After watching a guy pull fish after fish after fish out of a lake recently, I ask him (while we were putting our gear in our cars) what he'd been using. He showed me a wooley bugger with a very long black tail, red body, black hackle and silver mylar ribbing. That version has been added to my bugger box.
I tied up a few red and black ones. I'll give them a try. I also use purple and black they seem to work well. My favorite and most productive seems to be olive with with light brown hackle palmered. Probably represents damsel fly nymph.
You might also try tying mini-buggers. These are tied on smaller hooks. Instead of using chennille, after securing the tail with a couple thread wraps, you continue wrapping the hook shank forward with the marabou to form the body. There are actually several different ways of making mini-buggers, but that's the route I took to make mine.
Try one with "Halloween New Age Chenille" palmered with black hackle and black marabou tail, with or without a gold beadhead, size 10.
This and a blacker version tied with "Black Pearl New Age Chenile" for the body were my 'go to" buggers last year and they drew lots of strikes. Size 10 was working great!
Olive, palmered in brown, with a big red thread head is a good one. I gave one of these in size 6 to a buddy of mine to troll with his spinning rod and some split shot, and he came back begging me to tie him up some more.
Grizzly is good. I had one good one tied up last year, size 8, with a brown marabou tail, and it was slaying 'em until I lost it. I'm not surprised I haven't tied up some replacements, since I'm so disorganized.
Yup. Those sizes with 2XL or 3XL length shanks. I usually tie in some wire first, marabou second (securing the tail, winding the marabou forward to make the body, and then securing it with a couple of thread wraps behind the eye), tie in the hackle by the butt behind the eye and palmer it back to where the tail thread wraps are and the wire is sticking out. I then take two or three turns of the wire to tie down the hackle and then wind the wire forward through the hackle, to further secure the stem down against the body, until just back behind the eye. Secure the wire with a couple of thread turns and whip finish.
The bits of fluff sticking out of the marabou body will add a little bulk between the hackle, but, overall, this will be a fairly slender fly. It's always good to have a few in different colors. The limitation of this design is that the tail color will determine the body color. You can mix the hackle color against the tail and body color, but you won't have the color combinations available with your standard woolly bugger. Nonetheless, the advantage of the mini-bugger is its small size.