Big Eelies and Banana Squid, or: striper soft hackles galore

I went on a wee tying binge, and when the feather dust settled I was left with an 8-pack of Big Eelies. Some are old favorites, and a few sport new color combinations. That’s one thing I love about this pattern: it lends itself supremely well to all manner of color experimentation, and the stripers almost always seem pleased with your work.

Big Eelies hot off the press. Clockwise from lower left: pink/chartreuse/olive, grey/olive, Crazy Menhaden colors, Olive Fireworm colors, black/chartreuse, pink/olive/brown, then the two of the original classic. I can already feel that forceful tug at the end of a twitching strip.

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The Banana Squid, another classic from Ken Abrames. It’s different from most other squid patterns, and it looks nothing like what books would lead you to believe  a squid should be. Add the magic ingredient of water, and it transforms into a living, breathing organism than looks good to eat. Fished slowly and deliberately, it relies on organic movement and impressionism to fool the fish.

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Hook: Eagle Claw 253 3/0
Thread: Black 6/0
Platform: 30 hairs grey bucktail
Tail: Three white saddle hackles tied in flat, then four ginger saddles (I used golden tan) to veil the white saddles, then sparse purple Krystal flash on both sides, then a short badger hackle on both sides, then a webby grey saddle tied in flat, then a full plume of amber marabou
Body: Purple braid tied to 3/8″ from the hook eye
Collar: A sparse layer or yellow bucktail one hair thick to extend to the end of the amber marabou, then a sparse layer of blue bucktail one hair thick, then a sparse later of red bucktail one hair thick
Hackle: Brownish marabou tied in near the butt of the stem, then wound and doubled 3-4 turns

3 comments on “Big Eelies and Banana Squid, or: striper soft hackles galore

  1. Edward says:

    Hi Steve, I’m tying up your banana squid and wondering what you mean when you say “veil” the flat saddles, do you mean tie them in around the flat saddle like a collar (on a clock like 10am 2pm, 4pm, 8pm?). Secondly, when you say “wound and doubled” for the marabou I’m not sure how that differs from palmering a marabou plume? Thanks! (SOL username: patze003)

    • Steve Culton says:

      Edward, sorry for the delayed response — I was off fishing. 🙂 The Banana Squid is a Ken Abrames pattern, and the instructions are taken almost verbatim from Striper Moon. So yes, you’ve got the veil interpreted correctly. “Doubling” or “folding” marabou is a way to keep the barbules from getting caught on top of each other during the winding process, as well as doubling the number of fibers that occupy a given space. As you wind the feather, you stroke or preen (“folding”) the barbules toward the back of the hook. Sometimes wetting your fingertips helps. You can see the process here: https://currentseams.com/2015/09/22/the-hi-liter-soft-hackled-streamer/

      Hope that helps, and thanks for reading currentseams.

      • Edward says:

        Hi Steve, that’s definitely helpful. I gave it a try and think it turned out ok, I do have striper moon and both your Banana Squid and Ken’s look slightly different than mine, I’ll pm you a picture on SOL, thanks again for responding!

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