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Schmidt's Articulated Marabou Spey


Articulated Marabou SpeyAn All-Around Steelhead, Salmon, and Brown Trout Pattern

One of my favorite flies for swinging for steelhead, brown trout, and salmon in the fall and steelies in the spring would have to be the Articulated Marabou Spey fly.  Ray developed this fly for steelhead and salmon, but it also makes a great trout streamer fished on a 200 to 300 grain sinking tip line.  The articulated design gives this fly great action in the water and a fantastic silhouette that fish love.  Michigan fish love baitfish-type patterns and this fly really mimics both color and size of the prey these predatory fish dine on in the Great Lakes.

On the Manistee River, the hot colors seem to be the olive, blue, and black on darker days, or in stained water.  The chartreuse and white colors seem to work better on brighter days, no matter what the water color is at the time.  The late runs of Coho liked the white color especially this past fall.

On the Betsie River during the King Salmon run, the baitfish colors of this pattern produced well during early September, and the brighter colors worked great in low-light conditions and on bright fish showing up below Homestead Dam.  Casting this fly into the darker pools and slots and twitching it on the swing produced some hair-raising strikes from some angry Kings.

I fished this fly on the Pere Marquette in December. The pattern did very well as a stripped streamer for browns, and turned a couple of winter steelies with the olive pattern.  On the lower sections of the PM this pattern works well for the early salmon and pike that like to chase down flies from the sand pools, cuts, and logs as they stage on their way in for the fall spawning run. 

The marabou on the pattern, both on the front hook and rear hook really add a great deal of motion to the fly and the off-colored schlappen collar makes the fly have more of a traditional marabou spey fly look.  Ray added beads in between the articulation and the color make it look like gills on a baitfish.  Flash is added in a sparse amount that gives it a realistic glimmer and more movement in the water.  This fly seems to cast effortlessly with a two-handed rod as well as swinging it with a single-handed rod.

It is a pattern that I have done exceptionally well with on the Upper Manistee, Ausable Mainstream, Hodenpyle section of the Manistee, Little Manistee, and Pine Rivers when stripping it for trout. Depending on the water temperatures, I like to strip and twitch this fly with about a 2-4 inch strip with slower retrieves when the water temps are cooler.  The marabou tuft on the rear hook gives this fly a ton of action in the water.  I will sometimes drop a cone head and glass bead on the leader just above the fly to give it more depth and a clicking sound as it comes through the water as the angler strips the fly. This is especially effective in stained water.  Smallmouth bass below the dams on the Manistee targeted the chartreuse color and I produced some nice-sized river smallies with this pattern in late July and August.  When I am fishing trout or bass, I usually remove the rear hook by clipping it off at the bend.  If the fish is large enough to go after this pattern, then it will hit the front hook. That way there is a much improved mortality/release rate on the fish. 

Overall, this is a very effective pattern which I carry in my fly box at all times.  Anything that can fool a King salmon, steelhead, Coho salmon, brown trout, or even smallmouth bass is a great pattern in my book. 

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Schmidt's Articulated Marabou Spey
Schmidt's Articulated Marabou Spey