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The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Archive for January 7, 2014

Fly tying course # 14 The ribbon shrimp

Sorry for taking so long for my next installment for the tying course but I am very busy right now photographing sea trout fishing as the season is underway.  This is a simple but extremely realistic salt water shrimp pattern I designed for salt water sea trout fishing in Northern Europe.

IMG_6917Ribbon Shrimp

Hook Mustad Shrimp C47SNP-DT http://www.mustad.no/productcatalog/na/product.php?id=189

Eyes: Easy shrimp eyes http://www.easyshrimpeyes.dk/

Feelers/Body: Organdie decretive ribbon  If you’re looking for pre-dyed “organdie” it’s available in the UK from http://www.ribbonoasis.co.uk  in a good range of colours and widths, just go to the site and search for “organza”, different name same product. 

Shell back Bug Bond http://www.bug-bond.moonfruit.com/

From late autumn until early spring the majority of bait fish around the coastline of Northern Europe leave the shallows and head out for deeper water where they will be protected from the bitter cold of winter. Many of the species of shrimp that can be found on the other hand move into deeper tidal pools and onto shelves were the coastline is steeper and falls abruptly away into deeper water.

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Therefor shrimps are on the coastal sea trout’s menu the whole year round, and can be found in great numbers.  These are particularly important to fly fishermen because they mature in the shallows where we do most of our fishing, and all sea trout fishermen should have at least a couple of good shrimp patterns in there fly box at all times.

Where, When & Why ?

You may think that a perfect small translucent shrimp pattern fished blind, may not be the easiest prey for a sea trout to notice in a large body of water! and if you fish something that “ stands out in a crowd ” a little colour and movement, it may increase the chances of it being noticed and picked-up.

The most rewarding colours for shrimp patterns, in my experience are red, pink, orange and olive.  Occasionally, it can be worthwhile, tying some very small shrimp flies in sizes 12-14-16 and in more neutral  mundane colours, such as grey and white. Shrimps of all shapes and varying sizes are without doubt the most important all year round food sources for salt water sea trout. Unlike other seasonal foods like rag worms, sand eels and small bait fish, that the sea trout feed on throughout their first years in salt water.

Natural selection takes a favorable view of effective and adaptable feeding, a proficient predatory fish when feeding will maximize energy intake and minimize energy consumption. Predators quickly learn to avoid areas where there is little or no food. These rules also apply to the fish familiarizing themselves with the best feeding locations and habits that coincide  to the different seasons.  So its paramount that the effective fly fisherman is aware of this and adapts his techniques, flies and strategy to that of the sea trouts feeding habits. This is especially important during the winter months when food is few and far between. Look for the signs, deeper bays with vegetation and structure, or the classic leopard bottom, with dark spotted patches of vegetation on a lighter backdrop of sand, where prey can have accessibility to sufficient food and cover from predators. The natural collection points of wind lanes of all shapes and sizes are also worth working. These collect plankton and other small forage that attract shrimps and bait fish. If there is ice on the surface, which is quite a common occurrence in the winter months, on Scandinavian coastal waters, pockets of open water generally indicate warmer water or flow. Both these elements will attract prey and predators alike.

Fast or Slow ?

Most species of shrimp have three very different ways of locomotion. When foraging for food or resting on the bottom they use their front walking legs for moving short distances on vegetation and other structure. When migrating or moving over larger distances they use their swimming legs. These are located under the abdomen and undulate when swimming, and can be used to propel the crustacean in all directions slowly. But when alarmed or fleeing from a predator they use a contraction of their strong abdomen muscle which results in a powerful rapid snap of the tail plates propelling the shrimp quickly backwards away from danger.

With this in mind one has a better understanding of the type of retrieve required to imitate a swimming or fleeing shrimp. Your retrieve will not only decide the speed of your fly but also its action in the water. If you know your prey and choose the correct retrieve, your overall chances of connecting will increase. If you choose the incorrect retrieve even the right pattern may not result in a take or even a follow.

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Organdie ribbon can be bought at most craft or sewing stores.

Whilst tying flies at one of the large European fairs, I saw a similar material as Organdie  being used for nymph gills, When I returned home it wasent difficult to find at my local sewing shop just for a couple of pounds, and as far as I can see its exactly the same material as the one marketed by a large fly tying supplier but for just a third of the price. I have also experimented with colouring the ribbon with waterproof markers but the colour washes out for some reason in salt water, but dying may be an option, that I have yet to try.

This is an extremely quick and easy pattern, that only takes a few minutes to tie if you use Bug Bond as the shell back, if you use epoxy it does take a little longer in curing time.

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1

Secure your shrimp hook in the vise with the shank horizontal.

