Fly Fishers' Republic

Booby Eyes (Original)

December 14, 2006

by Raif Killips

Booby Eyes (Original)

This guide illustrates the original method used by Gordon Frazer to create his Booby Nymphs back in the early 1980s. The only difference is that he used balls of polystyrene packaging foam instead of Ethafoam. Shaping your own ‘eyes’ does require a little more preparation time, but the resulting pattern will prove more durable. Booby patterns include amongst others, versions of the Viva, Sparkler, Minkie, and Woolly Bugger. Today these are all collectively known as Boobies or Booby Nymphs.

Tying instructions:

Toggle sequence Left/Right Handed ↔

Stage 1

1. Cut a ‘bar’ of foam from a block using knife or scissors. Cut the bar in half to obtain two equal sized cubes. Using scissors again, shape the cubes of foam into two spheres. Don’t worry about a few rough edges just concentrate on getting the two pieces of foam more or less equal in size.

Stage 2

2. Cut a good size patch of nylon mesh from a pair of women’s stockings. Place the two booby eyes in the centre of the mesh ready to tie onto the hook.

Stage 3 preparing a good thread base

3. Start the thread at the hook eye and run it toward the bend for three hook eye widths and then back toward the eye. Stop at the centre of the preceeding wraps.

Stage 4

4. Now gather the booby eyes in the mesh. This is where you’ll appreciate having cut a large patch of mesh – it makes the whole process a lot less fiddly.

Stage 5

5. Offer the nylon mesh and booby eyes bundle up to the hook, and secure in place with three tight thread wraps immediately behind the foam eyes. The containing mesh should be only moderately tight around the foam and the eyes should be positioned on the top of the hook shank.

Stage 6

6. Once secured, wrap the tying thread forward between the eyes and pull down streadily to devide them. Make figure-of-eight wraps to complete the division of the eyes and to secure them in position.

Stage 7

6. The eyes should be anchored immediately behind and either side of the hook’s eye. Take the thread back toward the bend of the hook in tight close turns. Cut away the excess nylon mesh using heavy duty tying scissors before wrapping over the waste end.

Completed Booby

8. After completing the eyes continue tying to produce something like this olive Booby Nymph with marabou tail and dubbed fur body.


Use 3/0 thread for tying in booby eyes. You can even use rod whipping thread. This enables you to put sufficient tension on the thread to properly secure the nylon mesh, without fear of breaking off. Once the eyes are finished, tie off and start a lighter tying thread. This avoids extra bulk and weight in the pattern.

If you’re looking for a quicker and more durable way of tying Booby Eyes try this later method.