The Crystal Bugger is a simple variation of the Woolly Bugger
utilizing Crystal Chenille for the body. Bill Schiess is first noted to use this material on Henry's Lake
in Idaho for the damselfly hatch in the 1980's with his Light Olive Crystal. Most popular color patterns are: Black, Olive, Copper, Fiery Brown, and
Purple. In some of the color variation patterns, there is a preference to remain with a Black Marabou Tail
and Black Hackle while just changing the crystal chenille color. Modifications can include a beadhead,
lead eyes, and rubberlegs. When selecting a hackle, look for a triangular shape feather with plenty of web. The softer webby fibers will move well within the water. Also, look for a well-tapered hackle so that the fiber lengths show a definite taper down towards the tail. Whiting makes Bugger packs already selected for these types of feathers. The Whiting American Saddles will also have these types of hackles as well. The tying instructions that I have posted for this pattern attached the hackle by the butt end behind the eye and is wrapped back to the tail. This hackle is secured by a wire ribbing that is reversed-wrapped forward. Use of this wire ribbing greatly reinforces the hackle from coming undone while in use. However, another popular method is to attach the hackle by the tip at the tail tie-in position and wrap the hackle forward with or without a ribbing. The tail can be either Blood Marabou or Plume Marabou. If using Plume Marabou, you will need to trim the fibers from the quill keeping the tips even. Blood Marabou is a little easier as you will use the entire feather and the tips will remain even as they are attached to the immature quill stem. The additional advantage of Blood Marabou is that the fibers will tend to be longer and you will have sufficient material to secure over the leadwraps that you may have used for weighting the pattern.
J. Fair makes a crystal chenille that is marketed as Long Shuck and Short Shuck. The thread core is dyed as well to give a better appearance. Stillwater Guide Lincoln Gray has a nice variation of the Crystal Bugger with his TS Bugger using J. Fair Shuck material. His TS Bugger often has Hex Nymph colorations of a Golden Yellow hackle and Medium Olive Shuck but this pattern is also tied in other colorations such as Dark Olive, Fiery Rust, and Brown Olive. Lincoln uses the TS Bugger about 12-15 inches behind his Hex Nymph pattern while fishing his favorite stillwater, Lake Almanor, and it is slowly stripped with a sinking or intermediate line. Another popular pattern is called the Bulldog by Don Freschi, a Canadian fly fishing personality with a television production, Fishing on the Fly. Don utilizes two colorations of hackles to provide a blend that offers a provocative shading. The pattern has proved to be very effective in California stillwaters such as Crowley Lake, Lake Davis, and Twin Lakes.