Nicholl’s Four Course Streamer

I came up with the idea for this streamer because I wanted something that be jigged with tail action or when ripped quick, it would have a natural swimming motion.  In other terms, I’m lazy and didn’t want to tie and re-tie a different streamer every time I wanted a different action.  On the fall in calm water, it has that curved baitfish-dying-drop until a small jig will kick it back up towards the surface.  I’ve caught many bass on the fall this way.  It can also be jigged for bass and pike or even trout.  When it’s thrown in a river, it has a great side-ways swimming action.  The key is in the material and the eyes.  Even though I use smaller tungsten dumbbell eyes, the bulk in the head counteracts most of the weight making it nearly neutrally-buoyant.

First we tie the tail of the fly.

Beginning with the rear hook, I start my thread behind the eye and take it all the way to the hook point.  Going any farther than this will make your tail look odd.  Fight the urge.


Using a single piece of marabou, I wet down the end so I can make a more accurate measurement compared to the shank of the hook.

I begin with a few loose wraps around the marabou before tightening down.  I’ll then make loose spirals with my thread up the hook shank to just behind the eye and then take a criss-cross anchor wrap and snip the excess off.  Tying streamers is a whole new ballgame and building bulk in certain places is the name of the game.  I’ll take my thread rearward to tie in the Polar Chenille.

Starting at the tie-in point of the marabou, I’ll tie in the Polar Chenile and palmer the material to the hook eye.  Before every complete wrap, I pinch the fibers with one hand and wrap with the other one.  This ensures only the smallest amount of fibers are trapped when wrapping forward.  Capture the chenille and snip the excess.

I’ll double-over two strands of grizzly flutter legs on either side of the hook shank.  The length should be just short of the tip of the marabou tail.  Then, I’ll tie in my saddle hackle just behind the chenille and will get as many wraps out of it as I can before capturing, snipping the excess, and whip finishing to make a nice, neat head of the fly.  Some head cement is definitely a must since these streamers can take a beating.


Moving on to the body of the fly, we set the tail aside for the next few steps.

As a general rule, I’ll take the dumbbell eye and measure it from the rear of the hook eye.  This is approximately where you want the eye to be tied on to the hook shank.  Taking that measurement, I’ll start my thread there and provide a thread base. Then, invert the hook and tie the eye on the bottom the shank.  Using maximum-thread tension, make cross wraps to bind the eye to the hook.

I’ll cut about a 4″-5″ section of Beadalon and tie that directly to the top of the hook shank beginning right behind the eyes.  I use 49 Strand because it’s the most flexible and it’s the easiest for medium-sized streamers.  I’ll end with it just behind the barb of the hook.  You’ll notice I’ll go into the hook bend and that’s because when the loop is created for the tail, both hook shanks will be in line with each other.  If we stopped shy of the bend, the loop would have an upward-angle and the tail wouldn’t swing nearly as free.

Take your bead and thread it onto the Beadalon, then come up through the bottom of the hook eye of the tail and secure that length of Beadalon to the top of the body hook with two wraps your thread.  This will secure the tail on so you can make adjustments.


I can still play with the length of the Beadlon to get the appropriate length of wire.  I want the bead to barely make contact with the bend of the hook while the tail swings free.  As you can see in the photo, the two shanks are aligned and the bead has some play.


Once you’re satisfied with the outcome, I’ll tie the Beadalon directly on top of other length on top of the hook shank.  I’ll go up and down the shank twice with tight wraps before giving it a light coat of head cement or super glue.  You could also use thin UV resin.

To cover up the connection, I use a single marabou quill.  The tips of the marabou should barely extend past the saddle hackle of the tail and be sure the marabou encircles the entire hook shank so the connection point is covered from all sides.  Bind the marabou down and then, just as we did with the tail, make loose wraps with the thread to build bulk in the body.  We’ll end just behind the eyes of the fly.  Snip off the excess marabou, take the thread rearward, and then tie in a shorter length of Polar Chenille.  Sound familiar?

Make spiral wraps with the chenille until just behind the eyes, capture, and snip the excess.  I’ll then double another set of grizzly flutter legs around the thread and tie them to either side of the hook.  To keep them out of the way, it’s handy to place them on top of the newly-palmered chenille as it’ll hold them well.


It’s important to build bulk in the head of the fly otherwise the tail won’t kick as it should.  In order to do so, I’ll take two clumps of arctic fox hair and tie them in on the top and bottom of the hook.  The lengths of hair should blend in with the marabou on the back of the body-hook.  Now we’re ready to finish off the head.


I build a thick head by using Senyo’s Laser Dub.  This stuff is light but provides a great silhouette and adds some flash to the head.  I’ll double the dubbing over the thread and start building the head forward.  Once the thread is ahead of the eyes, on top of the fly, I’ll change colors to a different shade.  This will blend in with the rest of the head and is really a matter of personal preference.  It’s so subtle, the photos really don’t do it justice.  However if you look at any baitfish, the top of the fish is darker than the belly and this is the effect I’m trying to imitate.

Once you’re just behind the eye of the hook, make some tight wraps building a head.  You can then whip fishing, snip off the thread, and coat it with a UV resin or head cement.  On such a time-consuming fly, you want to make sure it lasts more than one cast into the trees….or one fish caught.


Nicholl’s Four Course Streamer

Thread: UTC 140, White

Tail Segment

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S – Size 4

Tail: Marabou

Body: Polar Chenille

Head: Saddle Hackle

Legs: Grizzly Flutter Legs

Body Segment

Hook: Daiichi 2220 – Size 4

Tail: Marabou

Body: Polar Chenille

Head: Arctic Fox Hair and Senyo Laser Dub

Legs: Grizzly Flutter Legs

Eyes: Painted Tungsten Dumbell Eyes

Miscellaneous: Head Cement

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