The illustrious Kelly Galloup came up with this cool streamer called the Zoo Cougar. Kelly has some very interesting ideas about streamer designs and fishing and has written a book on the subject called Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout. This is a great book and brings up some thought provoking ideas about how and why fish chase these things down. The Zoo Cougar is really a pretty simple pattern and a good one to help start you on the road to spinning hair. Grab some big hooks, some deer hair, mallard flank, marabou, calftail and sparkle braid and get started!
Start the thread about one fifth of a shank length back from the eye and wrap a thread base to the bend of the hook. Come forward one more time and back again to dress the shank. Select a marabout feather and bunch the tip up into a bundle that is just a bit short of a shank length long.
Tie the marabou feather in at the bend with a tight, narrow band of thread. The tail should extend about 3/4 of a shank beyond the bend.
Lift the butt end of the marabou up and advance the thread forward to the seventy five percent point.
Tie the marabou down again at the 75% point and clip the excess. Wrap the thread back to the bend and then back to the tie off point to anchor the marabou along the shank.
Tie inn a length of pearl sparkle braid at the front end of the marabou and wrap tightly back over it to the base of the tail.
Wrap the sparkle braid forward in butting turns to the front of the marabou and tie it off. Clip the excess.
Cut and clean a long clump of calf tail hair and measure it against the shank. It should be a shank length long.
Tie the calf in at the front of the sparkle braid body with a firm band of tight thread wraps.
Clip the butt ends of the calf leaving a square shoulder at the front.
Select two dyed mallard flank feather that are at least as long as the shank. Pull the fluff off the butt ends and stack them outside to inside to they are perfectly matched up.
Lay the mallard flank feathers flat over the top of the calf wing and tie them in place with a narrow band of thread.
Clip the butt ends of the mallard feathers, whip finish the thread and add a shot of head cement to the tie down.
Start the 100 denier GSP thread in front of the wing butts and make a thread base up to the eye and back again. Cut, clean and stack a large clump of deer hair. Measure this clump against the hook so the tips extend about a third of the way up the wing.
Put three turns of thread over the hair, one on top of the other with just enough tension to start to crease the hair.
Hold on to the tips of the hair and pull the thread firmly toward you and to the rear of the hook. As you apply tension to the thread, allow the tips of the hair to slip from your fingertips and spin around the shank.
Hold on to the tips of the hair again and work the thread forward through the butt ends of the hair to the bare shank in front.
Preen the hair back and bring the thread to the very front edge of the hair.
Cut and clean another large bunch of hair. Go ahead and cut the tips off as we won’t be needing them here. Lay the center of the bunch up against the hook, overlapping the first bunch and with its center lined up with the hanging thread.
Make three stacked turns of thread over this bunch as well…with just enough tension to crease the hair.
Pull toward you and back to spin this bunch of hair as well.
Work the thread forward through this bunch too, ending with the hair and the thread right at the back of the hook eye. Whip finish the thread and clip.
Take the fly out of the vise and, using a double edged razor blade, trim the bottom of the hair head flat. Leave the tips of the first bunch of hair intact here as a collar.
Turn the fly over and bend the blade into an arc. Push the blade from the hook eye to the base of the collar (tips) cutting a rounded head shape into the hair.
Spend the next fifteen minutes cleaning up the shape of the head so it looks like this. I use a combination of the razor blade and scissors to finish up the job. I like to use the scissors to remove any of the butt ends from the collar tips, and the blade to round off the corners and edges. If you practice this a bunch you can cut the time down to about 14 and a half minutes. Take your time, there is no hurry.