The Elusive Bartlett's Gerbubble Bug
If there is a “classic” largemouth bass fly, the Gerbubble Bug — originally a square-bodied cork or balsa-wood fly developed by Tom Loving for fly fishing bass in the tidal waters of the Chesapeake — would get many votes for the top position. But writer Amy Hotz is stymied in her search for the Bartlett’s version, which is mentioned by Lefty Kreh in his 2004 book Fly Fishing for Bass. “My search for the elusive Bartlett’s Gerbubble Bug continues. So far, I’ve visited every outfitter in Wilmington. I’ve traveled to Myrtle Beach and given the Bass Pro Shop the third degree. I’ve searched the library and the Internet and enlisted others to do the same. Still, no Gerbubble. Not even a recipe to make one.” In North Carolina’s Star News Online.
Well, Amy, we suggest noting William Tapply’s description of the original Gerbubble’s features — hackle feathers inserted into slits cut along both sides of the cork body so that the fibers stuck out perpendicular to the hook shank, creating the effect of dozens of legs kicking at the water’s surface — and substituting marabou for the hackle feathers. Then take the recipe to a handy fly tier who should be able to whip one up in about 5 minutes. It doesn’t answer the question of why you can’t find a commercially tied Bartlett’s Gerbubble, but it’s guaranteed to feed your addiction.
For more on the history of bass bugs, see “From Bobs to Bugs” on MidCurrent.