TYing The Bank Maggot



  • Hook: Curve shank grub/czech hook #8-18
  • Bead: Pearl or fluorescent white Tungsten bead.
  • Thread: 14/0 Veevus White Thread. Important! this thread has a high quality UV reflectance other brands of white thread do not posses.
  • Underbody: Uni-stretch white.
  • Rib: White flexi-floss.
  • Abdomen: Bank Maggot blend. 

1 Part - Muskrat Gray hares mask.
1 Part - Natural hares mask.
1/4 Part - Burgundy Antron.
1/4 Part - Hare Ice Dubbing light Hares ear.

  • Thorax: White Hare Ice dubbing.
  • Optional Collar: Lagartuns 95D Florescent pink X-Strong thread.

I first started tying this pattern after performing gastric lavage on fish and finding a number of unrecognizable insect parts that were an opaque tan/white color mixed in with other insect parts that had still retained their color. This told me that the chances that the fish’s digestion had not yet denatured the pigments locked within the exoskeleton, but rather the trout had consumed the insect while it was this color. Perhaps this is a newly molted stonefly or caddis fly whose pigments had not yet darkened? I can only offer limited conjecture. What I can offer is thatI am impressed with this patterns ability to capture a fish’s attention and move it into striking.

I chose to use Veevus white thread specifically for it’s UV reflectance quality. When I flash my UV torch onto the pattern, the white thread glows at the collar offering an additional potential strike trigger.


One Thing Leads to Another

While fishing a transition zone between a riffle and a slower deeper pool I had managed to hook and land a few nice fish while using the bank maggot. As is always the case of a trained fisheries scientist, I couldn’t help myself but take a gastric lavage and see just what the fish were eating this time of year. I had found numerous opaque tan/white eggs the same size of the bead that was on the Bank Maggot I was using. I soon realized that these were unfertilized sucker eggs that had made it into the drift while suckers were busy spawning upstream in the riffle. The fish must be taking this fly mistaking it for an egg?

Fish have a strong egg eating instinct. It is a protective instinct to protect other redds from egg contamination. Not only are eggs delicious and nutritious, they are helping out neighboring spawning pairs by keeping the spawning area hygienic. Never the less, eggs are highly effective fish bait.

I was showing a fellow angler this pattern and describing to him that I thought the bead looked a lot like a bad sucker egg. His reply was that he never saw an egg eating molting caddis before and the fish probably never has either as he was dismissing the pattern. This response was purely anthropomorphic and rather bullheaded in nature in an attempt to reconcile what he though the fish might mistake the fly for. That is our problem as humans, we expect fish to see what we think they should see.

I mentioned strike triggers such as UV reflectance, eggs, molting caddis to my angling partner. Any of these things alone could fire a neurological response in which the fish is driven to ingest a particular food item. If the item has three separate strike triggers than it is possible that three innate responses are activated in the brain and the fish responds accordingly. There is no cognitive evaluation on the fishes behalf that this is an egg eating molting caddis larva drifting downstream. Let’s stop anthropomorphizing what we think that a fish might think for a moment and take it on good faith that this pattern is simply effective at illiciting an innate feeding responses.