Whether or not you consider it a fly, there are few flies better suited to fly fishing high water than the San Juan Worm. I have no problem carrying worm patterns to effectively fish high water, or low water for that matter. To me, fishing a San Juan style fly to match the real worms that trout have no problem eating just makes sense. But then again, that’s me. If you refuse to fish San Juan Worms then so be it.
If you dislike a San Juan Worm, you will most certainly hate a Squirmy Worm. And come to think of it you will probably dislike the Sparkle Worm also. Both of them are other variations of the San Juan Worm that I also like to carry.
In pretty much every style of worm that I tie, I am prepared to fish in Red, Pink, and Tan colors. Although, other colors get thrown into the mix from time to time, such as Purple, or Burnt Orange.
Over the years, I’ve played around with using or not using beads on my worm patterns. In lower, clear water I tend to stay away from beadhead style patterns. In higher, dirtier water I tend to almost always use beadhead style patterns. I’ve really become a fan of using an Anodized Pink bead on many of the patterns. An Anodized Pink bead can be a great addition to red, pink, purple, and even tan worm patterns. Not only does it provide weight, but an Anodized Pink bead could be a trigger point or hot spot. Some of this I think could be because the clitellum of an earthworm is sort of a differentiated “pinkish” segment.
If you’re not too much of a “purist”, spin up a few San Juan Worms and the other variations to try. These flies could catch fish any day, but when you find yourself faced with high, off color water you’ll be glad you have them.
San Juan Worm Material List:
- Hook: Hanak Superb Jig Hook Size 16
- Bead: Anodized Pink Slotted Tungsten 3/32
- Thread: Red 6/0 Uni
- Ribbing: UTC Small Red Wire
- Body: Red Vernille (Burning the ends with a lighter can add to the attractiveness of the profile.)
Sparkle Worm Variation: A #14 Sparkle Worm tied using Pink Pearl Core Braid
Body Material: Hareline Pearl Core Braid
Tip: Melting the ends with a lighter will increase durability and add to the profile. Pearl Core Braid melts quickly. Be careful this melting process doesn’t leave your worm ends too short.
Squirmy Worm Variation: A Pink Squirmy Worm tied on a Hanak 450BL Superb Jig # 14 with a 7/64 Anodized Pink Slotted Tungsten Bead.
Body Material: Hareline Casters Squirmito
- Exposing this material to head cement or excessive heat will cause your worm to melt or deteriorate.
- Using thin thread, or tight thread wraps will cut this material while you are tying it in. Try larger sizes of thread and start with loose thread wraps to avoid frustration.
- Purists Beware. If you are too “pure” of a fly fisherman these patterns will be certain to ruin your soul.