The marabou jig or jig bugger is often referred to as a hybrid of the famous woolly bugger. The only difference being the jig hook. The jig hook makes the fly swim with the hook point upwards. This is very beneficial when fishing deeper runs as the fly won’t hook or snag on the bottom.
Some anglers say that the jig hook works better for hookups, but this is subjective. Marabou jigs are very effective patterns to have in your fly box. The tail provides great triggers, and the jig head gives the pattern a great action.
Jig tying is no different from normal fly tying, so proceed as normal. Jig tying uses the jig hook. A jig head can be created with a bead or a dense thread wrap. The bead is the first choice to achieve the correct sink rate.
Tying a Marabou Jig
- Place hook in the vice.
- Start with a solid thread base.
- Tie in the tail.
- Tie crystal flash.
- Wrap marabou body.
- Tie in hackle and wrap backward.
- Lock hackle with thread and wrap forward. Making sure not to trap any fibers.
- Make dubbing spaghetti strand and dub collar.
- Whip finish and apply head cement.
Marabou Jig Materials
- Hook: Mouche 10-16 6432 jig.
- Thread: Semperfli 30D nano silk, black.
- Bead: 2mm gold tungsten slotted.
- Tail: Marabou, black.
- Flash: Crystal flash, 2mm
- Body: Marabou, black.
- Hackle: Sideling saddle hackle, black.
- Collar: Dubbing, black
How to tie a Marabou Jig Step-by-Step
Secure hook in your vice. For the larger flies, make sure you place the hook further back in the vice jaws to prevent slipping. We advocate the use of barbless hooks for ease of removal and low impact on the fish. To start, wrap the thread along the hook’s shank from behind the hook eye, along the entire hook shank. This provides a great base to work from.
Cut off a nice piece of marabou and measure the tail to be twice the hook shank length. Tie in the tail with a few tight wraps.
Tie in the crystal flash, a single strand folded in half, creating two strands. Wrap the thread forward, stopping behind the bead.
Wrap the butt end of the marabou forward, securing it behind the bead and trimming off the excess. Wrap a few more wraps to create a small collar and secure the bead in place.
Tie in your hackle. Choose a feather that has fibers the same size as the hook gape. Tie it in with the feather concave facing away. This is a classic step in wooly bugger or wooly jig buggers. Once the hackle is tied in, wrap your thread backward towards the start of the tail.
Wrap the hackle backward toward the start of the tail, where your thread is resting. Make sure you make even wraps and lock the feather in with the thread. Wrap forward with thread locking the feather and ending with the thread behind the bead.
Cut off the hackle and tie in your collar. The collar can change as you wish, but red is always a great combo with black. Create a dubbing spaghetti strand and dub the collar. Whip finished and apply head cement.
How to fish the Marabou Jig
This pattern can be fished in various ways. The larger flies are fished as singular flies, and the smaller ones can be used on dropper rigs. Downstream drift with a sporadic and varied retrieve upstream often yields results. An upstream cast with a dead drift can also work. This is usually done with smaller variations. They can be fished like nymphs. When using the jig on still waters, a varied retrieve at different depths will get you some fish. The takes are often on the drop of the fly, so it is important to stay focused.