PUBLISHED: 2:05 PM on Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Tying the Matuka





New Zealand's North Island has its Hobbits.

The South Island has its trout, big trout.

You're a fly fisherman, so where do you go? Hobbiton? I think not.

In any case, it should come as no surprise that some of those fly patterns stashed in your box originated from the lands down under.

One such pattern that North American anglers have come to embrace is the Matuka. And, like so many of the streamers we've tied recently, it's really more of a style than a specific pattern. So it's the perfect fly for us to tackle in our continuing series on streamers.

Proper hackle is important. For instance, I wanted to tie an Olive Matuka, but I wasn't happy with the amount of feather fibers from my olive-colored cape. Plus, I like my Matukas to have round, webby tails. Fortunately, I found a grizzly saddle that was fiber rich with fat round tips AA- so we're doin' grizzly. If your feathers are a bit sparse, use four feathers instead of two for a fuller wing.

1. Clamp a standard streamer hook into your vise. I like limerick bends myself. Add wire if you want a fast sinker. I jumped ahead and tied in a length of fine gold tinsel onto the shank and left a few inches hanging at the tail. I then used a gray synthetic for a dubbed body. Body color is up to you. Match the wing or go nuts. It's your call.

2. Just like you would for a traditional feather streamer, match two feathers, or two sets of feathers for your wing. I'm using a natural grizzly saddle, but use any color you like. When stems and tips are neatly aligned, gently form a tail by holding the tail section with your fingers and use your other hand to stroke the remaining hackle fibers back toward the eye. Next, strip the fibers from the underside of each feather, but not the tail. Now tie all the feathers in just behind the hook eye. Leave your thread bobbin at the head.

3. This is tricky the first time you try it, so be patient. Use the tinsel you left hanging to bind down the tail at the hook bend. Use a bodkin to carefully divide the hackle fibers above the shank and wrap the tinsel between each division, maintaining even tinsel wraps as you go. I find it helps if you moisten your fingers and stroke the hackle so that it's perpendicular to the shank.

4. After you've lashed down the wing, secure and trim the tinsel behind the eye, leaving some room for a hackle collar. Speaking of which, pluck out another grizzly hackle from that same cape and tie it in behind the eye for the collar. You can bend the hackle, go tail first, or wind as you might a dry fly and tie it in by the stem AA- whatever puts a smile on your face.

5. ake three or four turns with the hackle, then secure it and trim away the excess. While building a nicely tapered head, you might need to take a few winds back on the hackle, forcing the fibers to sweep back toward the tail. When you're happy with the collar and the head, give it a whip finish and add a dab of head cement.

Use a few coats of high-gloss cement for that show-room shine.

Happy tying! Comments: