Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Baited Breath

Text and Photos by Andrew Susani

Hook Talon TSSH # 6
Thread 6/0 or 3/0
Body Chenille
Eyes Dumbbell or machined eyes (Real Eyes pictured)
Tail Marabou and flash (if you like)

There are a million and one different colour combinations for this fly, which is one of the most popular estuary patterns in Australia. Bream and flathead are suckers for a slowly twitched Baited Breath, and all estuary fly fishers should have this fly in a few different colours sitting in their fly box.

Tying Procedure

1. Start the thread near the bend and tie in a bunch of marabou. Don't worry if the marabou seems too long, you can trim it to length later. If you want to tie in some flash material, tie it on top of this bunch.
2. Tie in a second bunch of marabou on top of the first bunch.

3. Take a hackle feather with fibres slightly longer than the hook gape and tie it in by the butt. If you want a fly with more movement, choose a feather with longer fibres.

4. Wind the feather around the butt of the marabou and tie it off.

5. Tie in the chenille hard up against the wound hackle.

6. Add a drop of superglue to the shank and tie down the dumbell or machined eyes. Make sure the figure eight wraps over the eyes are tight. Leave the thread hanging in front of the eyes.
7. Wind the chenille firmly around the hook shank, then take it over and under the eyes in a tight figure-eight. Tie the chenille down in front of the eyes with a few thread wraps - this makes the fly a bit tougher than if you just wound the chenille straight to the hook eye.  
8. Take the thread up towards the hook eye, then wrap the chenille in tight wind up to the thread. Tie off the chenille and trim. 
9. Build up a small head of thread, whip finish and varnish. 

Take the fly out of the vise, and hold the marabou between thumb and forefinger. With the other thumb and forefinger, break off the marabou at the desired length. This is much better than trimming it with scissors. The marabou tail should be about 3/4 as long as the hook shank.