Fly Tying

Tarpon Flies 101: Simply Using Feathers


Tying Tarpon flies can be a great way to start fly-tying. Not only are Tarpon flies tied on a slightly larger hook, they can be tied by simply using feathers. In other words, the only materials you need for tying these flies are hooks, thread, and feathers…well that and maybe some head cement.

Almost any color of feathers will do – brighter colors seem to work best in the daytime. The color pattern above works well at night, believe it or not. Rooster Saddle will work well for a tail and some Marabou for the body. I like to use UTC 210 Thread in black, simply because black works well with most colors and helps soften the eye of the hook. In the pattern above, I used Fluorescent Pink to contrast the black Marabou.

Step 1

Start with 1/0 or 2/0 stainless steel hook. Some hook manufacturers offer specific hooks made for Tarpon. I simply use Mustad 34007SS Hooks. Start your thread and wrap the hook shank one full time and then come back about half way. This will give tail and body material something porous to grip onto when securing to the hook shank.

Step 2 – Optional

If you are looking for a little flash in your fly, tie in some Crystal Flash or Flashabou (4 to 6 stands) before securing tail feathers.

Step 3

Take a few pieces of Rooster Saddle, say maybe about 6 or so, and splay them out (3 to the right and 3 to the left). Secure these feathers to the hook shank as you would a any tail. Feathers should extend out about 2 inches or so. After secured, cut of any excess material and finish wrapping.

Step 4

Use a complementing color of Marabou to cover the attached Rooster Saddle (tail feathers), wrapping the full circumference of the hook shank. Secure with several wraps of thread, working up a head. Coat with head cement to secure thread-wraps.


Tarpon Flies 101: Step 1
Step 1
Tarpon Flies 101: Step 2
Step 2 – Optional
Tarpon Flies 101: Step 3
Step 3
Tarpon Flies 101: Step 4
Step 4

Fly-Tying Materials

A list of materials to make these flies are included below. Always keep in mind your local fly-fishing store will most likely have the materials referenced, and typically for less. Materials can also be found at Amazon or any other major on-line resource.

  • Mustad Hook 34007SS (#1/0 or 2/0)
  • UTC Thread 210
  • Rooster Saddle, Long
  • Marabou
  • Sally Hansen Hard As Nails, Hardener, Clear (#2103)

Design Inspiration & Detail

It was a Tarpon fly video by Matt Thomas that inspired me to write a post on tying simple Tarpon flies. His less-is-more approach to tying these effective flies is definitely worth sharing.

Target Species

This particular fly was designed to attract Tarpon – many other species are also attracted (i.e. shark, barracuda, and other larger predatory fish).

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