Published Jan 26th 2013

The fly that catches everything


Malbran - a fly for true predators

I tied the first version of this fly in 1994 to use it in the Parana River, searching for Dorados, Cachorras,Trairas, Piranhas and other predators of these waters.

I made it to imitate a mojarra - a typical bait fish of South America. It has a flat and high profile and all predators here love it, but it has also given me great results in the Baltic with pike and perch and in the Caribbean with snook and baby tarpon.

My friends call the fly Malbran. My name is Garcia MalbrÓn - with an accent over the last a.

Some of the important aspects of this fly (in my opinion) are the relative rigid body giving vibrations and turbulence combined with a mobile tail.

Depending the waters I adapt length and stiffness of the tail. For rapid waters I use a short and stiffer tail, for slow waters and lakes I use a longer and softer tail.
I change the form of the body too, according to the the baitfish present in the river.
If I need less flashy flies I tie the back with another material like Fish Fuzz, EP fibres, synthetic hair or bucktail.

Malbran fish

I tie this fly with Christmas decorations.
For the tail I use Flashabou or similar (more movement).
Christmas ornaments - A good material for large Malbran\\\'s
Christmas ornaments
Organza and flash - Good materials for the Malbran
Organza and flash
Organza fibers - The Organza fabric is a simple flat weave and can be easily unraveled
Organza fibers
Picking fibers - Pulling the flash fibers off a piece of Organza
Picking fibers

Preparing the fibers
The fibers are twisted (with my fingers) to reflect ligth in all directions.
Preparation 1 - First small bunch
Preparation 1
Preparation 2 - Add more fibers
Preparation 2
Preparation 3 - Make a noodle
Preparation 3
Preparation 4 - Done
Preparation 4

Flat fly - Thge fly is vertically compressed to imitate the mojarra, a baitfish, which it imitates
Flat fly
Building the body
The fibers are added a small bunch at the time, stacked on top and on the bottom of the hook shank and finally trimmed to get a sharply defined body shape.

Original Malbran - step-by-step
The first is the original Malbran all made with silver Christmas decorations for the body and more soft and mobile fibers for the tail (Flashabou or similar).
Building a body 1 - The first small bunch is tied in and folded back
Building a body 1
Building a body 2 - Pull back and tie down
Building a body 2
Building a body 3 - First bunch done
Building a body 3
Building a body 4 - A second bunch done
Building a body 4
Building a body 5 - One bunch underneath the hook done, and one more on the way on top
Building a body 5
Building a body 6 - Many bunches later you get this. A white bunch is added as a belly
Building a body 6
Building a body 7 - A final bunch on the top
Building a body 7
Building a body 8 - The stacking is done
Building a body 8
Building a body 9 - Adding red cheeks. The fly is ready for eyes and some epoxy or LCR
Building a body 9

Green Malbran - step-by-step
The second recipe is a Malbran made in two colors. I use green for the back. These fibers are more soft that the silver decorations because of that i put some stiff silver fibers mixed with them to make a stiffer body.
Green Malbran, step 1 - The first silver flash
Green Malbran, step 1
Green Malbran, step 2 - Silver on the bottom, starting the green on the top
Green Malbran, step 2
Green Malbran, step 3 - Building up the body
Green Malbran, step 3
Green Malbran, step 4 - Body almost done many bunches later, green top, silver bottom
Green Malbran, step 4
Green Malbran, step 5 - Add some white or neutral flash to finish off the body
Green Malbran, step 5
Green Malbran, step 6 - The flash is done and the fly is ready for adding the cheeks
Green Malbran, step 6
Green Malbran, step 7 - Adding the red cheeks
Green Malbran, step 7
Green Malbran, step 8 - The body is done and ready for a trim
Green Malbran, step 8
Green Malbran, step 9 - Trimming the stray fibers to give the fly a distinct tapered shape
Green Malbran, step 9

Green Malbran, step 10 - Trimming done. The fly now has its final shape
Green Malbran, step 10
Green Malbran, step 11 - Adding eyes. Use the stick on type or glue them in place
Green Malbran, step 11


Malbran fish

User comments
From: Pit · alepitrenz·at·  Link
Submitted October 22nd 2013

Hello Ramiro,

sorry to answer so late. but my job kept me busy. Well the big Streamers work well with all kind of XMas Lametta on hook and tube, the trout Version is too much time consuming, so I use the the fluff ones or the hard body of epoxy with a tinsel tail. The small ones on a hook and not on tube. If I am lucky I will have a Project in Mauritius - if so your streamers will be with me
thight lines

From: Claus Donath · claus·at·  Link
Submitted May 31st 2013

I have fished with Ramiro and his fly is a real killer. I was skeptic at first because we all think fish do not like so much shine and glitter, but he proved me wrong. I am looking forward to our next fishing together!

From: Ramiro Garcia Malbran · ramirogm37·at·  Link
Submitted March 26th 2013

Hello Pit

I never tie them in tubes, it's a great idea!!! Let me know the result !!
If you ever need more info about the fly or materials don't hesitate to write me.
Best regards

From: pit · alepitrenz·at·  Link
Submitted March 18th 2013

I made one on a large Hook and tested it in the waterbassin. It jigs wonderfully and it sparkles like a discobowle. A real great idea. I used XMas lametta for the body and tinsel for the tail. I started to make this fly on tubes now. Even for troutsizes.
tight lines

From: Ramiro Garcia Malbran · ramirogm37·at·  Link
Submitted January 27th 2013

Thanks Tom !!!here in France is snowing too !!good wheather for tying flies!!!
If you ever need some tips or some materials don't hesitate to contact me. I have plenty at home from the last Christmas.... I can send you some by the post.
Will be great to try the malbran with Holland pikes!!!
Best regards

From: ernesto guevara · amigodeernesto·at·  Link
Submitted January 26th 2013

Fishing with this fly is the same to tie a christmas tree in the leader......

From: Tom Biesot · tomfo·at·  Link
Submitted January 26th 2013

Great flies Ramiro, they look very good with all that glitter and shine.
When I see the pictures of all the different species , I think that those flies are pretty good !
For sure I am going to tie some, maybe this afternoon, because at the moment of writing this, it is snowing outside my door here in Holland and the world is totally white !

Best regards,


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