The Black Ghost Marabou streamer, great fly! Herb Welch created the original Black Ghost in the 1920’s. Herb is considered to be the inventor of the streamer fly by some people and while his designs may have originated in the Rangeley region, they became famous all over the world. The streamer that Herb developed was tied had a white saddle hackle wing. The marabou version is a favorite in Maine for some very good reasons. They are easier to tie once you learn how and the marabou catches fish so well it should be outlawed. This is a great streamer to cast after ice out and it continues to produce as a trolled smelt imitation all through the summer.
Recipe for the Black Ghost Marabou Streamer
Thread – black
Hook – Size 4 streamer, 6X or 8X long
Tail – Yellow hackle barbules
Body – Black Uni-Stretch or black floss
Rib – Silver Mylar
Throat – Yellow hackle barbules
Wing – White marabou
Eyes – optional
Start with a streamer hook. I prefer 8x but you can use a 6x if you like. Tie on a small clump of yellow hackle barbules. Out west the fly is tied with a huge bunch of hackle for the tail and a big black chenille body. That won’t work here so if you see a pattern like that on the Internet you should know that you are looking at a fly intended for west coast fish. In Maine, this fly should have a somewhat sparse tail. The tail should be as long as the hook gap. Tie on some silver Mylar. At this point you should tie in your body material. I love a product called Uni-Stretch. I think is ties better than floss for some flies but you can use floss if you prefer it-the original was tied with black floss. Choose your weapon, floss or Uni-Stretch and tie it in. Now form a black body up to a point just before the hook eye. If you tie too close to the hook eye, you will have no room for a properly sized head. The correct distance to stop short of the eye is the width of the eye itself, not quite an eighth of an inch. Clip off the excess floss and wrap the silver Mylar rib up to the eye and trim off. Now tie in a yellow throat, beard style. Again, don’t go bushy here. The length of the throat should be about same length as the tail hackle fibers.
Now it is time to tie on a white marabou wing. Anyone looking into my streamer box will notice that I have a lot of soft hackle and marabou wing streamers. I love to tie the old fashioned streamers with feather wings and I love to fish them but marabou is easier to tie with and many times will out fish a feather wing streamer. There is a time and a place for everything, and there is always a place for a marabou wing streamer. I tie some with thin sparse wings and some with thick heavy wings. They look ridiculous when dry but when marabou gets wet the fly takes on a life of its own. I’ve never been able to tell if the sparse wings out fish the heavy wings or vice versa, they both work. Your wing should be as long as the tail of this streamer. If you want eyes, the original pattern used Jungle Cock nails.
That’s it! The Black Ghost Marabou Streamer is my first choice at ice out and is a “go to” fly all summer. If you take the time to learn to tie marabou wing streamers, you’ll be glad you did. I can’t think of a better fly to tie while learning to use this fish getting material.