Welcome to Fly fishing and Fly Tying magazine's website, once you register, you'll gain access to the Blogs, Forum and Shop.

If you cannot register successfully, contact us.

Member Login

Lost your password?

Search This Site

Ghost Buster

By Colin MacLeod

Bass and mullet love Colin MacLeod

Tying the Ghost Buster

  • 1


    The curved shank of a Supergrub hook lends itself to imitating the shape of Idotea.

  • 2


    Tie in partridge tail, feelers, twisted thread and uv Flashabou.

  • 3


    Run the thread up towards eye and tie in feelers pointing forwards.

  • 4


    Apply peacock dubbing to body.

  • 5


    Using twist ribbing tie in foam back to cover 50% of hook-bend. Run along body – close, tight, turns – six in total.

  • 6


    Tie down rib, remove excess. Whip-finish thread. ­Cut ends of foam at angles.

Identifying the types of food featuring on the menu of the fish we intend to catch is equally important in the saltwater environment as it is in freshwater. Information gathered, we can then proceed to acquire or fashion passable imitations to deceive our quarry.

Idotea (a marine relative of the wood louse) is a highly abundant source of food for both bass and mullet. Surprisingly, and despite the propensity which both species show for this tasty isopod, there are no recognised patterns to represent the genus. Witnessing a rumbustious, early morning attack by thick-lipped mullet of between 8lb and 10lb on a swarm of Idotea had me rushing to the vice.

Idotea are widespread around British shores and feed mainly on decaying vege-tation. Idotea balthica and Idotea granulosa are the most commonly encountered species. I. balthica lives on sea weed in the subtidal zone of rocky shores and is also found amongst drift weed. The male can attain a length of 4cm. I. granulosa inhabits the section of shore between tidal marks but is also free-swimming in nature. The largest specimens are found in areas of knotted wrack around estuaries and moderately exposed stretches of open coast. Idotea are generally brown or dark olive in appearance.

The Ghost Buster is a slow sinking pattern, in harmony with the Idotea’s shallow water habitat. Brown closed-cell foam is used to form the fly’s back, achieving the desired slow sink-rate and matching the Idotea’s coloration. The mix of white thread and UV Flashabou creates a strong rib to add resilience to the pattern and form the defined body segments found on the original. Peacock herl is highly attractive to both bass and mullet and lends itself perfectly in the form of a dubbed body. Finally, knotted pheasant tail fibres are employed to represent the Idotea’s prominent antennae.

Fish the Ghost Buster as a single fly on a 12ft leader and concentrate your efforts on marks likely to host Idotea populations, paying particular attention to the shallow margins. Bass and mullet feeding hard on Idotea are highly conspicuous. Cast the fly amongst feeding fish and commence a slow, short retrieve. It is extremely rare for thick-lipped mullet to actively chase and nip at a fly but the Ghost Buster regularly initiates such a response. Bass, on the other hand, simply hammer the pattern.


Ghost Buster
: Fulling Mill Supergrub, size 12.
Thread: Brown.
Tail: Grey partridge feather fibres.
Body: Orvis Peacock Ice dubbing.
Back: Brown 2mm closed-cell foam.
Feelers: Knotted pheasant tail.
Rib: White thread twisted with UV Flashabou.

Back to top

Search the site