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Step-By-Step: Marabou Madness

How I Tie Chico Fernandez’s Classic Snook Pattern

Author: Josh Idol | Featured Fly: Marabou Madness | March 2024

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prime Marabou Madness habitat.

Two-Aught-Fly-Fishing-Co-Marabou-Madness

Tamiami Trail perfection.

About the Marabou Madness

Chico Fernandez developed the Marabou Madness for sight fishing snook in scenarios where you want a lot of movement from the fly without stripping. The original version was basically an all-marabou Seaducer and it excels in shallow backcountry areas where you’ll find laid up snook.

I’ve fished this pattern for years and it’s one of my go-to winter snook flies but it’s also one of the best juvenile tarpon patterns I’ve come across. And because marabou provides so much movement with so little bulk you can cast a 3″ #1/0 Marabou Madness with a stiff #6 or #7.

Tying The Marabou Madness

I’ve made a few changes to the pattern over the years in an attempt to make it less prone to fouling and more durable without compromising the characteristics that make it such a great snook fly. I high-tie a single marabou feather for the tail to reduce fouling and I substitute EP Foxy brush for the traditional hackle collar to increase durability and provide a little more bulk to the head. Finish it off with a single post weed guard and you’re ready to go.

Materials List

  • Gamakatsu SC15 #1/0
  • Danville 210 Flat Waxed Thread FL Orange
  • Mason 20# Hard Monofilament
  • Fish Hunter Blood Quill Marabou Black
  • Senyo Laser Dub Black
  • EP Sparkle Black & Purple
  • EP Foxy Brush 1.5″ Purple
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as simple as it gets.

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Step 1: Start your thread and tie in a single blood quill marabou feather.

Step One

First, start your thread and tie in a single blood quill marabou feather about two inches long. I choose a fairly stiff stemmed feather for the tail.

Step Two

Next I high-tie the marabou tail to help reduce fouling.

Step 2: tie in bunny strip

Step 2: High-tie the marabou tail.

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Step 2: High-tie the marabou tail.

Step Two

Next I high-tie the marabou tail to help reduce fouling.

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Step 3: Tie in flash and laser dub body.

Step Three

Next, tie in some flash of your choice (I use EP Sparkle) on either side of the tail and form the body using sparse, 1″ long clumps of laser dub tied all the way around the shank. I like to tie the clumps in with about 1/3 of the length extending forward and then fold back and tie down to create some taper.

Step Four

Now that you have the dubbing body finished, tie in te tip of a soft stemmed blood quill marabou feather. I try to pick one with barbs that are just shorter than the length of the tail feather so that the fly tapers nicely.

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Step 4: Tie in the marabou collar.

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Step 4: Tie in the marabou collar.

Step Four

Now that you have the dubbing body finished, tie in te tip of a soft stemmed blood quill marabou feather. I try to pick one with barbs that are just shorter than the length of the tail feather so that the fly tapers nicely.

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Step 5: Palmer the marabou feather collar.

Step Five

Next, palmer the marabou feather up the shank towards the eye to form the collar. I usually take 4-5 turns; this is a fairly sparse pattern.

Step Six

Next tie in a length of 1.5″ Foxy Brush. I put a little super glue on the tie in point and up the shank where the brush will be wrapped to add durability.

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Step 6: Tie in the Foxy Brush head.

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Step 6: Tie in the Foxy Brush head.

Step Six

Next tie in a length of 1.5″ Foxy Brush. I put a little super glue on the tie in point and up the shank where the brush will be wrapped to add durability.

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Step 7: Wrap Foxy Brush forward, tie in weed guard, and finish with super glue.

Step Seven

Finally, wrap your Foxy Brush head forward 3-4 wraps and secure. Add your single post weed guard and finish the fly with a whip finish and more super glue or head cement on the thread head.

So there you have it, my version of Chico’s Marabou Madness ready for the backcountry. Feel free to adjust colors and sizes as you see fit, but I recommend staying with the SC15 #1/0 which is an ideal hook for snook and juvenile tarpon. Have fun!

Josh

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