The Awesome opossum
Yesterday I received in the post a few samples of Shrimp foils from the fly people in Germany. One sheet with coated foils and a second with uncoated. The coated foils really look the business but unfortunately after three attempts to tie them on and failing miserably in all three, I went over to the uncoated and and had no problems at all. Although the coated ones seemed flexible enough and relatively easy to position, every time I attached the thread and applied the slightest pressure they snapped! Its not as if I was being heavy handed or over tightening the thread. They just would not tolerate much pressure.
After succeeding on my first try with the uncoated I can only presume that the coating, which gives them a three dimensional appearance has somehow effected the the durability of the foil.
From what I can gather the foils are available in two sizes, the one used here is the smallest, and seemed to be tailored for my # 6 Mustad stinger hook. But if I am honest I would like to see even smaller foils for hooks down to size 8 and 10, for salt water sea trout fishing here in Europe.
All that being said the uncoated foils worked great and they give the shrimp an impressive finish. As I mentioned earlier this is only my first tie with the foils and I haven’t even scratched the surface of testing them, I dont even know if the will withstand the teeth of a fish or will take colour from waterproof felt pens… As soon as I know I will update this post and let you know.
In the meantime you can see they look great, so if you would like to give them a go the contact info for dealers is below.
As a foot note: I was just contacted by Lutz, at the fly people and informed that the coated shrimp foils I received are a prototype and that they have experienced the same problems with them breaking. As a result they are only going to produce the un coated foils for sale.
Hook: Mustad CS52 # 6 Stinger http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=182
Beard/Feelers: Natural Opossum and Whiting pink spey hackle mixed
Rib: Clear mono
Eyes: EP Crab eyes
Underbody: Opossum dubbing
Place your stinger hook in the vice.
Cut a short strip from a piece of opossum fur, keeping a small strip of hide on.
Holding the strip as shown place a Whiting spey hackle over the opossum .
Place the hair and the hackle in a magic tool clip and trim off the hide and hackle stem.
Spin the mixed hackle and hair in a dubbing loop and wind on the hook shaft to form the beard of the shrimp.
On the underside of the hook tie in two strips of lead wire and on the top of the hook shaft a length of clear mono for the rib.
Tie in two EP crab eyes slightly elevated over the beard.
Take some under fur from the opossum patch and dub the whole shrimp body as shown.
Make a dubbing loop in between the beard and the dubbed body. Run your tying thread forward to the hook eye.
Now make the same mix as the first dubbing loop but in the largest magic tool. So you have enough to cover the whole body.
Spin this in the dubbing loop. Make sure that you brush out the fibers with a tooth brush before you begin winding it on.
Once the dubbing brush is wound the full hook shank length tie it off just behind the hook eye.
Now place your shrimp foil on top of the hook shank and tie in at the tail. Make one whip finish.
Wind your mono rib carefully along the body of the shrimp making each turn on the marked ribs of the foil. Tie off at the tail.
Whip finish and remove your tying thread.
Give each shell back segment a coat with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light.
The finished Foil back shrimp.
Elk Hair Caddis
Hook Mustad R30 # 16-10 http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/product.php?id=175
Body Olive dubbing
Hackle Brown Cock
Wing Bleached elk
This classic caddis pattern is from the tying bench of well know American fly tyer Al Troth.
This is probably the most well known caddis pattern in existence, and rightly so. The EHC as it is also known is one of the best adult caddis patterns that you could use. I myself have fished this pattern for at least 30 years, and every season it never fail to provide me with great sport.
Most of the materials are readily available but in the past few years the bleached elk hair has become more difficult to obtain. Al Troth himself recommends that you use the thigh hair from a cow elk, bleached, this I have found impossible to obtain but any good quality bleached elk does a good job. If you find like me that the bleached elk cannot be obtained, regular elk will also do a good job, it’s just a little more difficult to see at a distance on the water.
You can fish this pattern dry so that it just floats high on the hackle points, you can fish it half drowned so that it gurgles like a popper when retrieved and you can even fish it wet just under the surface. A brilliant all round pattern.
Attach the tying thread and run it along the hook shank until it hangs level with the hook barb.
Prepare the hackle and tie in at the base of the hook shank.
Attach the dubbing to the tying thread and begin to build up the body of the fly.
Once you have dubbed the whole body make sure you leave enough space for the elk wing head (2 mm behind the hook eye) secure the dubbing with a few turns of tying thread.
Using a hackle plier wind on the hackle, palmered style along the whole of the dubbed body.
Tie off the hackle and trim off the access.
With the use of a small hair stacker even thew ends of a small bunch of elk hair. You can also remove the under wool at this stage.
Remove the hair from the stacker and lie it along the top of the hook as shown to measure the correct length of wing required.
Still holding the hair in place , change hands and make two loose turns of tying thread around the head of the fly, and pull tight. Make a couple more turns of tying thread to secure the wing.
You can now trim of the surplus elk hair butt ends to make that distinctive EHC head.
Tie off the tying thread and remove.
The finished Elk Hair Caddis.
A video tutorial of how to fish the Elk Hair Caddis. The full step by step for tying the EHC will be published shortly, Enjoy.