The Black Marabou Muddler

By Steve Kantner

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Marabou Muddler is one of the most effective patterns to drop from a set of vise jaws. A descendant of Don Gapen’s famed Muddler Minnow, a fly designed to imitate river sculpins, it calls to mind other prey, too, as evidenced by its widespread appeal.

The wing material undulates enticingly, and due to its clipped deer hair head, it nit only suspends, but can be stripped to push a wake at the surface—a potent provocateur in getting fish to strike. It creates the effect of a freshwater “mollie” scurrying across the surface, as described in this issue’s feature, “Ditchcraft,” and passes for many other prey species in salt or fresh water; it can be tied in any color, or on any size or style hook. Just keep the latter light, if you specifically want a “waker.”

Publisher’s Note: Steve’s new book is out. The title deftly speaks of the content. The Ultimate Guide to Fishing South Florida on Foot. Click here to view . . .

MATERIALS:

Hook: No. 2 – 8 Mustad 9671 3X long, 2X strong or similar

Thread: Black flat-waxed nylon or Flymaster Plus

Head: Black deer body (spinning) hair

Body: Gold Flashabou or other Mylar substitute

Tail: Fluff from the base of a red hackle quill or a tiny tag of red wool yarn

Wing: Two black marabou blood plumes; a deerhair or squirrel tail under-wing is optional

Flash: Angel Hair or fine, flexible Mylar; braided Mylar body wrap is optional

Author’s Note: Why do I use a “trout” hook for this fly? Because the flat-forged Mustad goes in like a needle and can be re-sharpened quickly. It resists straightening or breaking, as few of its “designer” equivalents do.

Step 1: Wind thread over rear two-thirds of the hook shank (leave forward third bare for hair spinning). Tie in tuft of red hackle fluff at the hook bend.

Step 1: Wind thread over rear two-thirds of the hook shank (leave forward third bare for hair spinning). Tie in tuft of red hackle fluff at the hook bend.

Step 2: Tie in a strand of gold Flashabou immediately forward of the tail. Wind thread forward (to the bare shank) and let bobbin hang. Wind Flashabou forward to cover shank (no gaps) and tie it down. Coat those wraps with head cement.

Step 2: Tie in a strand of gold Flashabou immediately forward of the tail. Wind thread forward (to the bare shank) and let bobbin hang. Wind Flashabou forward to cover shank (no gaps) and tie it down. Coat those wraps with head cement.

Step 3: Select two marabou “blood plumes” that are fan-shaped with extremely thin quills. (The wing should be 1 ½ times the length of the hook shank.) Grip each an inch from its tip and remove the quill. Moisten what’s left with water and even up the tips before tying in the plumes over your previous thread wraps. (I’ll occasionally add a hair wing first—usually a few fibers of fine bucktail.) Tie in two or three strands of gold Angel Hair, cement the thread wraps.

Step 3: Select two marabou “blood plumes” that are fan-shaped with extremely thin quills. (The wing should be 1 ½ times the length of the hook shank.) Grip each an inch from its tip and remove the quill. Moisten what’s left with water and even up the tips before tying in the plumes over your previous thread wraps. (I’ll occasionally add a hair wing first—usually a few fibers of fine bucktail.)
Tie in two or three strands of gold Angel Hair, cement the thread wraps.

Step 4: Select a patch of hollow deer belly hair. Snip a few hairs from the patch, and tie them down with the tips pointed toward the hook bend. They should extend half the length of the body. (You don’t need the hair to flare, so go easy on the thread tension. Or use hair that isn’t hollow.) Push the hairs and thread wraps back toward the hook bend (with your thumb and forefinger, or a commercial hair packer. Tie in one or two bunches of deer hair (flaring it with thread tension and cementing the thread wraps) to cover the shank, but don’t crowd the hook eye. Whip finish or perform successive half hitches, snip the thread and cement.

Step 4: Select a patch of hollow deer belly hair. Snip a few hairs from the patch, and tie them down with the tips pointed toward the hook bend. They should extend half the length of the body. (You don’t need the hair to flare, so go easy on the thread tension. Or use hair that isn’t hollow.) Push the hairs and thread wraps back toward the hook bend (with your thumb and forefinger, or a commercial hair packer. Tie in one or two bunches of deer hair (flaring it with thread tension and cementing the thread wraps) to cover the shank, but don’t crowd the hook eye. Whip finish or perform successive half hitches, snip the thread and cement.

Step 5: Shape the head with serrated scissors (or a double-edge razor blade) into basically a conical shape. My cardinal rule is shape the head to resemble indigenous forage. I keep it streamlined for the spillways I fish to imitate the shape of small baitfish mentioned in the introduction.

Step 5: Shape the head with serrated scissors (or a double-edge razor blade) into basically a conical shape. My cardinal rule is shape the head to resemble indigenous forage. I keep it streamlined for the spillways I fish to imitate the shape of small baitfish mentioned in the introduction.

 

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