You may be familiar with George Cook’s famous Alaskabou Popsicle, this Orange Popsicle is a hairwing fly pattern for steelhead and salmon from BC fly tyer Bill Luscombe. The original pattern calls for the use of mallard in the tail and throat, but I think this fly would be well served with a stronger barred feather like teal or gadwall flank. The body is dubbed using tri-lobal STS dubbing which gives the fly a ton of reflective surfaces in the water. If you have seal dubbing at your disposal, it would also work quite well for this fly, but is not legal or easy to obtain in every country. Canadians have access to polar bear hair and seal fur for the time being, but more other countries prohibit these natural materials.
Orange Popsicle Fly Recipe
Hook: Tiemco 7999 #2-8 (http://amzn.to/2ix4AVX)
Thread: Fire Orange 6/0 (140 d)
Tail: Mallard flank
Rib: UNI-Mylar silver #12
Body: STS Dubbing hot orange (http://amzn.to/2y3hGR9)
Wing: White bucktail
Collar: Mallard flank
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.
Palmering marabou is something I do every day. I make a ton of Alaskabou patterns, and Jay Nicholas ties up a nice variation of the Showgirl Alaskabou here. Just switch out the colors to create a ton of nice flowing steelhead flies.
Chartreuse + Black = Nitro
Orange + Pink/Red + Purple = Popsicle
Yellow + Black + White = Black Ghost
Hot Pink + Red = Candy Cane
Hot Pink + Silver Dr. Blue = Chum Candy
There are tons of variations a tyer can create. Switch the colors to target other species as well like pike or Bull trout.