Waters & words

Feathers: buying decent marabou

The other evening, I was tying up a few flies for still-water, and I was getting to the end of a pack of marabou. When I remarked to the family that I was running out of feathers, I got some funny looks. That’s because as I said that there were wisps drifting about me in the air, there was some getting in my nose, and there were black feathers all over the place. But they were the wrong feathers you see.

Those who use marabou, will know what what I am talking about, feathers with thin, sharp ends. No fluff at the ends.

Poor Marabou

In desperation I looked in a packet that I thought contained grey marabou. As it turned out, it only looked grey because the old plastic packet (with a “Fly-fisherman” price tag of R4-50 on it!), had whitened. Inside, it contained the most glorious black marabou, as I remember marabou from 20 years ago:

Good Marabou

Now that is a proper feather.

Look for feathers like this when buying marabou. Some packets have a lot more of this in them than others.

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4 responses

  1. Roy Ward

    Enjoyed this Andrew. It brought back memories of the day I heard that The Fly Fisherman would be closing down. I was shocked and where else would we get our supplies? So that lunch time I drove up to Hilton and The Fly Fisherman, stopping on the way to draw out some funds.

    At that time my number one fly was the red eyed damsel in olive, rusty red brown and black. One uses quite a lot of marabou there. The price was R5.60 by then (I do have a few packets with whats left of a few feathers in each marked at R4.50) I bought quite a bit and still have five packets of olive, one of brown, one of rusty red brown, three black and two of red (for bloodworms). I must agree with you that I’ve not seen marabou as good as these for some time. I stocked up with some hooks, thread and a pheasant tail feather. Six weeks later The FlyFisherman closed, a very sad day indeed.

    It was so good to see Roger and Brigette when they were out recently.

    Like

    August 27, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    • Indeed Roy. Fond memories of that great fly-shop, and still a number of quality items in my fishing and fly-tying kit bearing their emblem

      Like

      August 28, 2013 at 11:06 am

  2. Dan

    The feather at the top would make a cracking cormorant though…

    Like

    August 27, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    • Hi Dan, I am afraid the only cormorant I am familiar with is the one seen down the barrel of a shotgun! you will have to enlighten me on this other type!

      Like

      August 28, 2013 at 11:03 am

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