Marabou Gift From H%##
By Richard Zieger, Iowa
Archive of Panfish
One of my friends (former maybe) was traveling some
place in the eastern part of the country.
He has a habit of stopping at any store that looks
like it is a discount outlet or salvage type of store.
He states that you never know what kind of a bargain
you can get when you look for them.
Thanks to modern technology he called on his cell phone
and asked if I ever used yellow marabou to tie flies with?
I told him that I did and asked why? He said that he was
at this outlet store and they had a large bag of yellow
marabou for 50 cents. He said if I wanted it he would buy
it for me. Being one to never pass up a bargain I told him
to go for it.
He brought it to me and I decided to tie some Miss Marabou
flies with it the other day. Put the hook in the vice and
got the thread on when I tried to get the first marabou
feather off the long rope that was in the bag. I had clipped
the thread that I saw and thought that it should come off.
No such luck. I twisted, turned, pulled, jerked and did
everything that I could think of and it would not come off.
It was time to get serious, that dumb feather was going to
come off because I was bigger and meaner and I am darn
stubborn at times. I took it into my exam room and looked
at it with my slit lamp. This gives me 40X magnification
so it is easier to see things.
The first thing I saw was that there appeared to be about
six strands of something running through the feathers at
all levels and at weird angles. But turning the feathers
a little I could see it was some sort of clear line. Time
to pull out the 22 gauge needles to cut the line. Did this
because it is finer than any of the scissors that I have.
I hoped as I cut the line that it would unravel and I could
get large pieces of it off. No such luck. I finally got a
section of it separated from the rest and started cutting
the line every place I could see it. When I did this, the
feathers would come apart and I could get the excess line
Out of curiosity I looked at a chunk of the line I had taken
off and it looked like the line had been melted or something
because they were stuck together and hard to get apart
wherever they crossed. The material did not seem to stick
to the feathers but to other pieces of whatever the material
What I did was cut the line about every 4 inches or so and
then take each of those pieces and cut the line on each of
them. I now have a four-ounce bag of yellow marabou with
all of the feathers loose. I will not tell you how long it
took me to do this but I did not get very many flies tied
I also had to vacum the floor as my assistant said that she
did not clean up fly tying messes. Unfortunately she said
it at the same time that my wife was in the office for
another reason and agreed with her.
I did get to tie the flies another day and found that I
liked to have some of the feathers loose so I could take
them out easier. I am not sure that I want the whole bag
loose but several feathers was nice. I took this to the
point that I have done this to all of the bags of marabou
I am not sure this makes it any faster to tie but it decreases
my frustration level because I can reach in and get a feather
without having to fight the binding that holds it together. I
get my frustration out at one time because I do several
different colors at the same time.
I am not sure how the other strands got tied up in that marabou
but those feathers are worth a lot from the time I spent
getting them to use. I also know why it was in that store.
I hope all your tying experiences are easier than this one.
I am sure none of you have ever done anything like this. Ya,
Hope you can get out on the water.
~ Richard Zieger
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