Friday, September 7, 2012

Marabou veiling technique

One of the things that I like to demonstrate at fly shows are the tricks that make my life as a tier easier, and my flies more durable when faced with an angry fish.  I always aim for my flies to have inherent movement, so one of my favorite materials is marabou.  Unfortunately marabou, while full of movement, tends to be brittle.  Of course I can not do anything about the feather fibers I can eliminate the part that is most likely to get broken and cause the fly to unravel...the stem.  When utilizing marabou for veiling I do not use the standard technique of palmering the feather, but rather a technique more similar to spinning deerhair.  The following is a step by step of how I create the marabou veiling on patterns like the Red Rocket and Red October.

STEP 1:  With a full marabou plume in hand, come down the center stem until the feather fibers are the length that is acceptable to you.

STEP 2:  At that point clip out just the center stem, leaving the rest of the feather intact, and remove the tip of the feather.

STEP 3:  Stroke the feather together as a flattened bunch and lay it down on the top of the hook shank.  Slide your index finger down the far side of the hook shank to help spread the feather down the far side of the shank.

STEP 4:  Loosely wrap your thread up over the top of the shank and then as you come around use the thread tension to 'pull' the feather the rest of the way around the shank and back up  the near side.  This is very similar to what happens  when loosely spinning deerhair.

STEP 5:  Give yourself some secure wraps behund the head to hold everything in place.

STEP 6:  Using your scissors, trim out the fibers hanging out over the eye.  The closer you can get behind the eye the cleaner the end result will be.

STEP 7:  Finish off the thread head by wrapping down the exposed butt ends and whip finish.

-mike schmidt


  1. I've been wanting to see this since you mentioned it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Is the tie in point where you cut the stem or are you wrapping your thread over some of the stem?

  3. I tie it in right at where you cut the stem to help keep it stable as you wrap. Will take a few attempts to get the fibers to evenly spread, but once you get it down it is quick and easy! I head from the guys at SS Flies and this is the same method that they use except they take it a step further and cut the feahter to length as well so there is no cut after the wrap is completed.