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Marabou Gift From H%##

Rick Zieger
By Richard Zieger, Iowa

One of my friends (former maybe) was traveling some place in the eastern part of the country.

He has a habit of stopping at any store that looks like it is a discount outlet or salvage type of store. He states that you never know what kind of a bargain you can get when you look for them.

Thanks to modern technology he called on his cell phone and asked if I ever used yellow marabou to tie flies with? I told him that I did and asked why? He said that he was at this outlet store and they had a large bag of yellow marabou for 50 cents. He said if I wanted it he would buy it for me. Being one to never pass up a bargain I told him to go for it.

He brought it to me and I decided to tie some Miss Marabou flies with it the other day. Put the hook in the vice and got the thread on when I tried to get the first marabou feather off the long rope that was in the bag. I had clipped the thread that I saw and thought that it should come off.

No such luck. I twisted, turned, pulled, jerked and did everything that I could think of and it would not come off.

It was time to get serious, that dumb feather was going to come off because I was bigger and meaner and I am darn stubborn at times. I took it into my exam room and looked at it with my slit lamp. This gives me 40X magnification so it is easier to see things.

The first thing I saw was that there appeared to be about six strands of something running through the feathers at all levels and at weird angles. But turning the feathers a little I could see it was some sort of clear line. Time to pull out the 22 gauge needles to cut the line. Did this because it is finer than any of the scissors that I have.

I hoped as I cut the line that it would unravel and I could get large pieces of it off. No such luck. I finally got a section of it separated from the rest and started cutting the line every place I could see it. When I did this, the feathers would come apart and I could get the excess line off.

Out of curiosity I looked at a chunk of the line I had taken off and it looked like the line had been melted or something because they were stuck together and hard to get apart wherever they crossed. The material did not seem to stick to the feathers but to other pieces of whatever the material was.

What I did was cut the line about every 4 inches or so and then take each of those pieces and cut the line on each of them. I now have a four-ounce bag of yellow marabou with all of the feathers loose. I will not tell you how long it took me to do this but I did not get very many flies tied that day.

I also had to vacum the floor as my assistant said that she did not clean up fly tying messes. Unfortunately she said it at the same time that my wife was in the office for another reason and agreed with her.

I did get to tie the flies another day and found that I liked to have some of the feathers loose so I could take them out easier. I am not sure that I want the whole bag loose but several feathers was nice. I took this to the point that I have done this to all of the bags of marabou I have.

I am not sure this makes it any faster to tie but it decreases my frustration level because I can reach in and get a feather without having to fight the binding that holds it together. I get my frustration out at one time because I do several different colors at the same time.

I am not sure how the other strands got tied up in that marabou but those feathers are worth a lot from the time I spent getting them to use. I also know why it was in that store.

I hope all your tying experiences are easier than this one. I am sure none of you have ever done anything like this. Ya, right.

Hope you can get out on the water. ~ Richard Zieger

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