By Nick Simonson
Building on the classic Blonde streamer made popular by fly fishing forefather Joe Brooks, the Marablonde is a crappie-catching machine which substitutes marabou feathers in for the standard bucktail used to tie the original pattern. With its soft, pulsating tail and wing along with a flashy body, the Marablonde is an easy baitfish imitator that works wonders on crappies, white bass and other schooling fish targeting minnows. Like a marabou crappie jig, it should be tied up in a variety of colors to key in on what specks are slamming on a given day. So set aside an hour or so and put together a couple dozen in a variety of hues.
Hook: Streamer Size 6-10
Weight: Lead Wire Wraps
Thread: 6/0 to match
Tail: Marabou Tips & Krystal Flash
Body: Wrapped Krystal Flash
Wing: Marabou Tips
Start the fly by securing the hook in the vise and wrapping lead wire around the hookshank, using smaller diameter wire (.015) for a tinier hook and larger diameter (.025) for a bigger streamer pattern; center it on the shank and secure it with thread wraps and place your thread near the bend (1). Select a pinch of marabou to form the tail of the fly and tie it in by the butts so they sit against the first lead wrap, adjusting the length of the tail as desired (2). Tie in six strands of krystal flash, placing three on each side of the marabou to add a flickering accent and trim it to the length of the tail (3).
From there, tie in six strands of the same krystal flash, twist them into a single strand and advance the thread to the front end of the lead wraps (4). Dubbing, herl, mylar and other flashy materials can be used as at this point in the pattern as well, so feel free to vary the body ingredient with what’s available or most attractive to the fish. Wrap the krystal flash strand forward so it covers the lead wraps and tie it off on the hook eye side of them, trimming the excess and adding a coating of epoxy to secure it (5). Select another pinch of marabou long enough so that the tips reach the end of the tail and tie it in behind the hook eye so that it rests predominantly on top of the body, creating the wing (6). Build a thread head that angles toward the hook eye, whip finish and add a drop of cement for posterity (7). The Marablonde is ready to wreak havoc on some papermouths!
In spring, fish the Marablonde on a floating line as crappies are rushing or staging in the shallows to spawn, retrieve it with a few twitches or pops to catch their attention with the pulsing feather fibers and flashy body. In summer when crappies or white bass are schooling deeper in the water column, consider fishing it on a sinking line, such as a Type III and adjusting to a floating line as the school rises during the lower light of evening. No panfish streamer box should be without a couple dozen of of these go-to flies, and along with the Clouser Minnow and Woolly Bugger, they make up an unstoppable trio for spring and summer specks and any other fish that eats minnows.
Featured Photo: Color Up! Tie the Marablonde in a variety of color patterns to figure out what finicky crappies want. Here patterns range from (top to bottom) chartreuse, pheasant/brown, pink/crystal, black/silver and white/silver. Simonson Photo.