Normally it is fished with a very high density sinking line with a short leader so that when it is cast out, the high density line drags the booby under, leaving it suspended off the bottom. It is then retrieved with a slow figure of eight retrieve to produce a ducking, diving action across the bottom that so often proves to be deadly. The takes tend to be very positive and violent, often resulting in a fish that has swallowed the fly.

As a guide, the colder the water, the shorter the leader and slower the retrieve. Early season, I normally start with a 3ft leader but will vary its length and speed of retrieve until I find the fish.

On weedy or messy bottoms, I often fish with a small nymph on a dropper about 18 inches from the booby. The nymph is attached to a short length of line about 2 or 3 inches in length. This nymph acts as a guard to stop the booby getting covered in weed and debris from the bottom. Naturally there is always the odd fish that takes the nymph rather than the booby. When bottom weed has been particularly troublesome, I have tied in heavy line across the leader instead of using a nymph. Once I was forced to use two of these line guards 18 inches apart.

Most of my experiences using the booby are early season on deep water reservoirs when we were searching out over-wintered rainbows. These fish appear particularly susceptible to a slowly retrieved booby. These are what we call "real fish" as they have grown on to this weight, rather than stocked at that weight. Certainly these fish have excellent large fins.

When reservoir fishing in deep water with a booby in cold weather, I often cast out and have a cup of coffee whilst waiting for the line to drag the booby to near the bottom. This can at times take at least a minute which gives me time to make a start on the coffee. However it is surprising the number of good trout that I have caught when the fly is static, either as a result of waiting for it to sink or stopping to have another mouthful of coffee before continuing to retrieve. No doubt about it, fish will readily take a static booby. However I must stress the majority of fish are taken whilst slowly retrieving.

Materials to tie a booby

Hook size 8 or 10 scorpion competition heavy weight. Eyes-cylinders of plasterzote foam 10 or 8mm diameter. Body-chenille. Tail-marabou or arctic fox.

Hooks with pre-tied eyes and all tying materials are available from

Lee can also provide tied boobys.


1. Place foam on top of hook shank and, using tying thread in a figure of eight motion, secure the eyes in place.

2. Now take tying thread down to the bend and tie in marabou or arctic fox for the tail.

3. Tie in chenille at hook bend and wind the chenille up to the eyes and tie off.