Booby Specific Twist

Booby Specific Twist

Martyn White | Thursday, 20 May 2021

I've been tying a big batch of boobies for a friend who fishes a lot of competitions recently. I don't tie many of them any more as I don't have much use for them in my fishing so it was a nice change from the usual warm water flies and traditional wet flies. Well, the first dozen anyway.

I like boobies. I know not everyone does and they've been tarnished a bit by the way they used to be most commonly fished- static on a fast sinking line and short leader, essentially like ledgering a bait.  It often results in very deeply hooked fish making release impossible and has led to the fly being banned on certain waters, it's also super boring. But there's no need to fish the booby this way, and I'm a bit surprised the method still persists. They're incredibly versatile, especially when fished in a team of flies.  point or top dropper on any line from floater to the fastest sinker they can be ripped stripped, popped and crawled, used to attract fish to more natural patterns or  hold them up in the water column slowing their sink rate when the fish are feeding near the surface, they can be tied smaller and in more suggestive colours to imitate invertebrates and at fry time the booby minky is hard to beat, and not just for stocked fish, big wild fish will eat them too-no matter what the purists say.

Since I spoke to my pal about the flies he wanted I have wondering about the eyes on boobies.  I asked him about the eyes and he told me he wanted "they perfectly round 7mm jobs you do". That's fine, pre forming the eyes is boring but there is some satisfaction in ending up with a big pile of them ready to go.  The thing is, while making the eyes I started to think about the purpose of the booby and the function of the eyes. Everybody wants nice round eyes on their boobies, but I wonder if keeping the ends square or even using a cuboid of foam rather than a cylinder wouldn't make a functionally better eye for boobies that are going to be actively fished.  A 7mm cube has greater volume than a 7mm diameter sphere so you get more buoyancy from a square eye, which is kind of the point of them.  They Square front is  bigger and less hydrodynamic so you get better displacement, which creates more turbulence to make the wing and tail swim but perhaps more importantly makes the fly easier for fish to locate with the lateral line. If it's easier to find it's easier to eat, or even just bring an investigative fish to the team where it might eat the middle dropper rather than the booby. Square eyes also move a bit more themselves and seem to give the fly a bit more of a shimmy on the strip- but it's hard to measure that.

When I called my mate back and asked if he fancied any square eyed flies he declined. Twist was the main objection and it's something to consider, but I think it's a bit of a red herring.  Booby specific twist generally stems from the eyes being attached unevenly causing the fly to propeller on the cast.  In my limited tests down the lake I havent found evenly attached square eyes to cause tiwst. I wonder if the margin for error is smaller though, which might put some people off after trying a square eyed fly. 

I suspect that even if I'm right, square eyes won't become popular.  Round eyes look so much better to most anglers, they're what's expected, they're nice and look finished whereas square eyes are a bit incongruos and seem rough and unfinished like someone just couldn't be bothered shaping them properly rather than a functional choice.  It's a pity because I'm pretty sure I am right.