Developed over 40 years ago by Major Charles Roberts of the Burrishoole Fishery in County Mayo, the Bibio has become one of the most highly regarded of all Irish wet-fly patterns.
It is a very dark fly with a strong silhouette, its black hackle and body lifted by a flash of colour at its centre. The body is divided into three sections: the front and rear are both made from black seal’s fur and are divided by red or orange fur.
Interestingly the original pattern was tied using hotorange fur for the middle section of the body but latterly this has usually been substituted with red to the extent that many anglers assume that this is the correct tying. Another variation, which has caught on recently, uses pearl tinsel as a rib to give the Bibio extra sparkle.
The name Bibio was coined because the fly was intended to represent the black-and-red heather fly and, while it works well when the natural is on the water, it is just as effective when fished as a general pattern. It is effective both for sea-trout and salmon, which are its original targets, and it is also a deadly fly for brown trout and rainbows.
As when tying other patterns with a palmered hackle wound the length of the body, the number of turns used dictates how bulky the finished fly will be. Keep a range of Bibios of different sizes and hackle densities in your box.
Hook Size 8-14 wet fly Thread Black
Rib Fine oval silver tinsel Body Black
and hot-orange or red seal’s fur Body
hackle Black cock hackle Collar hackle
Black cock hackle
1. With the hook fixed in the vice run the tying thread on at the eye. Carry it down the shank in close turns before catching in two inches of fine, oval silver tinsel at the bend.
2. Secure the waste end of the tinsel to the hook shank with close turns of thread. Next, take a pinch of black seal’s fur and apply it to lightly waxed thread.
3. Dub the fur on to the thread to form a rope then wind it from the bend to cover approximately one-third of the hook shank.
4. Take a pinch of dyed-orange seal’s fur and apply it to the thread in the same way as the black fur.
5. Wind it on the shank in close turns so that it forms a short middle section.
6. Apply a second pinch of black seal’s fur and wind this on to form the front section of the body, sandwiching the orange section.
7. Take a dyed-black cock hackle. Strip away the fibres from the base to leave a short section of bare stem and catch it in a short distance back from the eye.
8. Using hackle pliers, grasp the tip of the hackle and wind it down the body in open, evenly spaced turns.
9. Once the hackle has reached the end of the body, wind the silver tinsel up through it to lock it in place. Secure the tinsel at the eye and remove the excess plus the tip of the hackle. Catch in a second hackle at the eye.
10. Again, using hackle pliers wind three turns of the hackle at the eye. This hackle should have fibres slightly longer than the first one.
11. Secure the loose end of the hackle at the eye and remove the waste. Stroke the fibres back over the body and position with thread. Cast off the thread with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Bibio is a superb general wet-fly pattern and will catch trout and salmon on almost any natural lake or reservoir. It has also proved effective on rivers for both salmon and sea-trout.
W H E N
With its strong silhouette and water-moving hackle, the Bibio will catch fish right through the season. In rough conditions it pays to up the size of the fly used to an 8 or 10.
H O W
As a lake fly the Bibio is normally fished as part of a team either on a floating or intermediate line. Tied big, it makes a great topdropper fly but will work when positioned anywhere along the leader. On rivers it is normally fished as a dropper fly for summer salmon and sea-trout and worked through a wellrippled pool or tail.
T Y I N G T I P
Though the Bibio is normally tied with cock hackles for both body and collar, using a softer hen hackle just for the collar produces a denser effect.