Marabou Style Intruder

Luckily fish don’t know the price of marabou. Photos: Stuart Foxall.

Winter steelhead season is right around the corner, and for many die-hard anglers that means swinging big, gaudy flies for big anadramous fish.

Intruder style flies are all the rage these days when targeting sea-run fish in cold water, or in any other situation where a large profile is desired. However, the cost of materials needed for many intruder style patterns can discourage the average tyer from tying their own, particularly those getting started!

Luckily, our buddy Stuart Foxall agreed to put together a two-part series on some intruder style patterns that aren’t only easier to tie, but use substantially cheaper materials as well. Not to mention they catch fish.. Check out Stu’s step by step below for part 1 of our ‘Intruders on the Cheap’ mini series!

Tying the Marabou Intruder

One of the cheapest materials that all fish find irresistible is marabou. If you’re finding it hard to find rhea or other expensive materials, do not be afraid to use marabou.. The fish certainly won’t turn their nose up at it and neither should we! If you are new to tying intruders, marabou is also a great material to start with as it’s a lot cheaper than most materials, and messing up with rhea can be costly!

To be honest, in really cold water when fish tend to rest in softer water, these marabou style flies often out fish other more expensive fly styles as well.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 1: I’ve used a 25mm shank here. I like to add my dumbbell eyes first as I know how much space I have to tie the fly onto the shank. I’ve also whipped a wire loop onto the shank for the trailer hook. It’s important not to make it too long as we don’t want to hook fish too far down.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 2: Tie in a dubbing ball using ice dub. Then, tie 4 or 5 strands of krystal flash. Tie in some arctic fox in backwards.

Note: See this step in detailed form by checking out our post on tying intruders without a dubbing loop.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 3: Bend the arctic fox backwards followed by a couple of wraps of marabou. I’ve also added a few strips of holographic flashabou underneath.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 4: Add a few strips of pearl mirage flashabou and some amherst pheasant fibres. Cover the ugly tying in point with some schlappen hackle.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 5: Cover the shank with some braid to create the body. Then, add another dubbing ball at the head section followed by a few strands of pearl krystal flash.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 6: For the head section I have used black bear. This hair is slightly stronger and stiffer than fox so gives the fly some shoulders which in turn pushes water when swung. Once again I tied this in backwards and folded forward. Followed by some strands of purple holographic flashabou.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 7: Add two to three wraps of marabou at the head.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 8: Add a few more strands of pearl mirage flashabou. There are also some dark blue Amherst pheasant fibres tied in as a false beard on the underneath of the fly. As normal cover the tying in point with some schlappen hackle.

Marabou Style Intruder

Step 9: Tie in some wings on top of the fly. I’ve used large jungle cock here, but grizzly hackles or even pheasant rump feathers could be used to imitate a shell back.

Marabou Style Intruder

The Finished Fly. It may look a little heavily dressed here but when wet the marabou will really thin out giving a lovely translucent wriggly fly in the softest of water currents!

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