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Mono loop?

Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
When I first started tying I was taught it was (being a good Catholic) a mortal sin not to tie a mono loop at the top of the hook shank when tying a tail of zonker strips or marabou (like a Tarpon Toad) to keep it the tail from fouling.

Do you guys do that?

When I look at a lot of comercially tied flies I notice they don't do that (again..thinking of a Tarpon Toad as a specific example).


  • SUPER DSUPER D Posts: 737 Officer
    I do not, I use lots of Marabou and have few foul. After tying the Marabou on top, I wrap the thread around base of the Marabou. It kinda props it up a little. I have not used Zonker strips. Hope this helps, good luck.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    When someone came up with the mono loop, years ago... I tried it and found it wanting. Here's how I keep soft tail materials from fouling around the hook when they get wet:

    Any soft materials, rabbit strips, maribou, and quite a few synthetics turn very soft and flexible when wet. All you have to do to keep them from fouling is to have a base of materials that don't get particularly soft for that rabbit or maribou to stay in place. Just in front of the hook bend I tie in a very sparse amount of bucktail and roll it around the hook shank (I only use a bit less in length than what the tail will be (and if you make it the same color as the rabbit or maribou you'd have to look really close to be able to see it...). Then any flash I'm adding goes in on top of the bucktail, then the rabbit or maribou goes on top of that. Remember to keep the number of thread turns to a minimum on both bucktail, then flash, so that the softer materials on top don't build up the thread very much at all. The only other trick I use is to place a very sparse amount of Krazy Glue on the thread just before I add the softer materials to lock everything into place as permanently as possible... Once your tail is complete -then go on to add in the remainder of your pattern until complete. You'll never miss that mono loop once you try this method (and I've literally tied hundreds of dozens using this method - it works quite welll...).

    Here are some pics of patterns tied using this technique - you'll hardly be able to see the bucktail at all....
    Here are some finished Swamp Rabbits
    These Swamp Rabbits still need to be finished - and you can see the bucktail under the rabbit strip
    This Woolhead Mullet has a tiny bit of white bucktail up under the maribou tail
    This Razor Cut Mullet also has white bucktail up under that rabbit strip tail...

    I even use that sparse "undertail" on small flies - like this #4 Crystal Schminnow.. only with small flies I use a sparse amount of calftail instead - You can't see it in this pic - but it's there....

    Note: Whenever I hear someone say they're using zonker strips for their rabbit tails - I shake my head since a zonker is a freshwater pattern and those nice pre-cut strips are too narrow to make decent decent tarpon fly tails... I much prefer to cut my own strips directly from a full skin since that way I can cut them a bit wider (but still more narrow than the so called "magnum strips" that some catalogs offer...).

    Hope this helps. Like most fly tying techniques it's much better to be able to show it while tying than try to describe it like this. I actually used to teach this sort of stuff years and years ago....
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • backbonebackbone Posts: 59 Greenhorn
    Bob, that tan one with the pink accent looks great!
    Is the pink part marabou?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    That's another trick... it's actually wide, webby strung saddle hackles - tied in at the butt end with as much of the "fluff" left attached to the feather shaft as possible to give a maribou effect. I learned this technique in the early eighties from Bob Kay - one of the local tying experts back then.... and I use it on a number of different patterns to make saddle hackle collars a lot more dense - and just plain "interesting". This photo of a Sand Devil (one of my original patterns - I'm still drawing royalties on it...) displays the same technique (and since the saddles being used have a different color at different lengths you get a very interesting effect...).
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Sage ManSage Man Posts: 195 Officer
    Those are incredible....

    I'm not sure if I should start a new thread or not but can I please ask another question?

    I've been trying to catch a tarpon on a fly for years and am getting nowhere. I live on the Gulf Coast of Alabama so the fish we get are primarily migratory...the big guys and girls making that loop from the Keys to Mexico. I know from reading that these "beach" tarpon have gotten harder than ever to catch because they make the same loop year after year and see a ton of flies along the gauntlet.


    I know it's more about size, color and presentation but I love tying and I have to put the feathers and fur (in whatever size) into a pattern.

    WHAT FLY (FLIES) SHOULD I FOCUS ON? various sizes and colors?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    Sage man... give me a call and we'll talk about your situation (flies for tarpon are very, very situation oriented. What I use in the 'Glades might get ignored by fish where you are - or not.... At any rate I'll have some questions before I make any recommendation...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • backbonebackbone Posts: 59 Greenhorn
    What camera settings are you using on your dslr for that sand devil shot?
    55mm lens?
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    On all of my close up work I’m just using an inexpensive point and shoot auto-focus camera.... I pre-set onto close up mode (macro) and that’s it.

    I do have a few tricks... the first and most important item is to mount your camera on a sturdy tripod (I never try to hand hold the camera doing close-ups...). The second trick is to use the timer for shutter releases. I’m doing everything I can to eliminate even the slightest camera shake.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • backbonebackbone Posts: 59 Greenhorn
    Thank you for the tips!
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
    What little I know about photography (particularly outdoors stuff) was learned from a small book that Lefty Kreh did for L.L. Bean...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • ole_florida_mikeole_florida_mike Posts: 28 Greenhorn
    Salt-centric fly shop with the knowledge & gear to outfit anglers worldwide
  • MistermtdMistermtd Posts: 76 Greenhorn
    Bob, Is that the same camera you took swimming a couple of years ago?   :D
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,909 Captain
     Nope... it didn’t survive the only time it got dunked... So much for “waterproof “.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • marcel909marcel909 Posts: 11 Greenhorn
    some great tips!
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