The Morlock Goby was originally tied by Kevin Morlock, of Indigo Guide Service, about fifteen years ago. Kevin started chasing Great Lakes Carp around Beaver Island in Lake Michigan and found that the invasive Goby’s were a major part of the carp’s diet. It wasn’t long before he found that they love his Goby pattern. His particular pattern has a triple articulation in it. However, there are not three hooks but rather just one. The tail and middle sections are tied on the hook shanks and the points of the hooks are cut off. This leaves these two sections to move independently of each other and results in a very realistic Goby pattern. From a fisherman’s perspective you would love to fish this fly all the time. However, from a fly tiers perspective, this is not a fly you want to tie everyday. It is not a complicated tie but rather time consuming. Basically, you are tying three flies to make one fly. So, it takes a while to tie up a Morlock Goby.
Aside from some deer hair and a Yellow Marabou feather the entire fly is tied using hackles from a Ring-Necked Pheasant. The general idea is that you will be tying in hackles by their tips and palmering them to fill up the hook shank. You are not just using any hackles though, you are looking to use smaller hackles in the tail, medium hackles in the mid-section and large hackles in the head section. You are trying to accomplish a tapered body that is larger at the head and tapers down to the tail fin. If you have never see a goby before think of a freshwater sculpin, same body style. I find it is helpful if you know a little about the Ring-Neck Pheasant skin and the different types of feathers you can get from the skin. There are four types of feathers that are used in the Morlock Goby, the back hackles, the rump hackles, the shoulder hackles, and the neck hackles. The trick is finding small, medium and large feathers to make the fly. If you break the fly down into it’s various sections you will be tying small to small-medium hackles in the tail section. You will be tying medium sized hackles in the Mid-section and large hackles in the head section of the fly. You will also be tying in less hackles in each section.
The tail section usually has four to five small hackles tied in (not including the hackle for the tail fin). The number really depends on how long you want the tail section to be. Because you are essentially tying on a straight piece of wire you can make it any length you want. Therefore, you could have five small hackles or eight if you want. Keep in mind, you’re wanting that forward taper so if you have more than four small hackles tied in you will need to start tying in larger hackle to produce the taper. The mid-section usually has three to four hackles tied in. I like to range these from small-medium hackles through medium and possibly medium-large hackles, again depending on how long I want the mid-section. The head section is limited though because you have to keep room for the deer hair head. I only tie in two large hackles in the head section. You will also want to change up the hackles you use for the fly in regards to their pattern and color. I usually tie in a rump hackle, then a neck hackle and then a shoulder hackle. I usually keep rotating through all three the entire length of the fly. It will give it a more mottled look and it will balance out your usage of the hackles on your skin.
I have detailed step by step instructions below. In some regards the high resolution images might help answer questions as to how to tie this fly. I also have a detailed video on the tying of the Morlock Goby. I recommend you watch the video first and refer back to it because there is some information that is in the video that is not included in this article. At the same time, there is some information included in this article that is not in the video. Just remember, it is fly tying, it is supposed to be fun and learning new flies and techniques, while confusing as you are learning, can be quite fun and rewarding.
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.
Tiemco 105, #4 for the head section, Mustad 3366 #6 for the mid-section and tail section
Wapsi UTC Ultra Thread 70 Denier, Black & Wapsi 100 denier GSP for the deer hair
Small Pheasant rump feather
Tail & Mid Section:
Palmered Ring-Neck Pheasant Hackles
Palmered Large Ring-Neck Pheasant Hackles
Medium Yellow Dumbbell Eyes
20lb Power Pro fishing line, or equivalent braided fishing line.
1) Place the hook for the tail section in the vise.
2) Attach the 70 denier thread behind the eye of the hook and wind down the hook shank to just about the point of the hook.
3) Tie in the Pheasant Rump feather that will be the tail fin. Make certain to tie it in a vertical orientation.
4) Just in front of the the tail fin, tie in your first small hackle, by the tip, and palmer forward. Each of the next small hackles for the tail are tied in the same fashion and palmered forward. Keep repeating this with small hackles and maybe a small to medium hackle at the eye of the hook until the shank has been filled.
5) Once all of the hackles have been palmered to make the tail section, apply a four or five turn whip finish to secure the thread, add a drop of head cement and then clip off the remaining wire of the hook. The bend, barb and point of the hook are not needed.
6) Once the remaining section of the hook has been removed you should only have just a small bit of wire sticking out of the back end of the tail section.
7) Now you are ready to work on the middle section of the fly. Place the hook for the middle section in the vise and attach your thread behind the eye of the hook. This time, wrap your thread about 2/3 the way down the hook shank, this section is a little shorter than the tail section. Attach the braided fishing line on the side of the hook facing you but not directly on the side but rather halfway from the side and the underside of the hook. If this is a little confusing, refer to the video where I explain in more detail as to why this has to be tied in this way.
8) Thread the fishing braid through the eye of the tail section and draw the tail section down to the middle section hook. Leave about a 1/16″ loop for the tail section to wiggle around in and tie down the other piece of fishing braid to complete the articulation of the tail section.
