Salty dreams and glassy shrimp

Published Dec 14th 2007

The S.L.S. shrimp - a realistic shrimp pattern


Salty dreams and glassy shrimp

Having had the fortune of being born on the island of Barbados and family roots deeply imbedded in the local fishing culture I feel quite at home standing on a beach with a fly rod in hand. This is where most people find thing a bit daunting. The transition from river fishing where there are defined areas that fish are localized, like heads and tails of pool, rifles, visible flow lines etc to an expanse of seemingly monotone water is a bit frightening.

My grandfather, was once heard to say "fish have fins, so there ain't no need to move around to find them. Let'm come to ya".

See thru -
See thru
Shrimp rape -
Shrimp rape

Well, where this may be true of some species and their habits, I find it hard to remain in one spot while fishing for sea trout along the Baltic and Öresund coast. I prefer the adage " Better one cast on 10 different places than 10 cast on 1 pace". Choosing those places, reefs, boulders, bays or whatever, is difficult and important. Knowing where fish go and what they eat during the season is also a life long search that continues to haunt us as well.

The S.L.S. Shrimp

During mid to late summer small glass shrimp start to appear in numbers along the cost, congregating in sheltered bays and harbours to the delight of both fish and fisherman.

Drifting past some submerged boulders one dreamy day on my float tube, I observed several trout around 1.5- 2.5 kg chasing these shrimp out from their hiding places. Fascinating to se how they worked together, one would dive in between the rocks and sea grass, completely burying itself and the others just milled around waiting for a shrimp to dart out from it's hiding place where it would be quickly devoured.
I watched one fish follow for several meters after one shrimp, until it nearly reached the surface where it made it's final attack in a decided splashing swirl. Presumably to corner it against the surface. This is what alerted me to their being there in the first place.

Float tubes ready -
Float tubes ready
Being and avid reader of the Global FlyFisher and having reading the article Honey Shrimp By Kasper Mühlbach, witch is a fantastic fly, I was drawn to the conclusion that all the right triggers were there but not enough translucency like the real shrimp. So after much research, pictures of naturals, cursing over epoxy messes on my wives table cloth etc, I came up with this versions I call it the "S.L.S" short for "Sun Light Shrimp".

With it's characteristic see-through hump in it's back, egg sack, live heart and lots of movement from the gill, legs and antenna, fish just cant resist.

Shrimp move forward in their natural movement almost walking through water, hence the forward tying. Only when they are escaping do they propel themselves backward in short erratic bursts. This is also a good trigger to the fish. If the food is moving slow and forward then it has not been disturbed and may not getaway. Fish tend to cruse up to the fly and then smash it without hesitation.

S.L.S. - Sun Light Shrimp -
S.L.S. - Sun Light Shrimp
Mirror, mirror -
Mirror, mirror

Bending the hook -
Bending the hook
Materials -
Tools of the trade -
Tools of the trade

S.L.S. - Sun Light Shrimp
TypeCold saltwater fly
Chris Edghill
Year of origin
A little difficult
Target species
Sea trout (sea run)

HookSize 2-10. TMC 9394 Streamer 4XL
ThreadClear mono
WeightLead free wire or tungsten
EyesEpoxy eyes or bead chain on smaller patterns
LegsFlexi-legs or Sili-legs cream or white
BodyRear: Sandy or light grey colored polar fiber dubbing with a twist of pearl sent-fibres. Front: Pink or brown polar fiber dubbing with a twist of pearl sent-fibres
AntennasUltra Hair or kinky hair with a few strands of crystal flash to match color.
TailClear scud back
Shell back5 minute epoxy
MarkingAll markings are done with a water proof marker

