Marabou Spider [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Marabou Spider

Jim Miller
11-02-2007, 02:14 PM
a little different pattern for me.

11-02-2007, 02:47 PM
Nicely done! I like the jungle cock sides, something you hardly ever see on this style of fly here in the PNW.

Jim Miller
11-02-2007, 03:29 PM
Thanks for the kind words. :)
you seem to be very well versed in the history of these flys. Here's a question.... does it seem that "streamers" seem to have the jungle cock to imitate the eye target.... whereas the "prawn" patterns do not (or have a tippet eye at the hook bend) ? Seems to make sense to me .... but I haven't explored the history of these patterns yet. ;)

11-02-2007, 05:56 PM

You are right about the jungle cock used to imitate eyes of baitfish on streamers. In fact, many of the tyers of old that originated streamers, such as Edmond Burke, wrote about using jungle cock to imitate baitfish eyes because baitfish eyes are a prominent (and very visible) feature.

On classic salmon flies, jungle cock was sometimes used to imitate the "eyes" on butterfly wings because one of the theories back in the 1700 and 1800's was that salmon fed on butterflies. Take a look at some of the classic married wings and you will see how much they look like a butterfly. Some of them (such as Kelson's Purple Emperor) was explicitly designed to look somewhat like a specific butterfly or moth.

Prawn imitations, which spey, dee, and don flies fit under, didn't use jungle cock in the early ones. However, somewhere around 1870 or so many of the dee and don flies acquired jungle cock sides because they made them less drap and a bit gaudy. Keep in mind that one of the most popular theories about salmon and what flies worked was that the salmon had "learned" or acquired a taste for the gaudy flies and their various adornments, which cause the salmon to take the gaudy flies in preference to drap, unadorned ones.

The modern prawn imitations developed since the mid-1900's use eyes (black bead chain, melted mono, plastic bead chain, G.P. tippets, glass beads on mono, etc.) at or near the bend of the hook expressly to imitate the prawn's eyes.
We have certainly come a ways in the 100+ years since then. So if you are referring to modern prawn imitations, then you are correct, the eyes are being imitated at the end of the hook shank near the bend.

Jim Miller
11-02-2007, 07:28 PM
Thank you for the history. It's all very interesting. The butterfly connection and the fly design to mimick is especially neat! .... Thanks again for taking the time to explain it.