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2

Cut a length of Organdie ribbon approximately 15 cm long, depending on the size of hook you are tying on. With a pair of long sharp scissors make a cut along the edging of the ribbon as shown.

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3

Now repeat this on the other edge of the ribbon. You will now be able to pull out the short  woven lengths of Organza.

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4

Pull out enough to make a bunch of strands long enough for the shrimps beard.

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5

Attach your tying thread to the hook shank and run back so that it hangs between the hook point and barb.

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6

Tie in approximately one third of the length of fibers that you prepared for the beard.

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7

Trim off and tie in the full length of the remaining fibers  on top of the shorter.

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8

Trim these off to form a tapered beard.

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9

Now use the two edge strips that you cut from the ribbon and tie these in for the feelers, one each side of the beard.

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10

Take the length of ribbon and with long straight scissors divide the ribbon diagonally from one corner to the other. Then you should have two strips of ribbon from the one cut for two flies.

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11

Pull out all the fibers that run the length of the ribbon.

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12

Tie in the ribbon hackle at the widest end just behind the beard. This will create a tapered body, large at the front and smaller at the tail.

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13

Position and secure both your shrimp eyes, these should be quite long. After tying down secure with a little super glue or varnish.

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14

Now you can wind on your ribbon hackle forward to the hook eye forming a christmas tree like effect on the shrimps body. Tie off and whip finish just behind the hook eye.

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15

Coat the back of the shrimp with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light. You may have to make two or three coats to build up the shell back.

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16

The very easy but life like result ready for the salt.

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Fly Tying Course # 13 The H & L Variant dry fly

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Heres an American Classic to tie and try over the holidays. The H & L or House and Lot as it is also known was said to be President Dwight Eisenhower’s favorite trout pattern, especially for fishing Eastern streams. Like most of the fat boy attractors this pattern should be over dressed, a little longer, larger and fatter than normal. This pattern should float high and dry, creating and irresistible footprint when drifted  over the feeding window of any trout.  Otherwise I dont know much about the history of this pattern, if  one of you do, please post a little info if you have time, it would be good to know more. Happy holidays to you all.

Hook: Mustad R30NP-BR # 10-18

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Calf tail hair

Abdomen: Stripped peacock herl natural

Thorax: Peacock herl

Wings: Calf tail hair

Hackle: Brown

 

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1

Secure your hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.

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2

Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the hook shank until the tying thread hangs plumb with the hook barb.

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3

Cut a small bunch of calf tail hair and clean with a tooth brush. Once you have removed all the shorter hairs stack the bunch in a hair stacker.

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4a

Many fly tyers have a problem with exchanging a bunch of stacked hair from one hand to the other! Heres how you do it:

Once you have removed the bunch of hair from the stacker hold it between your right finger and thumb.

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4b

Now place your left hand thumb against the hair and your right thumb.

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4c

Once you have trapped the hair between both your thumbs keep the pressure on.

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4d 

While keeping both your thumbs pressed together trapping the hair bunch, remove your right index finger.

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4e

Now bring your left index finger into the equation and grasp the butt end of the bunch against your left thumb.

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4f

Remove your right thumb and your hair bunch has been transfered from right to left hand without messing it up.

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5

Measure your tail length.

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6

Tie in the calf tail on top of the hook shank and about half way between the hook eye and the bend. Leave a few mm of hair flared.

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7

Trim off the flared hair at an angle.

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8

Tie down the calf hair and apply a drop of varnish to the whippings.

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9

Prepare another bunch, a little larger than the first one,  of calf tail hair and tie in as shown on top of the hook shank.

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10

Cut off the flared ends at an angle again. This will give a good foundation for a tapered body later.

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11

Before you tie them down apply a small drop of varnish to the trimmed calf tail.

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12

Now run tying thread over the whole body making a fine taper.

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13

Fold the wing back and build a small support of tying thread in front of the wing base.

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14

Split the calf tail into two equal wings and tie each one down at the wing base, making a V wing.

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15

Take a long peacock herl and strip only 1/3 of the herl from the quill. This will make the abdomen and thorax tying process all in one.

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16

Tie in the stripped end of the herl at the tail base. You can give the under body a thin coat of varnish before you start wrapping the quill.

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17

Attach a hackle plier to the herl end of the quill. Now wrap the quill in tight even turns over the rear body, when you come to the part of the quill with the herl on it, continue wrapping to form the abdomen.

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18

Once you have wrapped the herl abdomen tie off and remove the excess herl.

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19

Tie in a nice brown dry fly hackle. This ideally should be a long hackle, but if you only have short hackles you can tie in two. Make sure that your hackle is 90 degrees from the hook shank.

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20

Start winding your hackle with one or two turns through the herl thorax and then forward making the hackle as dense as possible. Tie off and remove the excess hackle.

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21

Whip finish and varnish the head.