The Hippy Chick was designed initially as a heavy “nymph”, a mobile baitfish profile to be fished dead drift in deep fast water for the dead or stunned shad coming through Bull Shoals or Norfork Dams.
The Shad Kills of late winter are a true feature “hatch” with shoals of dead and dying baitfish pushed through the power station turbines into the river. It’s chumming on a grand scale. The key to the best fishing is finding the right part of the water column in a wide range of flows and the Hippy Chick was another tool for the box.
It had to be heavy, but still mobile enough to mimic the “fluttering” movements of the dying shad, and with the “chesty” profile of our shad.
But, the basic premise, swathing a flashy underbody in the mobile marabou intruder style, lends itself to tying single hook and articulated streamers as well. To avoid the “wet pencil” look use thread pressure “reverse tying” the marabou fibres back to the weight: dumbbell eyes, coneheads or beads _ to flare the marabou and keep a baitfish profile, whether it is stripped or drifted
I use predominately pearl, or silver for the underbody and eyes on these, though the red conehead looks pretty trick too. You can get fancier still using a little grizzly hackle along the side or some silli legs in silver/black.
Lighten up on the eyes if you want a streamer to strip. I have been articulating this fly as well in some of our better streamer colors, layering color in the palmered marabou. Olive over orange, Olive over tan, black and red, and adapting the body color to suit. Once again there are no limits, only your imagination. Have fun with the Hippy Chick.
Huge thanks to Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks (check our his channel) for his camera work, production and all around sense of lunacy. Click through for a materials list and some tying notes.
HIPPY CHICK RECIPE (shad, heavy)
Hook: Gamakatsu B10S #6 through #1
Thread: Wapsi UTC 140 Red.
Eyes: Wapsi Nickel Plated Dumbbell Eyes (large)
Tail: Bunch from the butt end of an Extra Select Marabou feather. (See Note).
Body: Pearl Palmer Chenille medium
Wing: Tip of an Extra Select Marabou feather. (See Note).
Note: Pick out a nice long Wapsi Extra Select Marabou feather and stroke back the fibers so they stand out. Measure down from the tip until the stem just starts to thicken and cut the stem. Stroke the fibers forward on the butt section and you should be able to trim out a tail about the length of the body.
The top section gets tied in by the tip to the rear of the eyes, wrap the feather twice behind the eyes (stroke the fibers backwards on every turn). Wrap the marabou forward underneath the eyes, and keep wrapping and stroking back the fibers to the eye of the hook and tie off the feather.
Now use your left hand to evenly distribute the fibers, but train them top and bottom, and wrap the thread back until you get the appropriate flair.