9) Wrapping your thread forward towards the eye and back down the shank again a few times will insure the braid is well anchored to the middle section hook.
10) You will now repeat the same process on the middle section of the fly as you did the tail; tie in a hackle, palmer it, tie it off. This time however, you will be using small to medium sized hackles and as you advance to the hook eye move to more medium size feathers. The idea it to have a bit of a taper as you move forward from the tail fin through the middle section and into the head section. The fly should appear to get larger.
11) Once all of the hackles have been applied to the mid-section hook shank you will secure your thread, apply a little head cement and clip off the un-used portion of the hook (sound familiar?).
12) Now the tail and middle sections of the Goby are complete. Place the head section hook in the vise and attach your thread about two eye lengths behind the eye of the hook.
13) Where your thread is hanging (about two eye lengths behind the hook eye) you will attach your yellow dumbbell eyes. Make certain these are secured in well and place some head cement on the thread wraps to secure the eyes in place.
14) Advance your thread behind the dumbbell eyes and wind the thread down the hook shank and just past into the bend of the hook about 5 turns. Bring your thread back up to the end of the hook shank and tie in your second piece of fishing braid.
15) As you did with the tail section, thread the braid through the eye of the hook on the middle section and draw it down to the hook. Again, leave a 1/16″ loop off the back of the hook for the middle section to move around in and secure the braid to the hook shank, removing the excess.
16) Again, similar to the tail section and middle section you are going to tie in and palmer some Pheasant tail hackles for the head section. This time there will only be two hackles and each are large sized feathers.
17) Once the hackles have been palmered and tied in, secure the 70 denier tying thread with a four or five turn whip finish and cut the thread away. Place a small drop of head cement on the thread wraps, just to add a little extra security and attach the 100 denier GSP tying thread.
18) Select a yellow Marabou feather that will be the belly of the fly. The tips of the Marabou should extend back to about the mid-point of the middle section. Cut away the rest and tie this in behind the dumbbell eyes. Make certain to add some extra thread wraps between the dumbbell eyes and the last hackle that was tied in so that you have a smooth level area for adding the deer hair.
19) Select a clump of deer hair, about a pencil in diameter, clean it and stack it. Hold the stacked tip ends of the deer hair over the fly and extend the tips of the deer hair just past the bend of the hook (about half a shank length is good).
20) Remove the excess deer hair, you only need the tips and they need to be long enough to cover from the dumbbell eyes to just past the hook bend. This will be the collar of the fly. Hold in place and apply three or four collecting wraps of thread around the fly and the clump of deer hair.
21) Using you scissors or bodkin, gently push the clump of deer hair so that it rotates around the fly from the belly side to the back side of the fly. If you take your time and gently work the hair around under the thread wraps you should have no problems migrating it to the back side of the fly. Remember the “backside” of the fly is the section in the gap of the hook.
22) Once the deer hair is in position, anchor it with your hand and pull the tying thread to cinch the thread down to the hook.
23) Once the thread is cinched down nice and tight you will see the butt ends of the hair flare out. Add a few wraps of thread through the butt ends of the flared hair. Be careful not to lash down all of the butt ends of hair, they are going to be needed.
24) The rest of the head of the fly is finished by making a dubbing brush of deer hair. If you have never done this before I recommend watching the video of the Morlock Goby as I go into greater detail as to the procedure to make a dubbing brush out of deer hair.
25) Once you have your dubbing brush of deer hair made you will place three wraps from the base of the collar to the dumbbell eyes. You should notice that when you bring the dubbing brush around the fly and pull it down tight to the fly the hair folds up in a vertical position because of the butt ends of the collar we left in place.
26) The dubbing brush should be just behind the dumbbell eyes at this time. You will then place another three wraps across the middle of the dumbbell eyes. Your wraps should start on the backside of the dumbbell eyes on your side of the hook. The wrap then goes across the top of the dumbbell eyes to the opposite side of the hook. You may need to stroke back some of the deer hair as you wrap to keep it from getting trapped along the hook.
27) You should have enough of your dubbing brush left to place two or three turns just in front of the dumbbell eyes. If not, simply spin in a small clump of deer hair to fill in the space in front of the dumbbell eyes and the eye of the hook.
28) You are now done with the deer hair and can place three or four half hitches just behind the eye of the hook and cut off your thread. Make certain to add some head cement to the thread wraps behind the eye of the hook.
29) You can now start trimming the deer hair to form the head of the fly. You are looking for an general “bullet” shape to the head. I again recommend you watch the video as there is much more detail in this section of the video than in this article.
30) Keep trimming a little hair off at a time and keep working around the fly until you get the shape you want. Remember, you can always cut off a little more but you can’t put it back on. At some point you will have to decide that the head is good enough and move on to the next fly.
31) With that, you Morlock Goby is complete. Congratulations!
If you prefer, there is a video on tying this fly. I recommend you watch the video even if you prefer the step-by-step directions as the video can clarify some of the steps.
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!