Tying bucktails to ride upside down?


New Member
Hello everybody... my question is: when tying bucktails, is the color "white" always on top, with the other colors on the bottom? I am getting ready to tie some using baitfish heads, which allow the fly to ride upside-down if so desired. Since the "heads" are put on after the fly is tied, if white is always on the top, I would have to tie with the hook point pointing up in my vise... would be nice to know if I should turn the hook upside down, tie in the white bucktail and then turn the vise so the point is facing down to finish adding the other colors of bucktails, which would then be on the natural bottom of the hook.


Active Member
Not sure I totally understand your question, but I tie my bucktails so the fished fly in the water will have lighter on the bottom/ventral side and darker on the top/dorsal side.

Mark Mercer

The white is on top if the fly will ride upside down like a clouser with the other materials tied on the other side of the hook. I've not used baitfish heads so don't know if they make the fly ride upside down ? If they don't and the fly rides the same way it's in the vise the white BT would be the first material tied on with the other materials tied on top of that. I guess this is your question ? Hope it answers it ? I'm confused :)


New Member
Zak: that makes sense; when you look at a trout, the bottom of it is almost white, which I would imagine is the same for bait fish... I think that cleared it up for me... so if I want the hook to ride with the point up, the lighter color, in this case white, would be on the bottom, with the other colors on top of the hook shank.


Active Member
WFF Supporter
It is kind of a cool adaptation many animals have which I think is called “counter shading” it is obvious for fish because looking up at the sky is light so their ventral side is light and looking down is dark so there dorsal side is dark..but what I found interesting is how counter shading can cause an animal like a deer to be difficult to see (or a fish from its side) When the light falls on there back (which is where it would most often fall) their darker back looks more similar to their lighter colored belly..this breaks up their silhouette making a 3D object look flat and it tricks the eye (at least mine). With a bucktail having it reversed might be good also making your fly to look like an injured baitfish..


Active Member
What happen if you ty the barbell on the bottom of the shank does it still flip over?
Nope. It will still dive, though, so long as the eyes are on the front half of the hook. I think they might interfere with hooking because they would block the hook gap. I've seen hooks that have a dip in the shank that these eyes can fit in and not flip the hook.


I can think of several patterns where barbell eyes are tied under the shank (fly rides hook point down) and they don't interfere with the gape. Maybe on short-shank hooks.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
Light(er) on the bottom and dark(er) on the top is generally the rule, but I don’t think a lot of patterns stay exactly like that on the retrieve and definitely not like that drop if you are using dumbbell eyes.
Also with baitfish, rather then white for the belly, consider using colors like lighter pink, gray or yellows to name a few colors.
Lastly, consider solid colors like chartreuse, pink, black, olive or white.
When the fish are ready to eat, I don’t think having a lighter belly is always the trigger to making them take your fly. The action can play just as big of part as color.
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Cheek Meat

New Member
I read that the resistance from the looser bucktail making up the "back" has more to do with riding hook point up than the dumbbells do. Watching chewed up clousers swim makes me believe its true

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