Fly Of The Week
Olive Varigator
Olive Varigator
By Mike Martinek, Jr.
Photos by Jim Birkholm

Previous Flies
Fly Tying Terms

Olive Varigator

Mike is a well-known, highly respected tier and teacher, as well as author of Streamer Flies for Trolling and Casting, Volume 1 and Volume II. We were delighted to have Mike tie this fly for us at the Salt Lake Fly-Fishing Retail World Trade Expo 2000.

This fly is a general fall trout or salmon streamer.


Hooks:  Daiichi black Limerick size 2.

Thread:  Giorgio Benecci size 14/0.

Tail:  Golden Pheasant crest.

Underbody:  Silver mylar tinsel.

Body:  Pearl mylar tinsel.

Underwing:  White bucktail.

Wing:  Varigated Ewing yellow/olive grizzly.

Throat and Topknot:  Red schlappen.

Shoulder:  Lemon Wood Duck flank.

Cheeks:  Jungle Cock nails.

Tying Steps:

1. Dress hook.

2. Tie in golden pheasant tail and wrap forward to even the thread. Cement after each step!

3. Tie in silver mylar tinsel, overlapping slightly, back and forward again.

4. Tie in Pearl mylar tinsel and over-wrap the silver tinsel back and forward, cut off.

5. Cut a sparse bunch of white bucktail, do not stack! Angle Cut the bucktail and tie under the hook as belly. The angle cut will allow the following layers to lie properly.

6. Tie in throat of red schlappen as shown.

7. Select four variegated Ewing yellow/olive grizzly feathers. Marry to form underwing. Cut off as shown to make lie properly. Tie loose and pull into place, trim.

8. Match two (or four, two for each side for depth) lemon Wood Duck feathers for shoulders on each side. Trim.

9. Tie in one Jungle Cock nail on each side. To strengthen and help position the nails, put a tiny drop of cement on the base of your vise, drag the backside of the nail through the cement lightly before tying in.

10. Finish with a topknot of the red schlappen over the top. This topknot is Mike's signature.

11. Whip finish.

Comments from Mike:

Mike Martinek Jr.
. . .The vast variety of patterns may daunt the beginner or intermediate tyer, however the best way to improve technique is to pick two or three patterns or a style of fly, and tie them over and over. This applies to all fly families, dry wet nymph etc. The tyer who is frustrated by his or her results when looking at photos in a book only need to remember the old adage "practice makes perfect" (or close to it.) The harder you try to force or expect excellence, the more elusive it becomes. Do not try to sit down and tie several different patterns each time you sit down to tie. Stick with one type for a few nights. Bouncing around from dry to wet to salt to streamer will give you a pile of mediocre flies, but not improve your skill level.

I have tried, over the years to be true to the overall look and character of the New England Streamer. After years of fly tying I have evolved many subtle techniques that are my own. Hopefully [this fly] shares the bloodlines and brings some new life and color to a great tradition.

Tight thread and straight wings, ~ Mike Martinek Jr.

Editors Note:
If you like this fly, be sure to check out another of Mike's flies, the Grahame Green.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying and Intermediate Fly Tying.

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ] © Notice