Marabou – Utilising the feather

Marabou – Tying how to?

Author: Kieron Jenkins

Marabou is great, for something so simple it adds so much colour and movement to your fly. Being very versatile, marabou can be added to any fly whether its in the wing, tail or wrapped as a body. One of my favourite tricks is to mix two brightly contrasting colours, such as Fluo Orange and Flou Yellow, not only does it create a bright, attractive fly but also something that looks different in the water.

Using marabou is easy, pull it from the stalk a tie it in.. Right? Yes, but why not think about it for a while? Think how much movement you can get into your flies, the density of the marabou, it’s length and strength.

Looking at a standard marabou feather the best part is the direct centre where the herls are at their greatest in strength, length and capacity. The ‘fluffiest’ bit if you like. Usually the last few inches at the tip the feathers become brittle and thin.

The Tail

Using marabou as a tail opens up a great array of opportunity, lengths and thickness’s can be altered with ease to give the perfect lure. I prefer my tail the be a lot thinner than the wing, I think by having a thinner bunch of marabou the more movement is given as it doesn’t ‘matte’ together and become solid. Strip just 1 1/2 – 2cm of herl from the stalk and twist in your fingers just to keep secure.

From removing the marabou from the ‘ideal’ part of the stalk the removed bunch then has its own ‘ideal’ parts. The bulkier, more pronounced part near the cut off is now the perfect part of the feather, this part will give the best movement and structure to the fly. The tips, highlighted red, are brittle and once wet become very thin and almost useless as movement and structure is lost, for a lure anyway.

Tying in

I know it sounds odd but tying marabou in can be a tricky task, it needs to be settled on top of the hook and secured properly to stop slippage and also thin enough so it doesn’t bulk up the body on skinny flies. Usually, marabou is tied in such as the below, simply trim the waste from the stalk and wrap.

Now this is fine if your tying a lure or a blob, but tying straight over the end of the marabou means your thread hasn’t really fallen as tight as it can, securing the tail. Tip – Measure up the end of the marabou to where you want the end to lie, and strip the marabou herl from the stalk by simply using the thumb and fore-finger technique similar to stripping peacock herl.

This reveals the stalk of the herls which is very strong, flat and thin which can be tied easily and tightly creating a flat and much thinner body. Image tying that over lead? It wouldn’t add any bulk to the body. Simply pinch the tail to whatever length you like, give it a blow and check out the movement, try tying a few flies with different density tails to compare the movement. For me, it’s thinner the better.

Tying the Wing

A wing of marabou is usually longer and thicker than the tail allowing the wing to have a larger surface area forces more movement. The vortex which is created from the dispersion of water from foam booby eyes also gives the wing a lot of movement. Using the method above, heads and platforms for eyes can be kept relatively thin.

Hopefully you can see the benefit of using this method and it helps you in your tying.

Post written by Kieron Jenkins

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