Eggie Special – the real pattern

Eggie Bugby

Eggie Bugby

Back in April I posted here on FrankenFly information I had found on the Eggie Special. The old Grayling, Michigan pattern information was taken from a fly tied by Bob Smock. I assumed Bob had tied the Eggie Special to the original recipe, but now I know that it was a little different. A few weeks ago, I had the very pleasant surprise of receiving a comment from Eggie Bugby’s grandson, Dale. He explained that his father, Robert, 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!

Below 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 want to dedicate this post to my friend Tom Deschaine, who passed away May 31st, 2014. Tom ran the website and would have been as excited as I am about this classic Michigan dry fly.

Eggie Special

Eggie Special

Eggie Special material list:

Hook: Mustad #94840 Size: 10-12
Thread: Black, 6/0
Tail: Turkey Tail fibers, 3 to 4
Body: Pale Yellow Wool
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.


-Paul J. Beel


Filed under Classic, Michigan, Trout flies

8 Responses to Eggie Special – the real pattern

  1. very cool piece of Michigan Fly history~
    Thank you for sharing!!
    Tight Lines,

  2. Thank you Paul for caring about fly fishing and the traditions. Eggie Bugby was born in 1886 in Pinconning Michigan and lived in Grayling hunting and fishing until his death in 1964. He would be happy to know that future anglers can now use some of his river guide expertise.

  3. Jerry Bugby

    I’m happy to see one of Granddad’s fly patterns on your site. When the Eggie is floating, there aren’t many brookies in Michigan that can resist it. Thanks for keeping the tradition alive.

  4. Pingback: Tippets: Consumerism and Fly Fishing, Eel River Gone Dry, “Eggie Special” History | MidCurrent

  5. Rob Woodland

    Paul, thank you so much for this post. Last winter while exploring Grayling flies and tiers I fell short of success regarding Eggie and his special. My search led me to Bob Smock’s pattern provided by his son Joe. I spoke to Tom Deschaine regarding that fly and pointed out that I could not verify its complete accuracy. I am pleased that you were able to succeed where I failed. Keep up the good work.