50 Pheasant Flies: Matukabou

By Nick Simonson

Remember the early days of American Idol?  No?  Still trying to forget I guess.  One Season Six competitor was tough to push out of most viewers’ minds, not for his voice, but more so for his hair – and his name was Sanjaya.  Sanjaya popularized what came to be known as the “faux-hawk” a mohawk haircut of sorts which consisted of tufts of hair arranged in a line down the center of his scalp.  When I look at today’s awesome streamer fly, I think of Sanjaya’s hair, and then usually set the hook on a big smallmouth or autumn trout.

The matukabou streamer is a beefy option and an awesome leech imitator formed by the arrangement of tufts of pheasant marabou down its back, Sanjaya-style.  It gets its name from its spin on the matuka, which we’ve already tied as part of our 50 Pheasant Flies series, and is a great pairing with that more subtle streamer. The easy-breathing material pulses and wiggles in the water, and when worked on a sinking line is deadly on rising trout this time of year.  Whip a few up and get ready for fast action for those big fish – bass, trout or others – that have the feedbag on in fall.



The matukabou streamer tied by Nick Simonson. Simonson Photo

Hook: 3XL Streamer, Size 4-8
Thread: 6/0 Brown
Tail & Wing: Black Pheasant Marabou
Body: Brown Chenille
Collar: Brown Saddle Hackle


Start the fly by securing a pinch of pheasant marabou for the tail at the bend of the hook.  It should be about half the hook shank in length (1).  Over this, tie in a strand of chenille, which we will use to make the body, advance your thread forward a bit, wrap the chenille twice and secure with a couple thread wraps (2).

Next, tie in a second pinch of marabou so that its tips and those of the tail section line up when laid flat (3).  Again advance your thread forward and make two wraps of chenille. Repeat this process until you near the hook eye. For every pinch of marabou, you should then wrap the chenille forward two times, securing each section of chenille with a couple of thread wraps. The tips of each new tuft of marabou should lie just a bit in front of the last pinch (4).

After securing your last pinch of marabou behind the hook eye, tie in a brown saddle hackle (5). Form the collar of the fly by wrapping it around the shank three times leaving a little space behind the eye for a head (6).

Secure the hackle in place with a few thread wraps and trim off the excess.  Form a small thread head, whip finish, trim the thread and add a drop of cement for posterity.  Your matukabou is ready to hit the water (7). Notice how the marabou fin and tail bear a striking resemblance to those on the matuka?

The matukabou is a great leech pattern and works best in still water, so you can wrap some .02-diameter lead wire around the hook shank in order to weight it down for fishing bass and trout in lake environments. Vary the colors to create matukabous to fit all occasions. Honor Sanjaya (or don’t) by setting a section of your fly box aside for these patterns in blacks, browns and olives, and get a little crazy with some bright colors too for crappies and bass.

Featured Photo: The matukabou is a big streamer tied with pheasant marabou, creating a pulsating “faux-hawk” of feathers that triggers strikes. Simonson Photo.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s