How to tie the Squirmy Wormy

This pattern is called the squirmy wormy. I didn't choose the name...thats what its called. Does a name really matter if it catches fish? In my opinion, No. Anyways back to the fly. It imitates a San Juan worm. I have tried other san juan patterns with thin chenille in red, but have not had any luck. I think the issue was due to the fact that the chenille does not flow as well or "squirm" as well as the material used in the squirmy wormy. I am not 100% sure what the material for the squirmy wormy is made of, but I know it is flexible, stretchy, and has caught me smallmouth bass and perch. Not too much luck with the trout, but I haven't fished for trout with it too much as of yet. There is a down side to the flexible stretchy play with the squirmy wormy. Perch commonly pick at the bait before taking it which is super annoying. Not only will a live worm get picked clean, but your squirmy wormy will too. It doesn't happen as quickly as a live nightcrawler, but after a few fish you may find yourself having to cut and tie on another. I suggest tying multiples. I tied 5 and came back with one bad one out of probably 10+ fish on my last trip. Another thing is that you want to be careful when removing from he fishes mouth with hemostats. If you pinch anything other than bare hook then you risk tearing into your lure.

Now that we have the pros and cons worked through lets get to how this thing is tied. You can watch the video I made, but I left out step by step titles in the video this time.


I use Mustad Caddis Curved hooks in size 10.

There are different brands out there, but I useSpirit River's san juan red squirmy wormies.

I used ultra 70 thread in red.

I use lead wire for the underbody, but I used .025 weight instead of the .015 shown here.

Steps to Success
Step 1: 
-Lay down a base on your hook shank with your tying thread and then cut your tag.

Step 2:
-Cut a piece of lead wire about 1-1.5 inches depending on how heavy you want it. wrap it on the hook  leaving a tiny space between the eye of the hook and your lead wire. I don't count the exact number of lead wraps I take, but I estimate around 8-12 wraps on the hook shank.

Step 3:
-After you have your lead on you should take your tying thread and advance towards the rear of the hook shank and stop when you get to the end of your lead wire.

Step 4:
-Take a piece of your squirmy wormy material and tie it on at the rear of the hook shank where your lead wire begins. Leave about an inch of material on both sides of your squirmy wormy material after you secure it to the hook shank. After securing your squirmy wormy material advance just the thread to the point just behind the eye of the hook.

Step 5:
-Take the piece of squirmy wormy material that points towards the front and take even wraps advancing towards the eye of the hook. Be sure to evenly cover the lead wire with the squirmy wormy material.

Step 6:
-Once you reach the gap between your lead and hook eye take a couple wraps around the squirmy wormy material to secure it and then cut the excess squirmy wormy material.

Step 7:
-Whip finish your thread and cut when finished. Now you can add glue, head cement, nail  polish, or whatever your weapon of choice is, but when I was informed about the squirmy wormy material I was told that the head cements and glue can weaken your fly. So I just play it safe and leave the whip finish as my only secured point.

Now you have your own squirmy wormy. Get out there and tear it up on the water!