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COAF San Juan Worm Ball

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COAF San Juan Worm Ball

COAF San Juan Worm Ball

If One Works, Why Not Two!

The San Juan Worm has caught its share of fish. That said, if one worm works well, why not try two worms? Someone did just that and developed the San Juan Worm Ball.

Taking the pattern one step further, a COAF Field Team member created a variant of the fishing fly called the COAF San Juan Worm Ball.

The COAF San Juan Worm Ball is tied like the San Juan Worm Ball with exception of a gold bead added midway on the shank.

The gold bead gets the fishing fly to sink quickly where it can bounce along the bottom as the current pushes it down stream.

Do give this fishing a fly a try. It is a simple fishing fly and can be completed quickly with minimal material and effort!


The following is the material list for the COAF San Juan Worm Ball:

  1. Size 10 Streamer Hook
  2. Red Chenille (thin size - others colors can be used as desired)
  3. 1/8" Gold Bead
  4. Red Dacron Tying Thread 6/0
  5. Super Glue or Zap-A-Gap
  6. Butane Lighter

Step 1

Thread the 1/8" Gold Bead on the Size 10 Streamer Hook and set it in the fly tying vise.

Starting at the middle of the hook shank begin laying a base of thread.

Wrap along the hook shank and half-way down the hook bend.

Once a base is formed, stop at the middle of the hook shank.

Step 1 is completed and should look like the picture in the sidebar.

Step 2

Next, cut the Chenille so you have two 3" length pieces.

Taking one of the pieces, tie it on to the hook shank .

This should be the same point where you stopped in Step 1.

Leave about 1" of Chenille as pictured in the sidebar.

Scroll to Continue

Note: In the sidebar, select the thumbnail for the picture with the caption - "Setting the First Worm"

Step 3

In Step 3, two loops will be formed to simulate a worm twisting in the current. Do this by...

  1. Position the tying thread by moving the Bead and the Chenille forward.
  2. Make three wraps toward the hook bend, and then bend the Chenille so it forms a loop,
  3. Make three more wraps to secure the loop, and then continue wrapping toward the hook bend.
  4. Continue wrapping toward the hook bend, stopping just short of where the hook bend starts.
  5. Next, form another loop and secure it to the hook shank at the point where you stopped wrapping previously, then apply a whip finish knot and cut the thread.
  6. Finally, apply Zap-A-Gap (or Super Glue) where the loops were tied to the hook shank. A small drop is good; be careful not to overdo it.

Note: Refer to the pictures in the sidebar for more details; use the thumbnails to review each picture.

Step 4

Almost done.... In Step 4, the second worm will be set on the hook shank, and only one loop will be formed. Do this by...

  1. Lay a thread base starting just behind the hook eye and wrap toward the hook bend.
  2. Push the Gold Bead snug against the first worm, and then continue wrapping the thread stopping just short of the Gold Bead.
  3. Place the remaining Chenille on to the hook shank, make two wraps, and then re-position it so it rests on the underside of the hook shank, then use three more wraps to secure it in place.
  4. Next, continue wrapping toward the hook eye, stop just behind the hook eye, and then tie the Chenille to the hook shank so 1" extends past the tie in point.
  5. Apply three wraps, then a whip finish knot, and then cut the thread.
  6. Like in Step 3, apply Zap-A-Gap (or Super Glue) where the loop was tied to the hook shank. And, be careful not to overdo it.

Note: If additional loops are desired, the same steps as described in Step 3 remain applicable. Also, refer to the pictures in the sidebar for more details; use the thumbnails to review each picture.

Butane Lighter to form the worm ends.

Butane Lighter to form the worm ends.

Step 5

Step 5 (and the final step) calls for a little heat to form the worm ends.

Be extremely careful not to get it too close to the Chenille, else the fishing fly will be ruined!

To form the worm ends, hold the butane lighter well away from the fishing fly and light it.

Then, bring the lighter under the fishing fly, starting about a foot away from the worm.

Slowly bring the lighter closer to the tag end of the Chenille. As you slowly bring it closer, notice the Chenille will start to shrink.

As soon as the tag end of the Chenille shrinks to a blunt point, move it quickly away. Repeat until all worm ends are formed.

Once all worm ends are formed, the COAF San Juan Worm Ball is done and ready to fish!

Note: If uncertain how much heat to apply when forming the worm ends, practice on a scrap piece of chenille. Also, if concerned about ruining the fishing fly in Step 5, the worm ends can be formed as part of Step 2 after the two pieces of chenille are cut to 3" lengths.


When fishing the COAF San Juan Worm Ball, here are a few suggestions from the COAF Field Team!

  • After casting, let the fishing fly sink to the bottom. As it sinks, pay close attention for any sign of a strike, and be prepared to set the hook.
  • It is best used where there is current like a feeder creek or small stream to "bounce" the fishing fly along the bottom much like a worm that has fallen into the water.
  • Also, it is effective after a rain shower when worms such as red worms and night crawlers have come out of hiding and are likely being washed into the water.
  • If the current is strong and the fishing fly is not sinking to the bottom, add a split shot or two as needed.

Good Luck and Good Fishing!

COAF San Juan Worm Ball

San Juan Worm Color?


hbng84 (author) on April 13, 2014:

Check out the latest video titled "Another Catfish on a Fishing Fly" posted in the article. Looks like the COAF San Juan Worm Ball is producing. Caught a nice Catfish today with one!

hbng84 (author) on March 23, 2014:

Thanks Tod, I had similar results; mainly catching little Panfish with the San Juan Worm but nothing big. Glad to have tied a San Juan Worm Ball on a whim in this case!

Hoped to get some video of the two that I missed but forgot to turn the GoPro on. One of them was big... much bigger than the one in the video. Regardless, was a lot of fun on a Four Weight Rod.

Thanks for reading the article and watching the video!

Tod Zechiel from Florida, United States on March 23, 2014:

I've never had much success with the San Juan worm, but that worm ball looks like the ticket. Nice cat fish! Thanks so much for sharing.

hbng84 (author) on March 22, 2014:

Here is a fishing fly that worked for us recently! Hope it helps our Readers when fishing, too!

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