The Slumpbuster

By Chris Hunt
Originally by John Barr

fotm july 2017

Translated by CARL WUEBBEN


The slumpbuster is a john Barr creation, and its intent is exactly as the name implies. It’s big .Its heavy. It pushes water; it’s the “LOOK AT ME!” fly that we all search for when things are slow; the action suddenly ceases or under high water when finding fish might be a bit of a challenge. You can also tie in smaller sizes. While it certainly works in big sizes, on smaller freestone streams, the smaller profile seems to more representative of small baitfish. Tied in olive and on a size 10 hook, it’s a great imitation of swimming damselfly or dragonfly nymph on small lakes. The fish literally eat it up. And it’s an easy tie at the vise.

HOOK – Dai-riki #700 #8 or equivalent
CONEHEAD – Nickel cone head (large) can use gold also your choice
WEIGHT – Lead free wire (.020)
THREAD – UTC 140 denier (6/0) brown olive
RIB – UTC ultra-wire brassie in chartreuse or color of your choice
BODY- Sparkle braid in silver or gold
WING & COLLAR - Pine squirrel zonker strip in chartreuse or color of your choice ( the photo looks like olive but use what you want)
OTHER THINGS - Fly tyers z-ment or your favorite glue like zap a gap


  1. Debarb hook – put cone head on the hook small hole first then add some .020 lead free wire to the hook shank starting just in front of the bend of the hook and put about 20 wraps on then helicopter the wire to break it off. Apply some z-ment (or zap a gap) to the wrappings before sliding it up against the cone head – this will help hold the cone against the hook eye. 
  2. Start your thread in right behind the wire weight and clip off your tag end. Take thread wraps forward to further secure the wire wraps (back and forth wraps to cover the weight) then build a thread ramp from the wire weight to the hook shank. 
  3. Now tie in your brassie wire right where you thread is now (back of wire weight) and tie it down to the hook shank and down to the bend of the hook (on the top of the shank). Then bring your thread forward to just behind the wire weight again. 
  4. Clip a 5 to 5 inch piece of sparkle braid from the card and tie it in right where your thread is now and wrap back to the bend (on top of shank) like you did with the brassie wire then wrap your thread forward again to the rear of the cone head. Put a little z-ment on the thread wraps for durability. 
  5. Take the sparkle braid and wrap forward with slightly overlapping wraps and ending at the back of the cone head – tie off and clip the tag end then put a couple more good strong wraps down to secure the braid well.
  6. Clip off a strip of pine squirrel from the hide – grab ahold of the butt end of the strip (part that was attached to the hide – hair going downward) and pull off a small section of the hair to leave a bare hide. Now push the bare hide into the cone head and on the top and tie in with tight wraps and then wrap backward a little. Tug on the back of the strip to stretch it a little then wet your fingers and pet the fur forward to get the moisture in it so it’s more manageable then preen the fur upward. 
  7. Part the fur right above the ribbing wire and start making wraps between clumps of fur to secure the strip all the way up the shank (spiral wrapping) then take several wraps of wire to secure it in place then put several thread wraps down to secure the wire even more. Now helicopter the wire to remove the tag end. Clip the tail the length about a ½ hook length long.
  8. Now using the remaining pine squirrel strip from the tail section pull off a small piece of fur just like you did in the tail piece and tie in right behind the cone head and wrap the thread rearward over the strip just a little then bring your thread forward and up against the cone head. Now start wrapping the hide forward with close wraps and petting the fur rearward as you go (this is your collar). Pack it in tight to the cone head then tie it off. Clip off the tag end of the strip then make 5 or 6 more tight wraps to make sure it’s well seated. Whip finish then clip you thread off and you’re done.

 TIE UP A DOZEN OR TWO – AND GO FISHING*** But remember to practice C.P.R.  (CATCH – PICTURE – RELEASE)