quote I used in the Lady Heather Double Wing post:

“Gary LaFontaine became world famous for his innovative trout fly patterns. But his life was cut short when he died of ALS in 2002. His final designs, however, were left in the caring hands of friend, author, and professional tyer Al Beatty, who proceeded to tie and photograph LaFontaine’s final set of undocumented patterns to create this book. Here are full-color photos and instructions on how to tie each of LaFontaine’s last designs, showing each step in detail. This is a beautiful book, essential to every fly tyer, that is also a loving tribute to an innovative sportsman.”

If you’d like to purchase their book, it will provide more background for each of the 26 listed flies, along with the fly pattern sheet and tying directions.

Another option is to purchase a Kindle edition for information about tying the flies.

Other LaFontaine featured flies include the Lady Heather Double Wing,  Flex SculpinEZ2C CaddisEZ2C Mayfly, EZ2C MidgeEZ2C StoneflyFluttering StoneAntron Bi-Visible, and the Drunken Sailor. You’ll see more of Gary LaFontaine’s flies in the near future.

Enjoy…go fish!

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One Comment

  1. Hi John,
    As always, thanks for sharing Gary’s flies with your readers. The BHMW is one of the craziest looking flies Gary developed AND one of the more effective. It is especially attractive to fish that have been fished over a lot and tend to turn away from other, more realistic patterns. Its crazy action drives shy trout (and other fish) crazy! AND it’s so easy to tie!!!
    Tight Lines – (Gretchen &) Al Beatty

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