A flexi-legged appetizer
Shrimp patterns are popular all over the world. Bonefish like them, bass like them and sea trout like them, just to give a few examples.
Some patterns are impressionistic and generic while others are realistic. But there are also some in between, which are generic and yet have this magic touch of the realistic ones. The Honey Shrimp is such a fly.
It was invented during 2001 by the Danish fly tier Henrik Agerskov. Because of the realistic look, it quickly became a favorite among many fly fishers.
I did not know of its existence until April 2003. I was fishing with some friends on our annual trip to Bornholm, and was taking a break in a local tackle shop. Here I saw a grey shrimp fly with orange legs on one of those foam boards where shops often keep their larger flies. It looked interesting and I bought one to study and reverse engineer.
Later I tied a few, but it never really made to the top in my fly box. Maybe because the legs did not stay in position and the fly often capsized.
Reborn at the GFF summit
Three years passed without noticing the honey until the GFF Summit 2006. During a break, Jesper Kamstrup and I discussed flies and casting techniques. He was very much into fly fishing and serious about his technical performance. When I looked into his fly box, I could hardly see any flies but Honey Shrimps in a dark version (Dark Honey, see below). They were large. Tied on a size 2 or 4 and 7 centimeters or almost 3 inches long.
“Well, the smaller trout go for them but do not get hooked, and the bigger ones seem to hit them with a rare resolution.” Jesper said, as I was just about to go through a minor questioning.
“The average size has come up with 15 cm or 7 inches since I started using it. This dark version is now the only fly attached to my tippet.”
Later that day, after a good meal, he tied Honey Shrimps for several of us. Martin started using it, and proved that it could take a fish or two.
Now, we have been asked by several anglers, if we would publish the pattern on GlobalFlyFisher.
Here it is
We wish you a good time at the vice, but first you have to prepare a few materials.
You need some epoxy eyes, rubber legs and dubbing.
The eyes takes time to make and they should also dry up, so let's start here.
Of course you can buy some, but isn't it more fun to make your own?
When you have made eyes enough, make 8 rubber legs for each fly.
Then make a dubbing blend of rough tan dubbing, SLF Saltwater, copper dubbing, and UV-dubbing. You can do that in the coffee mill, when no one sees it.
If you want a more "bushy" version you can let the rip start after the second pair of legs and not after the first as shown in this article.
Controlling the antennas whether they are made of Ultra Hair or polar bear, might be easier if you tie them down, where you tie doen the ribbing instead of tying them down at the hook eye.
Even though we think this pattern looks like a shrimp, there is still long way to the perfect imitation. But as long as the fish also takes the fly for a shrimp, why bother?
Jesper Kamstrups Dark Honey - a Honey Shrimp variant.
Jesper also ties a light version, where he uses very light colored dubbing as body and Unique fly hair, speckled grizzle as back - however, it is most often the dark one which takes the first place fishing trip after fishing trip.