Meat Whistle Fly Step-by-Step

Meat Whistle Fly Step-by-Step:


Confession…I’m not much of a largemouth angler.  I know this is blasphemy by southern standards, but I’m just not.  Growing up in the north, these fish were an afterthought, and, even after two decades in the south, I’ve never converted.  This isn’t to say that I never target these fish.  I do.  They’re simply rarely near the top of my wish list. 

All of the above said, I still do live in the south.  And, as a result, I carry a wide array of flies meant to target a variety of warmwater species including the aforementioned largemouth. 

One fly common to such warmwater collections is John Barr’s Meat Whistle.  A fly rodder’s version of the classic “Jig & Pig,” the pattern has proven far more versatile with anglers tallying everything from carp to brown trout on this fly.

Umpqua Jig Hook (#4-3/0) 140 Denier (Black) Materials Conehead (Black; sized to match)
Materials Diamond Braid (Pearl or Black) Materials Ultrawire (Brassie) Materials Zonker Strip (Rabbit or Squirrel; Black)
Materials Rubber Legs (Color of Choice)Materials Flashabou (Pearl)Materials Marabou (Black)
Materials UV Resin or Epoxy

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Meat Whistle Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge or rotate phone to landscape)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Color Selection – At its core, this pattern is a crayfish mimic.  Keep that in mind as you select your desired color combinations.  Crawfish Orange, Olive and Brown all warrant spots in your warmwater arsenal.
  2. Size Matters – While I elected to tie the above example on a #4 hook, this pattern is at its best tied large. Don’t overlook sizes 1/0 – 3/0 when targeting largemouth.  Big bass like big flies, and there’s a reason this pattern earned the name Meat Whistle.
  3. Substitutions – As always, I want to include a few note on substitutions.  First, Barr’s original pattern utilizes a 90-degree jig hook.  My choice to substitute a 60-degree hook was one of necessity as I happened to have a pack of size 4s in reserve.  Second, consider the size fly you plan on tying when selecting your Zonker Strip.  I’ve used a pine squirrel zonker above as it better matched the size of my hook. 

Proof of Concept

While I’ve landed a few bass on the Meat Whistle over the years, none appear to have been preserved in my photo collection. With cooler weather hopesfully right around the corner, I’ll do my best to resolve that in the coming months.

Until then, you’ll either have to take my word for it, or go test it on your local bass.

Tight Line!


Meat Whistle Fly Step-by-Step
Species Caught on the Meat Whistle to Date:
  1. Largemouth Bass

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