The pink popsicle is one of a series of Alaskabou flies developed by angler George Cook. I’ve been tying and catching loads of great lakes salmon and steelhead on a series of Alaskabou flies for the better part of a decade now. Simple flies are always on my list, and the Alaskabou is one that fits that description. Just a little bit of flash, mylar and marabou, but it’s an effective combination. The feathers are tied in so the wet fly still has a nice teardrop shape when it gets pulled through the water. The marabou has a ton of movement in the water, and just a hint of the pearl flash helps to attract the right kind of attention.
The Popsicle version of the Alaskabou is likely the best known of the series with the pink and red version competing for the top spot. A couple of the other popular named colours are Pixie’s Revenge, Showgirl, Chum Candy, Volcano and the Candy Cane. The combinations are endless, just swap out the marabou colour of your choice and viola, you have a new custom fly to try out.
In this version, marabou is used at each stage, but some patterns will call for the first two wings being tied with marabou and the front being a schlappen feather.Have some fun with it, and try out some unusual combinations.
Click here for a chance to win a dozen of these flies tied by Darren MacEachern.
Alaskabou – Popsicle (George Cook)
Hook: Salmon / Steelhead iron Tiemco 7999, Mustad SL73UBLN
Thread: 6/0 Fire orange
Body: #10 UNI-Mylar silver
First Wing: Orange marabou wrapped
2nd Wing: Pink marabou wrapped
Flash: Pearl crystal flash 3-4 strands
Top Wing: Purple marabou wrapped
Head: Thread with head cement
Tying big steelhead flies can be quite a satisfying experience if you normally tie a lot of smaller flies. After a couple hours work, there is a nice satisfying pile to admire. Martin shows us his Lady Gaga stinger pattern in this video, a fly that can surely fill space in a short time with the big fox hair wing. Martin uses a 25mm Waddington shank, but I personally prefer the Senyo style shanks. I make sure to also double back the wire to keep it secure, and Martyn’s technique ensures the wire won’t pull out on a big fish or snag.
You’ll want to make sure you have a brush on hand to take out some of the fox hair underfur, otherwise you’ll end up with an unruly head, and one that is at risk of slipping out. I use a piece of velcro glues on a popsicle stick, or an old toothbrush with the bristles cut low. You can save the underfur to make your own dubbing and blends. Remember, you will be tying 3 stacks of fox, and flash in a small area, so the less underfur, the better. It will also help shed water easier and allow the fly to move more fluidly in the water. I really like Martyn’s tying and the fact that he strives to make the fly more than adequately durable.
Lady Gaga Fly Pattern Recipe
Shank: Waddington shank or intruder shank rigged with a loop of intruder wire or fireline
Thread: Black 6/0
Butt: Hot pink ice dubbing
Tail: Hot pink floss
Ribbing: Copper wire
Body: Gold flat braid then blue spectra flash dubbing (heavy)
Hackle: Hot pink schlappen
Wing: Pink flash, pink Arctic fox, kingfisher blue fox, turquoise flashabou, copper (fiery brown) flashabou
Collar: Blue Guinea fowl
Top Wing: Black fox hair
Eyes: Jungle cock nail
Be sure to check out this and other videos on Martyn White’s Youtube page and check out his blog at FlickingFeathers.
I just recieved an email from HMH with a great cache of patterns and tutorials done by pro-staffer Marty Howard. There are 55 tutorials available, enough to keep you busy for some time, filling up your steelhead and salmon fly boxes.
My apologies for the long absence. I’ve had some medical issues lately and decided to take a break from posting while I was recovering. Lots of great stuff in the can though.