Steelhead Fly of the week – Showgirl - Fly Fishing Forum
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  #1  
Old 11-21-2006, 08:30 AM
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Charlie Charlie is offline
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Steelhead Fly of the week – Showgirl

Developed by Alaskan guide George Cook in the early 1980’s, this fly is one of a series of flies he calls the Alaskabou series. The origin of this fly came out of necessity. Supposedly, Cook was running out of fly tying supplies and used what he had left over (marabou) to make this fly. This fly has proved to be a very successful winter run fly and is still extensively used on most winter steelhead rivers.

Hook: Up eye Atlantic salmon hook
Body: None.
Wing: Cerise marabou surrounding the hook.
Topping: Purple flashabou
Collar: Purple marabou.
Head: Fluorescent red.
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:04 AM
DBenner DBenner is offline
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Hi there,

This is a great pattern, how do you put on the marabou? Is it wrapped around the hook and slanted back or stacked on the top and bottom. I am thinking about a yellow and chartreuse version for some Atlantic Salmon.

Dwight
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Old 11-21-2006, 11:05 AM
DBenner DBenner is offline
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Hi there,

This is a great pattern, how do you put on the marabou? Is it wrapped around the hook and slanted back or stacked on the top and bottom. I am thinking about a yellow and chartreuse version for some Atlantic Salmon.

Dwight
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Old 11-21-2006, 12:18 PM
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Dwight,

The marabou is supposed to be heavier on top so I usually tie one clump on top and then wrap the rest up to the eye.

Charlie.
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Old 11-22-2006, 01:08 AM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Dwight,

The marabou can be either tied in: 1) as clumps on top and bottom (if you do this, use the tips with 2 or 3 staggered/stacked on top with one less on bottom and make sure they flare somewhat down on the sides of the hook); or 2)tied in by the tip of the feather and wrapped like a hackle (this is also known as marabou spider style) up to but now including the heavy quill near the butt of the feather (if you do it this way, you will need 2 marabou feathers).

Either way works as good as the other so it really comes down to which method you find easiest to work with or which one you like the looks of better. Me? I prefer the marabou spider style because it produces a little more movement in the wate; but until you get the hang of it, it takes longer to tie them marabou spider style.
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Old 11-23-2006, 05:43 PM
Igor Igor is offline
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flytyer,

What is this marabou 'spider style' you're constantly referring to?

Igor
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Old 11-23-2006, 07:18 PM
speydoc speydoc is offline
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Igor
Tying marabou "spider style" simply means using a thin stemed marabou plume and wraping it as a hackle, as opposed to the more common way of pulling bunches of marabou off the stem of the plume and tying in several bunches of marabou fibres to get the desired thickness.
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Old 11-24-2006, 05:04 AM
Igor Igor is offline
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speydoc,

How interesting.

I'm fairly well-read in the history and development of many PNW Marabou steelhead and salmon patterns and a pretty fair hand at tying them. I've even had some enlightening discussions on the matter with several well-known tyers (George Cook being one of them),... yet, I've never heard the term 'spider style' used.

I was very curious where 'flytyer' happened upon the phrase - being the historian and expert he is.

Igor
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Old 11-24-2006, 01:40 PM
Nooksack Mac Nooksack Mac is offline
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Spiders and maribou spiders

Crudely speaking (I'm doing this from memory) "spiders" were attractor dry flies tied with very oversized dry hackle, usually no wings, designed to imitate crane flies or other big insects making a commotion on the surface. Briefly popular more than a half-century ago, they were exaggerated versions of dry flies like Art Flick's Variant.

The term , which is too broad to be useful, applies to flies with hackles but no separate wings. They can be anything from dries to cutthroat damp flies to bottom-dredging monsters for salmon and steelhead. Arguably, even Intruders could be considered spiders with horror-movie genetic defects.

With maribou spiders, which require large hooks to match the fiber length of maribou strands, you can tie in the tip of a maribou feather to a bare hook shank, or ahead of a short tag/tip/body section. To reinforce the slight strength of a maribou's upper stem, coat the hook shank with head cement or other glue and wind the maribou up the shank; in effect, a dense palmer-style hackle. When the stem begins to get too thick and unweildy, tie off, then tie in another maribou of the same or contrasting color. The latter makes for some beautiful blended, multi-colored flies. Whether you finish the fly with something like Flashabou, contrasting collar hackle, bead eyes, etc. is up to you.

Using the stacked clump method, you can tie maribou streamers of any size. Nothing wrong with a little streamer with more wiggle per linear millimeter than L'il Kim.
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Old 11-24-2006, 02:54 PM
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my interpretation of the word comes from Knudsen's spider whose multiple variants I've used to trick a good share of summer run steelhead in a dozen years out there

I tie winter marabous as mack describes, tip first and palmered but often put straight tufts in the core before going in the round

also have done very well with buggy seal bodies and marabou wings in multi segments alternating on tubes but i digress
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Old 11-24-2006, 10:28 PM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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Igor,

Since others have already answered your question very well, there is no need for me to add anything to what they already said.
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Old 11-28-2006, 05:02 AM
Gardener Gardener is offline
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Origin of spider-style flies

From flytier's description, it seems to me that marabou spiders are no more than a direct development of the traditional spider style of trout flies that are still quite widely used in the UK, although the marabou ones are very much scaled up. The originals are often referred to as 'north country flies', as many of them originated in the counties of Yorkshire, Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmorland. I believe these may be similar to what are known in the US as soft hackle flies, and are designed to be fished wet rather than dry.

It's a very old style of fly, and certainly some tyings are documented back at least to the 1830s. They are some of the simplest flies to tie, using materials that would have been easily obtainable by country people. Many of the flies have a body of plain silk, though some are lightly dubbed, usually with natural fur, and the hackle is typically taken from a game bird rather than a domestic fowl. Examples of such flies are the partridge and orange, snipe and purple, waterhen bloa, dotterel dun and so on. They are typically dressed very lightly, and never have wings - this is the defining feature of the style. The hackle is often tied long - up to twice the hook length.

For more information, I'm told there is a US book called 'Two Centuries of Soft Hackled Flies' by Sylvester Nemes. Otherwise, the classic British sources include books by Pritt, W C Stewart and also Edmonds and Lee. You might also find this site interesting: http://www.wetfly.co.uk/
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Old 11-28-2006, 07:57 AM
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Lots of good replies on this fly. Thanks all for the good information. Another good tip for tying the marabou spiders is to have a small bowl of water on hand to wet your fingers and the marabou with. This makes the marabou easier to work with and control as you wrap it around the hook.

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Old 12-20-2006, 06:29 AM
LONGBELLY LONGBELLY is offline
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Great looking fly. I would like to see more of these marabou spider flies. They must be great in the water.
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:11 PM
speydoc speydoc is offline
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Igor
I moved to north central British Columbia in 1994 - the term "marabou spider" and the above mentioned style of tying was in widespread use amongst the local steelheading comunity then - I had never thought to ask anyone as to the exact origen.
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