How To Tie The Olive Spanish Bullet: A Step-By-Step Guide

Explore the Olive Spanish Bullet (w/ Hot Collar) in my fly fishing kit. Learn when to use and tie this effective pattern.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

About the Pattern

Jig Flies/Bullets/Perdigons

One of my favorite patterns to tie and to fish is the Spanish bullet. It’s not a difficult pattern to tie at all. Most tyers already have the majority of the materials needed. Just a couple of specialized items are required.

I have to admit, a few years ago when jig flies like Spanish Bullets and Perdigons started hitting the US market and being dropped into local fly shops, I was very resistant.

I didn’t like how they looked. They didn’t look like anything in particular to me. I would rather fish something that looked a little bit more realistic… I had more confidence in that.

My mistake! When I started fishing these patterns, they became absolute game changers.  

I’m not sure why… it could be that it’s just a nice, thin body and it looks a little bit buggier than all the thicker, more “realistic”  flies available.  It may just be that it looks different than everything else that everybody’s fishing with. It may be that it represents a few different things the fish are seeing. 

I’m not sure exactly what it is. All I know is that it does get fish and it has really great movement. The weighted front end (an oversized, heavy, slotted bead and/or the addition of lead-free wire to add weight behind the bead) allows for a fantastic jigging (up/down) movement.

I use an open loop knot all the time on these flies and the way that they jump up and drop down, jump up and drop down is phenomenal. The undulation in the current or when twitched under a dry fly as a dropper is just fantastic.

Learn To Tie Flies:

The Spanish Bullet

The particular bullet that we’re executing right now is the olive Spanish bullet with an orange hot collar. 

The olive and black is a very buggy-looking color combination. We’ll add a little of that “attractor” look to it with a thin orange hot color. We’ll also add a flashback to put it in the “emerger” category. 

A spanish bullet on a vise

This particular pattern is a great cold weather/wintertime fly to tie and fish. Many of us are tying to fill our fly bins for the coming year but, with this pattern, it’s also one that can be used/fished right now.

There are a few reasons why this fly works in the wintertime (really any cool/cold weather situation)…

First, it’s akin to hatching blue-wing olive. The flashback represents a thorax that’s cracking open and beginning to reveal the budding wings.

Second, it possibly could be getting scraped up as a caddis condo as well. This shape and color often resembles the caddis condos that are stuck to the rocks and twigs under the water. 

I also fish this fly in the hot weather of the summer. It’s a great hot-weather fly for similar reasons. 

In the summer, a lot of different mayflies are moving and hatching that are in the brown and gray category. There usually aren’t a lot of green mayfly nymphs/emergers in the summer aside from the very small pseudo-mays.

So I’m not sure why an olive works well in summer but this fly, especially with the hot color for some reason, really is a catching machine

A lot of summer fishing seems hot and bug-sterile with little to no visible hatching. I love fishing this pattern at those times as well… it’s an attention-getter. 

Again, in the hot summer, some fish may be forging around and scraping it up as a caddis condo.  I’ve literally seen rainbows, in the dead of the summer when there’s not a lot of bug movement, rooting around and scraping caddis condos off of rocks and twigs. 

Whatever the case may be, the Olive Spanish Bullet (with or without the hot collar), is a must for any fly box!

Watch How To Tie The Olive Spanish Bullet

YouTube video

The Equipment/Materials List

For this tie, we’re featuring some great Aventik gear. I’ll be using the Aventik Riverruns Colorado Rotary Fly Tying Vise. It’s an easy-operating, smooth-rotating travel/portable style vise with a weighted base, perfect for use everywhere and anywhere.

Photo of the Aventik Riverruns Colorado Rotary Fly Tying Vise

I’m also using the Eupheng 0051 Jig Nymph hooks for this pattern. If you would like to check out any of that gear, click the links! 

Eupheng Fly Hooks

Materials Needed

  • Hooks – I’m using the Eupheng 0051 jig hook in a size 14. This pattern is great in sizes 12-18 and these Eupheng 0051s are available in all those sizes.
  • Bead:  3.2mm Slotted Bead (2.6 or 2.8 will work. Add lead-free wire behind the bead if you prefer using a smaller bead)
  • Threads:
    • Body/abdomen: 8/0 or 10/0 olive 
    • Thorax: 10/0 black
    • Hot Collar: 10/0 UV fluoro orange
  • Small/med flat pearl tinsel
  • Coq de Leon (CDL), medium pardo
  • UV resin (I prefer Solarez)
  • UV curing light
  • Scissors
  • Razor (optional)
  • Lead-Free wire (optional)
  • Bodkin
  • Whip Finisher
  • Thread bobbin (x3 if possible)

The Tie

Step 1

Start with the size 14 Euphenig 0051 Jig Nymph hook. Add the 3.2mm slotted bead with the small hole first. 

