Sunday, May 25, 2008

Marabou Minnow Flies

Tying flies is not my strong suit. Thankfully, steelhead -- particularly Lake Erie steelhead -- aren't particularly picky or selective in their food choices. Over the years I've collected a handful of patterns that are both easy to tie and catch plenty of fish. Spending a lot of time tying steelhead flies seems to be a waste of time for two reasons. The first is the point made above. The second is that steelhead flies are fished near the bottom and therefore often get regularly stuck there. Why break off a fly you took 20 minutes tying if a 2 minute version will also do the trick?

I tie a simple white marabou minnow fly on a size 8 or 10 streamer hook. I will sometimes use a glass or gold bead head on the fly, and always tie a small piece of red yarn in at the tail. I wrap a little bit of lead on the fly to get it to the bottom. White or silver braid makes up the body. I've started using gold wire to counter wrap the braid in an attempt to help the fly survive a few more crushing strikes -- but I haven't had a chance yet to see whether the added element is worth the effort. A small to medium-sized batch of white marabou feathers (I've started to fiddle with olive, but so far white does the trick.) behind the bead and follow that with a few strands of crystal flash, and three peacock herls. The feathers, flash and and herls extend beyond the hook shank, by about half the distance of the hook. A whip finish ends the job.

It takes a few minutes to tie and attracts steelhead in both cold water when they're sitting at the back end of a pool, and when their aggressively moving onto the gravel. It's an all purpose fly that is easy to tie and even looks nice in a fly box.

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