The Alaskabou like many fly patterns has evolved from other successful fly patterns. The Alaskabou has been credited to George Cook whom used his selection of colour combinations to pursue Alaskan steelhead and salmon. George added Flashabou to increase the amount of attraction in the Marabou Spider. In the 1970’s Skagit River Steelhead guide Joe Butorac was credited with creating Marabou Spiders. Basically, the Marabou Spiders were palmered marabou without the benefit of Krystal Flash or Flashabou. Over the years, the pattern has evolved to be tied with or with out bodies, palmered and unpalmered marabou, with and without flash and some are tied completely with marabou while others employ mallard or schlappen collars.
The following pattern demonstrated is the pattern I use to tie my Alaskabou style marabou flies. The fly is simple, and once you have selected the proper materials, it is a breeze to tie. Although the Alaskabou was tied with Flashabou, I do substitute Krystal Flash. The Show Girl is a pink and purple combination popularized by George Cook. The Show Girl is popular for targeting west coast salmon and steelhead. Some of the other names you may have heard associated with Alaskabou are Candy Cane, Chum Candy, Flesh, Blue Moon, Pixie’s Revenge, Manhattan Beach and Popsicle to name a few. In a follow up article, I will post images of a number of Alaskabou colour schemes and recipes.
Alaskabou Show Girl Fly Pattern Recipe
Hook: Partridge N or Eagle River ER-7089
Thread: UNI-Thread 6/0 Fire Orange
Body: Silver Mylar Tinsel
Wings: Pink Marabou under Pink Marabou under Purple Marabou
Flash: Pearl Crystal Flash or Flashabou
Head: Fire Orange Thread
1. Begin by placing your hook into the vise. Start your thread about an eye length behind the eye, and wrap backwards, closing the eye loop. Use a thread colour to match the colour scheme. For the Show Girl, I like to use the UNI Fire Orange.
2. Tie in a length of silver mylar tinsel. Most silver tinsels will have a gold side as well. If this is the case, tie in the tinsel with the silver side along the hook shank. The gold side of the tinsel should be visible. Secure the tinsel about 1/4 of the shank length. This will define the tie in point for the marabou once the tinsel body is completed.
3. To keep the body thin, and to avoid any bumps in the body, we being wrapping the tinsel at the tie off point. Begin the first wrap at the tie in point, wrapping the tinsel so that the silver side is exposed. Wrap the tinsel in tight touching turns to the midway point through the hook point.
4. Wrap the tinsel back to the tie in point, repeating the tight close touching turns. Be sure there is no bare hook exposed in the tinsel body. Tie down the tinsel, and trim the excess.
5. Find a thin quill marabou feather. These are commonly referred to as blood quills and are ideal for wrapping marabou spiders and other palmered marabou flies. Strip off the bottom fibres exposing the stem. Stroke the marabou fibres to a 90 degree angle from the stem, and bunch the tip of the feather to provide a tie in point on the feather. Moisten the tip to bind down the marabou fibres, and tie in the feather by the tip at the end of the tinsel.
6. Grasp the stem with a pair of hackle pliers, and hold the feather vertical. With your left hand, stroke the marabou fibres to the rear of the fly. Once you have all the fibres positioned in the same direction, simply wrap the marabou around the hook shank. You will need to keep stroking the fibres back to ensure they stay in the correct position.
7. Once you reach bare stem, you will need to tie off the marabou and trim off the excess stem. You can see how the palmered marabou creates a nice tear drop shape. Take a second feather, and repeat the process.
8. Take some flash material and tie it over the second marabou feather. Be sure to spread the flash to give attraction to the entire fly. You can use either crystal flash or Flashabou for the attractor.
9. Next, prepare a purple marabou feather like the others and tie it in by the tip. Be sure to trim the tip close to the eye to avoid any stray marabou fibres.
10. Palmer the purple marabou, and tie it off at the eye of the hook. Trim off the excess stem.
11. Create a neat tapered head with the thread, add a whip finish and cement. When wet, the fly will form a distinct tear drop shape. To keep Alaskabous and other marabou flies tamed in the fly box, a 3/4 inch section of drinking straw can be placed over the hook shank. Feel free to play around with colour combinations.
Originally published on Flyangler.ca, 2007