Step 1 Spanish Bullet

Push the bead up to the hook of the eye. You’ll know the bead is in position when it pushes all the way forward and drops down right on top of the eye.

Step 2

**If you prefer to use a smaller bead, I suggest using the lead-free wire, making a few wraps behind your bead before you start the thread. I do it both ways…smaller bead with lead-free wire for added weight or bigger bead/no wire. However you choose to proceed,  it’s good to have some weight on the front end of this fly.

Spanish Bullet Step 2

Start with the olive thread and get a few wraps to capture the end of the thread.  Start by laying a good, solid thread base. Capture the end of the thread with a few good wraps,  trim off the excess, and work backward shy of where the hood begins to curve.

If you’ve used lead-free wire, wrap plenty of olive thread to hold the wire in place right behind the bead. Don’t make it too thick because you still need to cover the thorax with black thread.

Make sure the majority of the hook shank is covered from the bead back to where the hook begins to bend downward. In this step (or in step 5 below) make sure to wrap the thread up tight behind the bead to hold the bead in place up against the eye of the hook.

**If the materials contact the metal of the hook, everything will start spinning around. Laying a nice base will keep all the materials in place. Don’t make the body too thick, however. We still need to add materials and a thinner body will look/work better on this pattern.

Step 3

Grab the CDL (Coq de Leon) for the tail fibers.  select just a few strands, say 3-5 fibers. 

Spanish Bullet Step 3

Lay them across the back of the hook. Get a nice capture with the thread and, make sure they’re nice and secure.

Make sure that they’re not twisting around the hook and that they’re gonna lie straight down the back of the hook shank.

Hold these tail fibers together and evenly wrap the thread backward down the straight shank of the hook stopping a bit before the hook’s downward curve. 

You’ll want these tail fibers to point straight backward off the back and be about the same length as the abdomen, no longer than the body length of the fly.

Be careful with the hook point as you’re doing these wraps as it can easily scrape/fray your thread. Trim off the front (excess end) of the CDL overhanging the body/eye of the hook. 

Step 4

Next, wrap evenly forward to build up a thread body. Nicely wrap your olive thread going forward, taking care to make the wraps even and consecutive. 

Spanish Bullet Step 4

The body needs to be nice and even all the way up to the bead with a slight backward taper (thinner at the tail, thicker at the bead). you don’t want to go too wide on this step with the olive thread.

Remember, we still have to build up a thorax with black thread and we’re going to add some thickness once we put that Solar-res on and get it hardened up. 

Single whip finish the olive thread behind the bead and trim. don’t worry about doing more/excessive knots because it’ll end up underneath the black thread and the hardened resin finish. 

Step 5

Next, switch to the black thread.  There are three different colors of thread to use so, if you have them, using multiple thread bobbins comes in handy. 

Spanish Bullet Step 5

If you have three bobbins, you don’t need to waste time changing thread spools. This is a big time saver if you’re trying to tie 6, a dozen, or multiple dozens of this same pattern.

Start the black thread directly behind the bead. Begin building up the black thorax keeping the taper shape even and the overall body rather thin. Don’t build up the total size of the thorax yet. That will come in the next step.

Make sure you have plenty of olive abdomen showing. The black thorax should be about ¼ of the total length of the body, ⅓ at most.  

Wrap way up against the bead to secure the bead in place. Again, don’t build up too much thickness yet!

Step 6

Cut a small length of sm/med pearl tinsel and place it backward over the thorax from the bead. Capture with the black thread and continue wrapping backward to the back end of the black thorax (where the black and olive meet).

Wrap the black thread forward up against the bead. This is the step we want to make sure to build/finish the full shape/size of the black thorax.

This black thorax should be just a little bit thicker than the olive body while keeping that thin, tapered bullet shape.

**If you’ve used lead-free wire, make sure all the wire is now covered with black thread.

Pull the tinsel forward over the center of the thorax, then capture and secure it with the black thread immediately behind the bead. Trim the tinsel. This should make a nice “flashback” emerger look for you.

