SBS Zoo Cougar

Big E

Active Member
Trying to knock out two requests here; one by Bill on how to do a Muddler head and also by Thomas for a Zoo Cougar. This fly, designed by Kelly Galloup, is representative of a sculpin. The Zoo Cougar is unweighted and designed to be fished in the top few feet of the water column as dictated by the type of sinking line used with it.

Hook: TMC 5263 #4
Thread: GSP 200
Tail: Marabou
Body: White Catus Chenille
Underwing: White Calf Tail
Overwing: Mallard Flank
Head: Deer Hair

Put your hook in the vice and start your thread at the 2/3 point. This will be a reference point not to go past for the body and where the head will start. The other reference point is the start of the barb.

Tie in two marabou feathers, one on each side. You want them about the length of the shank. Tie down the stems up each side of the shank, not going past your reference point. Wet the feather to control it a bit more. Again, stop your thread at the start of the barb.

Wrap the chenille body up to your reference point.

Tie in an underwing of calf tail. It is now okay to go past your reference point.

Select two mallard flank feathers that have a straight shaft. The one on the right should not be used as it has a curve to the shaft and will effect the swim of the fly.

Marry the feathers and tie them on the top of the hook. You want them to go just past the marabou. Make sure they go straight down the hook shank. If one feather is shorter than the other, put it on the bottom.

Select some nice deer hair. Here you can see a good example; not much underfur which indicates that it is an early season deer, good length with a nice black line distinguishing where the hollow hair ends, and courseness with crinkled hair.

Clip off about 1-1/2 pencil width of hair and run it through your comb.

Big E

Active Member
Notice the underfur that comes out.

Stack the hair to even the tips and measure from the eye to about where your body starts.

Transfer the hair to your non-dominant hand and trim the butt ends.

Take one gathering wrap about an 1/8" from your cut. Hold the hair firmly on top of the hook.

Take a second wrap in the same place as the first. Make it a bit tighter. Keep holding the hair on top of the hook.

Take a third tight wrap, push your thumb into the hair, and then a take couple more wraps thru the bulbous end created. If you did it properly, the hair will have not spun around the hook and the bottom will be free of hair.

Notice how the hair creates a 'sunburst' effect. This is the same technique used to tie very clean Elk Hair Caddis.

Take another bunch of hair; about a pencil width and clean it. Trim the butt ends and tips. Take one wrap in the center of your hair bundle to gather it up while still holding the hair on top of the hook. Take a second, tighter wrap, and then another half wrap. Let go of the hair and pull the thread towards your belly and up to your chest. The hair should spin around the hook.

Zig-zag your thread thru the hair to the front. Do not pack the hair as you want this fly to absorp water.

Big E

Active Member
Tie in a second smaller bunch of hair in the same manner.

Pull the hair back and whip finish.

Flip the fly over and using a double sided razor blade you want to make a flat cut.

Draw the razor thru the hair. Keep it right off the eye of the hook. Here is the fly after one swipe with the razor. Don't worry about the outside hair just yet.

Flip the fly back over. Double over the razor blade to the shape you want. From the hook eye, push the razor up at an angle until you get to the collar. You'll notice the hair change from clipped tips to the collar because of the steps beforehand.

Here is the fly after one swipe. Notice how the further back on the head the cut ends start blending into the collar.

Turn the vice straight away from you and, with scissors, trim both sides.

Clean up a bit more with the razor until you get your desired shape.


zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
Thank you very much. I had an idea the collar was tied on separate and not fully spun ala the deer hair head. Now to conquer the muddler known as the thin mint. Nicely trimmed head!!


Active Member
That's the first time I've seen the collar tied in separately. Great fly, thanks for sharing. I've been working on Bow River Buggers and variations, so seeing what you've been doing helps me fine tune my approach. I've been tying up an all grizzly maribou body/deer hair head fly (waste troll muddler is what I'm calling it right now) that looks very similar to the Zoo Cougar

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