Tying the Gamboozler

The Pad Crawler Fly.

What's the Story?
The Gamboozler was initially tied to catch American Shad feeding on mosquitofish, or gambusia, that are prolific in freshwater all over Florida. It is basically a variation on the Crazy Charlie, adapted to fish midwater and made to look more like a minnow.

What's it Good For?
This fly is effective for any predators eating gambusia or other small baitfish. In addition to the American Shad, for which it was originally tied, it is a great pattern for largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, peacock bass and others.

How to Fish It:
The fly can be effectively fished in a variety of situations, from open water to heavy cover, varying the retrieve depending on the situation. When fishing to actively feeding fish try stripping quickly. If that doesn’t work, give it a couple strips then pause, letting the fly sink for a couple seconds before stripping again. When fished around vegetation a slow, steady strip usually works well.

Tying Options
The Gamboozler can be tied in any color you want with beads of different sizes and materials to change the sink rate. If you’re planning to use it in saltwater or for larger, hard fighting species try tying it on a saltwater hook like the Mustad C68 series. The resin body gives the fly a more minnow-like shape and increases its durability, but It also works well with a plain Sparkle Braid body.

Available on our Website:

The materials needed to tie this fly are all available on our website. Click the links in the materials list below to purchase materials. 

Tying Steps

  1. Slide a cyclops bead onto the hook then place the hook in your vise.
  2. Start the red thread close to the eye, with the thread in front of the bead. Cover the hook shank about halfway back to the hook point. Trim your thread. Then advance the thread to around a bead diameter behind the eye of the hook.
  3. Slide the bead up the hook using the thread as a stop. Cross the thread under the bead, pushing it against the hook shank and towards the top of the hook, away from the hook point.
  4. Wrap the thread down to the bend and back up to the bead, creating a thread base.
  5. Tie in the end of the sparkle braid right behind the bead. Wrap the sparkle braid to the bend, covering the thread completely then back up to the bead, forming a double layer. You may have to adjust the wraps to give the body the shape you want. Then tie the sparkle braid off and trim it.
  6. Wrap the tag end down securely, using the thread to form a red band behind the bead. Tie a whip finish and trim the thread.
  7. Apply UV resin from the back half of the bead all the way to the end of the sparkle braid. A rotary vise makes this much easier. Add enough resin to give the fly a smooth, even body.
  8. When you’re happy with the size of the body and the overall shape, use a UV light to cure the resin.
  9. Attach the white thread in front of the bead then trim the tag end.
  10. Cut a small bunch of relatively long calf tail right at the hide. Tie in the calf tail in between the bead and the eye on the point side of the hook. It should extend 1 ½ to 2 times the hook length past the tie-in point. Be careful not to wrap too tightly right against the bead or you’ll risk causing the material to fan out around the bead.
  11. Whip finish, trim the thread, and apply head cement.

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