Tie a MopWorm, Long Tailed Chenille Pattern

Center Pin Jigs Steelhead & Salmon

The long, soft tail on this Mop Worm tie has great action, particularly if tied with a bead head or on a light jig hook.  Over the last year, I have found it works for Steelhead, Trout, Smallmouth, and Walleye.  For the last few years one of my best lures for these and other species is a 3 inch Berkley Trout Worm, Pearl White being the best color.  Tie the Mop Worm in some Balanced Jig format so it will rest nearly horizontal when hanging under a bobber.  For Great Lake Streams, I use Wapsi Super Jig Heads:  #8 1/64 ounce, #6 1/48 or 1/32 ounce.  White is the best color with a dull or off white being better.  Dark brown was great for stocked trout, Black, Purple and Dark Brown are good for Smallmouth in Huron tributary creek mouths.


A bead head tie works for fly casting because trout hit this mop worm well when it is fished with an aggressive cross current retrieve on Center Pin tackle.  Fish seem to respond to this mopworm as if it pushes their minnow trigger, but I think there is more to it than just that. 



Evolution must equip fish with a suite of instincts well suited to helping them survive the most perilous time of their lives, when they are small everything eats them.  To quickly out grow their legion of potential predators, they must eat lots of tiny things.  Worm like midge larvae, abundant nematodes, and perhaps other tiny wormlike larval forms are obvious prey.

The necessary steps to get the tail right are explained in detail later.  This will become a very quick fly to tie in time, but not necessarily easy at first.

  • Hook                #6 or 8 jig hook, Silver head
  • Bead                option, Silver, to fit the hook size
  • Body Thread   Fluorescent Chartreuse Yellow, 140 denier
  • Tail                  Velvet Knitting Chenille, diameter about = head, length   2xhook +
  •  Body             Wrap tag leftover from the tail, up to the head 
  • Collar            Fire Orange thread 140 denier 
  • Tool            Slim Jawed Hackle Plies, large size to twist chenille

Look for knitting chenilles that have very thin thread cores and straight, glossy straight chenille fibers that are not too densely packed. Start with a piece of chenille about 7 shank lengths to tie this one MopWorm.  You may find a need for versions with tails either shorter or longer than this

1.  Wrap a chartreuse thread base down about 2/3 of the shank. I go about 2mm further to leave a bright tag or butt.  Structurally, this also backstops the critical tail tie in point.  Return thread to behind the head and start tying in the tip of your chenille there and lash it down on top of the hook to a point about 2/3 down the hook.  Anchor the tail tie in point with 3 turns in this same place.


2.  Use Hackle Pliers to grip the chenille about 3 shank lengths behind the tail tie in point.   Keeping some tension on the chenille to the tie in point, Twist the chenille so its center tread twist tighter.  It should become slightly shorter.  For most Knitting Chenilles (when held out behind the tail of the fly) I find this to be  the opposite rotation from the way the thread is wrapped.  It takes a dozen or more turns for longer tails.  Fishing Chenilles seem to twist the opposite direction.

3.  You will need 3 hands or skillful use of most your 10 available fingers and thumbs.  Use one finger to anchor the midpoint of your continually tensioned chenille, now fold the hackle pliers end of your chenille back to the tail position, pin it there with the left thumb and get 5 turns of thread over it at that same tail tie down point.  Tie this second leg of the tail down next tof the hackle plier jaws.  Let the hackle pliers hang. 


4.  Use the tips of your closed scissors to keep a little tension on your tail loop of chenille, gently, even closed scissors can have edges sharp enough to cut the chenille thread core.  As you gently withdraw the scissor points from the chenille loop, use right hand fingers keep some tension and coax the tail to twist back upon itself.

5.  Reposition the hackle pliers and wrap the thread forward to behind the eye. Form the body, wrap chenille forward to the head.  Tie it off and switch thread to the Fire Orange.  Bind down a fire orange collar behind the head about 1mm width.  Whip finish.



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