I cut my teeth fly-fishing on Maine’s Rapid River for landlocked salmon and brook trout, and it was on that steep, tumbling freestoner that I first fell in love with traditional streamer patterns. Of course, the Rapid begins at Middle Dam, just a lake’s length from Upper Dam, the spot where Carrie Stevens invented her famous featherwing streamers, such as the Gray Ghost and the Colonel Bates. The Black Ghost was first tied by Herbert Welch, of Mooselookmeguntic, Maine, in the late 1920s as a featherwing, but the popularity of marabou has led many tiers to replace the stiff and difficult-to-place feathers with marabou for more lifelike action in the water.
Although the traditional way to fish such streamers is to swing them through the current, these flies can be quite effective with several other presentations, as well. Dead-drifting a Black Ghost in the wash right below a dam imitates a stunned baitfish, which salmon or trout will often pounce on. You can also dead-drift or strip the fly through pocketwater to great effect. For lakes, try trolling the Black Ghost on a sinking line behind a canoe, as you paddle around. Finally, it’s a great fly to use for all manner of warmwater species, from bass to pike.
Black Ghost Marabou
Hook: Standard streamer hook, here a Daiichi 2220, sizes 2 through 10.
Thread: Black, to match hook size.
Tag and rib: Silver holographic tinsel.
Tail: Yellow saddle hackle.
Body: Black single-strand Uni-Floss.
Throat: Yellow saddle hackle.
Wing: White marabou.
Lateral line: 4 strands of Peacock herl.
Topping: White marabou.
Eyes: Jungle cock nails.
Head: Black thread.
Adhesive: Head cement.
To see more cool patterns like this one check out FlySpoke.com.