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the e.t. marabou mantis.
despite the past few days of pounding rain, lightning, thunderstorms, and scattered hail (yes hail!), iím still sticking by my earlier assessment that summer is upon us. the temporary weather foistering on our little party gave me a chance to spend some days on the vise preparing my box for the many ultra clear, trade wind, sight fishing days ahead.
the e.t. marabou mantis is edís version of a fly that kevin used back in the day. it is a very simple fly to tie. by using the same techniques and just changing the materials used, about ninety five percent of the bonefish flies we use here can be tied. this fly has a nice meaty (mantissy) profile, movement, and a subtle mottled coloration that makes it deadly for sight fishing the bright sky, clear water, bones of summer. i like to go to a fly like the marabou mantis when the water is really clear and the fish are moderately aggressive. for the record, i havenít thrown up a tying blog in a while so bear with me. i'm pretty sure that by the end... youíll at least get the gist of it.
first, the materials.
hook: mustad 3407, 34007, tmc 811s, gamakatsu sl113h, you know, your standard saltwater fly hook in a size four. e.t. uses a size 6 tmc 800s and a longer tail, but i prefer a slightly longer shank and a little shorter tail to create the desired profile.
thread: brown unithread.
eyes: 5/32 gold brass.
tail: golden brown grizzly marabou.
body: mud brown crawdub. any kind of buggy dubbing will work. crawdub has a nice subtle sheen and dubs really easily.
wing: brown bucktail. the center of the tail where the color is mixed with the black and mottled hairs works great for this fly.
weed guard: mason 12lb hard nylon or mono of similar stiffness. the weed guard is optional (keep in mind that weed guards can often times be fish guards as well). it is still not a bad idea to tie your flies with them as you can always cut them off on the water but itís awfully hard to add one on.
cross wrap on some brass eyes a little less than an eighth of an inch from the eye of the hook.
select two or three grizzly marabou feathers (depending on the fullness of the individual feathers) and tie them in so that they extend about a hook shank length beyond the bend of the hook. tie them in from right behind the eye to serve as an underbody.
dub on some crawdub using either a dubbing loop or the twist method, it doesnít really matter on this fly. i like to dub with the thread just behind the eye.
wrap the dubbed thread back to the tail and then forward again to get good coverage and make a nice tapered and plump body behind the brass eyes. cross wrap the dubbing over the eyes.
turn the hook over and tie in a piece of mono in front of the brass eyes extending forward beyond the eye of the hook.
take a sparse clump of bucktail and pull out a few of the long hairs and put them back so that the tips even out a bit. repeat this until you get a nicely tapered wing. for those not in the know, this is called hand stacking and should be done to some degree whenever using bucktail. bucktails tend to have hair that vary greatly in length. evening the tips a bit creates a much nicer, fuller, and even wing.
tie in the bucktail with three medium tight wraps. donít put too much tension on these wraps or your wing may flare wildly. use just enough tension to keep them in place.
post up the mono weed guard by pulling it up perpendicular to the hook shank between the bucktail butts. wrap thread behind and infront of the mono to keep it upright. build up a nice head, whip finish and trim the mono so that the end is about as long as the hook point.
easy breezy and deadly on them hawaiian bonefish... the e.t. marabou mantis is a definite must have for the impending summer good times.