Published Oct 3. 2017 - 2 weeks ago
Updated or edited Oct 3. 2017

Sam-I-Am

I do not like bright shrimp flies. I do not like them Sam-I-Am. I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. Or maybe I would...?

The wet Sam-I-Am
Sam-I-Am and green eggs and ham
Sam-I-Am
Martin Joergensen - Dr. Seuss

I have a thing with shrimps.
Not real shrimps, the ones you eat. I love those!

No, I have a problem

with shrimp fly patterns, and especially the gaudy and bright ones. And honestly... Pattegrisen – the Pink Pig or the Suckling Pig – Danish Claus Eriksen's signature fly, the reason that pink Whiting Spey hackle is as valuable as gold, that holy grail of big and bright shrimp flies. It's hallowed by basically all anglers in the Baltic, praised as the best sea trout fly ever (well, almost), tied by many, fished by even more and copied in all kinds of versions.
I never fished it. Like never!
I just don't like it much... it works no doubt, but it simply doesn't appeal to me.

I never fished it. Like never!

Pink and orange
Orange works
Orange works
Martin Joergensen - Richard Maree

In that respect

I'm the unnamed character in Dr. Seuss' “Green Eggs and Ham”, the one who denies sampling what's offered and not recognizing the fact that a thing that looks strange, bordering on ugly (sorry Claus!), can actually be good.
In Dr. Seuss' book it's food with a strange color, green eggs and ham. In my case it's flies with a strange color. In spite of the fact that pink seems to be a killer color when fishing for sea run trout, I can't remember when I last fished with a pink fly.

Around me pink is all the rage,

and of course the Pattegris, the Mini Pig, the Pink Anguish, the Glitter Shrimp, Pinky Pain, the pink Christmas Tree are all flies that have taken more sea trout than I care to admit.
Pink works. I just don't like it much.
Orange on the other hand, I like, Sam-I-Am.
Even bright orange. I fish orange flies all the time.
Talk about being peculiar...

At the coast
Martin Joergensen

Well long story short:

I was tying flies during one of our biannual fishing trips, and dug through my materials and bumped into a bag of one sided, long haired, light orange Palmer Chenille from Spirit River that I had bought to use for pike flies. I dug some more and found a golden pheasant skin, some rubber legs and some Easy Shrimp Eyes.
I wanted a heavy hook – rather than having to use wire to weigh the fly – and found some Owner hooks that I actually bought to use as single hooks on spinning gear. I mostly use a type of lure where you thread the line through and tie on a hook. The Owner hooks are great for that purpose: strong, very sharp, straight eye, short shank, large gape.
Just as I like it.

Ready to roll
Sam-I-Am is quite translucent
Ready for some action
Martin Joergensen

The only downturn

is the price. Here in Denmark they are almost 1 US$ each! Yup!
And they come in packages of 6. Yup! Not 10, not 25. Six!
So I value them highly and rarely tie flies on them.
But now I dug out a couple of bags. 1/0 and 2/0 Aki Hook, Salt Water Special with the numbers 5170-111 and 5170-121.
I started tying and a pretty good looking shrimp pattern took shape. Nothing new, nothing highly original, nothing really inventive... just a pretty good looking fly.

Bright shrimp
Bright shrimp
Martin Joergensen

The first fly

looked OK, and had what it needed, but I was afraid that the rubber legs and the feather tail/thorn would have a tendency to twist around the hook, so on the second one I added a bit of that universal supporting material: bucktail.
The final result was an altogether nice fly, and already at the dinner table I had to hand out a couple to the people going out the next day. My friend Paul said “That's a fly I believe in!” which was exactly what I thought. Another friend, Richard later noted that it could be great for seabass as well. He knows about such things, so that should be legit. I can't imagine that bonefish and tarpon would turn their back either, and compared to most redfish shrimp flies I have seen, this one is ready to roll there too.
The 2/0 is a behemoth of a fly when it comes to Baltic sea trout, and even though I tried, I cannot say that I enjoyed casting it on my 5 weight rod. The 1/0 was doable, but still a heavy fly for the light coastal gear. Like casting a fly with a bead or a cone.
I tied a couple of the first flies on other hooks like the Ahrex Gammarus in a size 2 and an old Scierra Stinger also in a size 2. They both work nicely and cast very well, and unless you want to use the Sam-I-Am for tarpon, I'd advice you to use something a little less sturdy than the Owner irons. If you on the other hand want to take on the Megalops, then the Owners are what you want. They come from 1/0 to an almost scary 8/0, and while the large size must be respected by all big game anglers, it's a bit on the large side for this pattern unless you upgrade the materials to some longer flash and some larger eyes. I think the 2/0 is a fine size for the tropical while the sea trout version is probably more handy when tied on lighter and smaller hooks.

Materials for Sam-I-Am
Materials for Sam-I-Am
Martin Joergensen
Sam-I-Am
Pattern type: 
Cold saltwater fly
Originator: 
Martin Joergensen

A bright shrimp pattern for saltwater species - temperate as well as tropical.

Materials: 
Hook
Thick wire, short shank 4-2/0
Thread
Bright orange UTC 70
Tail (thorn/antennae)
Small bunch of orange bucktail and a large, red golden pheasant shoulder feather
Legs
Crustaceous rubber legs, clear with fire orange tip
Eyes
Easy Shrimp Eyes, black
Baody
Spirit River Palmer Hackle, orange
Difficulty: 
Easy
Instruction: 
See pictures in the article for instructions


Tied on different hooks
In the drying rack
Tying
Martin Joergensen

Tying steps

Step 1 - start thread


Step 2 - a bunch of bucktail


Step 3 measure for length


Step 4 - trim butts


Step 5 - tie in bucktail


Step 6 - bucktail done


Step 7 - select feather


Step 8 - remove fluff


Step 9 - position feather


Step 10 - pull feather


Step 11 - tie down and trim stem


Step 12 - cut legs in half


Step 13 - catch thread


Step 14 tie down rubber legs


Step 15 - fold over and wrap down


Step 18 - rubber legs done


Step 17 - eyes


Step 18 - wrap over eye stem


Step 19 - eyes set


Step 20 - tie in hackle


Step 21 - stroke back fibers


Step 22 - wrap hackle


Step 23 - finish wrapping


Step 24 - tie down hackle


Step 25 - cut hackle


Step 26 - form a nice head


Step 27 - head done


Step 28 - whip finish


Step 29 - tighten knot


Step 30 - cut thread


Step - 31 - varnish


Step 32 - varnish


Step 33 - varnish


Martin Joergensen
Sam-I-Am
Another kind of shrimps
Shrimps
Martin Joergensen

We were having shrimps for dinner

– real ones – and one in our company didn't like shrimps and didn't want to taste, so Paul - who is American and grew up with Dr. Seuss - kept on quoting "Green Eggs and Ham", teasingly saying “I don't like that, Sam-I-Am”. It kinda stuck, and is how the fly got its name. So once again Dr. Seuss' influence reaches far beyond the children reading his books.

Lots of space
Martin Joergensen
Danish coast
In the pontoon boat
A nice location
On a sunny day
Places to fish the Sam-I-Am
Birgitte Claussen - Martin Joergensen - Google Maps

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