The Black Ghost Marabou

Written by Ian Anderson

 

Background

The Black Ghost Marabou is a variant of the Black Ghost created by Herbert L. Welch.  The black Ghost was created to fish for Brook Trout and Land Locked Salmon in the Rangeley region of Maine.  There are many variations of the fly and the marabou wing version has become popular in warmwater circles.  It is a simple fly to tie because the wing is made from a Marabou feather rather then matched saddle hackles.  The fly is usually tied on a 5x – 6x long streamer hook but longer hooks (such as a Carrie Stevens hook) or even a 4x hook will work as well.  Keep in mind you are tying this to imitate a baitfish therefore it needs to be the length of the common baitfish you have in your waters.  That will dictate the length of the hook you will use, unless you are tying this fly for show.  The Black Ghost Marabou is a great fly as a ‘starter’ fly if you are wanting to tie “classic” freshwater streamers.  The tail, body and false hackle are all very common on these types of flies so you will gain experience with those aspects of these flies.  The Marabou wing is easy to tie in and then focus on the head of the fly, which is also common among these flies.  Once you get this fly down it is an easy transition to tying in matched wings.

Below is Step by Step instructions for those who like this format better than videos. I have detailed all the steps and there is a high resolution image for each step (simply click on the image to the right). If you prefer a video format there is a embedded video at the bottom of the page.  I suggest watching hte video as seeing each step demonstrated may help clarify the instructions below.

If you have any questions about the article or the video, do not hesitate to leave me a comment here or on YouTube (the video) and I will be glad to help clear anything up.

  Materials

Hook: Fulling Mill Fm 22 20  or Mustad 9674 or Mustad 79580, #2 – #10
Thread: Danville Flat Waxed Nylon & Wapsi UTC Ultra Thread 70 Denier, Black
Tail: Schlappen Hackle, Yellow
Rib: Silver Mylar Tinsel, Medium to Large
Body: Rayon Floss, Black
False Hackle: Schlappen Hackle, Yellow
Wing: Marabou, White

 

Instructions

1)  Place the hook in the vise. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
2)  Attach the Danville Flat Waxed Nylon thread one eye length behind the eye of the hook and advance it down the hook shank to just over the point of the hook. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
3)  Tie in the tail section so that the tail length is about half a hook shank long. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
4)  Attach the Mylar tinsel, gold side up.  This way when wrapping the rib the silver side will be showing. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
5)  Attach the floss such that the end of the floss is the length of the body.  This way the entire body length will be as sooth as possible. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
6)  Advance your thread up the hook shank to about half an eye length behind the eye of the hook. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
7)  You are done with the Flat Waxed Nylon thread at this time.  Attach the 70 denier UTC thread at the eye of the hook and wrap down the hook shank about one eye length, trapping the tag as well as the Flat Waxed Nylon thread.  Cut away the tag and the Flat Waxed Nylon thread. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
8)  You now have only the 70 denier UTC thread attached just behind the eye of the hook and are ready to make the body of the fly. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
9)  Wrap the floss body making certain to slightly overlap each wrap in order to have a nice smooth body.  Secure just behind the eye of the hook and trim away the remaining floss. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
10)  Palmer the silver tinsel rib making certain to evenly space the wraps.  It is not as import how many wraps you have as it is making certain they are evenly space, six to eight wraps is about the norm.  Secure behind the eye of the hook and trim away the remaining tinsel. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
11)  Tie in the false hackle (sometimes called a beard) on the underside of the hook and trim away the remaining hackle fibers.  You will want to clean up the head space and make certain you have a nice smooth base for tying in the wing. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
12)  You will tie in the wing on top of the hook shank just above the false hackle.  The wing length varies from just shorter than the tail to about half a hook shank length past the end of the tail. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
13)  Trim away the excess Marabou and you are now ready to make the head of the fly. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
14)  When making the head of the fly, take care to make certain all of the butt ends of the Marabou are covered up but make certain you do not make the head to large. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
15)  Secure the thread with a four or five turn whip finish and trim away the thread.  Apply you favorite head cement and the fly is done. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
16)  If you like, you can created a lacquered look to the head of the fly by apply multiple coats of Hard as Hull cement.  It will take three or four coats to build up a nice smooth finish. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step
17)  Your Black Ghost Marabou is finished. The Black Ghost Marabou - Step by Step

 

If you are interested, there are some Black Ghost Marabou flies for sale here on Dressed Irons (while supplies last).

Feel free to leave a comment or question below.

Always Remember…It’s Fly Tying… If You’re Not Having Fun, You’re Doin’ it Wrong!