Continue wrapping black thread behind the bead to secure the bead in place but don’t make it too thick as we still need to add the orange UV collar.

***A note on the flashback… Some prefer to add the flashback to the “underside” of the thorax. This is technically “correct” for a jig-hook fly but adding it to the top/back like a normal emerger tie is much easier and works just fine as well.

Step 7

Now, we’ll add a little bit of pop by giving it a fluoro orange collar.   Switch to the UV orange thread, capture, and add just a few wraps.

Spanish Bullet Step 7

Don’t go too thick here because it’s gonna build up as you add the whip finish. Just enough wraps to hold itself in place.

Whip finish. Only one may be needed. Do two if you need more thickness behind the bead but, remember, this UV orange should be just a thin line of orange pop right behind the bead. Nothing too thick. Maybe two to three thread widths at most. The UV resin will hold everything in place.

I sometimes prefer to cut the UV thread with my razor to get a nice, clean, tag-free finish which is important when adding resin.

Step 8

For the final step, get your UV resin, UV light, and bodkin handy. Again, I prefer the Solarez brand thin, hard UV resin for this step.

Grab the bodkin and place the tip into the UV resin bottle getting just a small bead of resin on the tip of the bodkin.

 Use the bodkin to spread the resin evenly around the body of the fly. If you’re using your rotary vise, use the rotator to see all sides and add/spread the resin evenly.

One thin coat is all that’s needed if done right. You can add another coat if you need…simply hit the first layer from all directions with the UV light first to make sure it’s hard and set. Then begin adding another thin, even layer, finishing again with the UV light.

Just remember to keep the body thin and evenly tapered from the bead back to the tail. The slot gap in the back of the bead should also be filled in with resin and cured with the light. 

Tips for a Good Tie

  • As mentioned above, make sure your thread body doesn’t build up too thick.  This pattern requires a rather thin body. Adding the UV resin at the end will add quite a bit of thickness which is the last step to the tie.
  • The tinsel flashback can be added on top of the hook, which is easier and works fine. Add it to the bottom (facing the hook point) if you want to tie this one “correctly” as a jig fly should be tied.
  • Make sure the bead head is secured well with thread so it doesn’t spin, wiggle, or slip backward over the thorax/body of the fly. A slotted bead should drop down against the hook’s eye when it’s placed correctly. There will be a bit of a gap from the slot between the back of the bead and the hook shank.
  • Secure materials like the tinsel down with a few thread wraps over the top, pull the material back, and add a few wraps over the front. This gives a “double lock” to the materials and helps keep them from pulling loose when fishing. 
  • After each whip finish, pull the thread a touch to snug the knot down a little better. Don’t pull too hard or the thread could snap.
  • Check all sides of the fly when applying UV resin to make sure the application is even and keeps the thin/tapered look needed for this pattern.
  • Frayed or loose threads or other loose materials will be accentuated by the resin. Tie as smooth and clean as possible for a clean resin finish.

Final Thoughts

This pattern isn’t something a traditional US fly fisher might deem as a “good looking” pattern that effectively imitates naturally occurring aquatic species.

Don’t let that fool you. These patterns work…well. Try attaching them with open loop knots as I do and you’ll get even better movement in the drift. This works for nymph rigs and/or dry dropper situations.

Tie this pattern in different sizes both with and without the UV collar. I can almost guarantee you that it’ll be a great producer in cool/cold weather and in the dead heat of the summer.

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates.

As a part of the Amazon Associates Program and other affiliate programs, Into Fly Fishing® may receive a comission if you order products through links on this website.


Born and raised in Billings, MT, Nic was blessed to be brought up in an outdoor-minded family. Fishing and hunting were a part of his familial culture. Blame it on my Aquarius birth or some divine design but, from as early as he can remember, he had to be near or in the water. Guiding since the early 2000s, Nic has thousands of hours of fly fishing and guiding experience and has helped hundreds of people get into the sport of fly fishing, or better their skills as anglers.

You may also like...

Final Step Rainbow Warrior
Join me in exploring the Rainbow Warrior's role and learning to tie this effective fly for successful adventures.
Trout Nymph Fly Patterns
In this post and video we show you how to tie my favorite trout nymph and everything you need to tie it including tools & materials.
how to tie a gurgler
In this post and video we show you how to tie a Gurgler fly and everything you need to tie it including tools & materials.