Tying instructions
  1. Bend the hook up 1/3 back from the eye. This helps set up the right shape for the eyes and antenna.
  2. Cut to shape a 5-6 mm wide section of clear nymph skin or scud back 2 cm long and attach well round the bend to form the tail. Trim to spade shape.
  3. Dub on a ball of sand/ light grey colored rough dubbing to form the egg sack and gills.
  4. Leave a little space and dub on pink/darker sand or light brown dubbing to form the thorax area.
  5. Tie in the epoxy eyes, making shore that they have the right set. A little dubbing under them may help.
  6. Tie 12-15 strands of ultra hair and a few strands of crystal flash to match color on top of the ball of dubbing between the eyes making shore you have them prejudging at the right angle - slightly up over the eye of the hook.
  7. Take the thread back to the back of the thorax ball of dubbing and madem-x in 2 sets of legs on both sides, pulling tight into the dubbing ball after positioning will cause them to stick out in the right direction.
  8. Take the thread to the eye and tie off - viola!
  9. Now for the tricky part. Mix up some 5 minute epoxy. I do them 1 at a time. With the fly in the jaws of a forceps place a line of epoxy along the back, from the tie in point of the tail up into the antenna/eyes area, making shore it dose not flow to the underside. This is easier done if the fly is rotated over so the hook point is facing up. Continue applying epoxy in small amounts and allowing it to run until you have created the shrimps natural hump back shape.

I usually tie several at one sitting, that's the easy part. Then I will take a break and return later to set up the epoxying. Mixing only small amounts at a time is made a little easier if you use a painter's knife as shown in the picture. Remember, epoxy is extremely allergy causing, so don't get it on you - anywhere!
Use acotone to remove it before you take that long deserved toilet break.

Tight lines

The attack -
The attack

User comments
GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted March 7th 2012


This is an old article, and we have no step-by-step pictures of the tying sequence, and have no plans of doing any. There will be new patterns with illustrated instructions, but this old one will remain as it is.


From: Gentjan · gentjanmpne·at·  Link
Submitted March 5th 2012

Can you put some picture during the production of it.... it looks really great..:)

From: Dave · davidradcliffe·at·  Link
Submitted February 15th 2011

Would you sell any of your SLS shrimp? I am NOT a tier at all but would love to try them on Bone fish when I go to Honduras this summer.

From: ryan · vitzryan·at·  Link
Submitted September 26th 2009

would be a good spec trout and redfish fly too

From: GeorgeFisher · gp-fish·at·  Link
Submitted October 5th 2008

great fly i love the detail will start making some to try in oz

From: BLATT · blattman·at·  Link
Submitted June 5th 2008

Very nice and well done...But (there is always a but) this shrimp, since it'is used a bendback hook, will not swim upside down?

From: Atli Gilbert Sigurdsson · atligi·at·  Link
Submitted January 8th 2008

From what I know shrimp swim forward, but flee backwards (using their tail).

From: Cornelis · Corneel77·at·  Link
Submitted January 8th 2008

Nice fly ! but why not ty this fly reverse ? ( shrimp are "swimming" backwards...)

Cornelis van Leeuwen
The Netherlands

From: Anselmo · anselmo·at·  Link
Submitted December 18th 2007


You should try Tuffleye instead of epoxy.
Much easier to apply, has infinite working time, can be set in 20-30seconds WHEN REQUIRED, is perfectly clear, doesn't yellow, non-allergenic, and is tougher than epoxy
(no financial interest unfortunately!)
I use it for all my surf candies, poxy shrimps etc

It will turn your tricky part into a breeze


From: Craig White · cwhite1·at·  Link
Submitted December 15th 2007

Nicely done.

From: Jan-Ole Willers · olewillers·at·  Link
Submitted December 14th 2007

... and one more very frosty winter evening is done. Great idea which I will try out very soon - tying and fishing wise. Thanks.


From: Bo Svarre · bo.svarre·at·  Link
Submitted December 14th 2007

Hi Chris,

Very very nice shrimp fly - I'm gonna give it a try and tie up a few :o)



GFF staff comment
Comment to an image
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted June 16th 2013


You know that this is a live shrimp!?

But regarding the fly, I doubt that Chris' imitation is for sale anywhere. Bring this article to your local flyshop and have them tie some.


Comment to an image
From: cam - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted June 16th 2013

how am I able to buy these?

GFF staff comment
Comment to an image
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted December 26th 2007


I'm afraid we have no picture-by-picture instructions for this shrimp. Such series require a lot of work, and we didn't have the time to do them for this pattern. You wll have to do with the ones you see on the page and what you can read from the instructions.

Unless someone else has the time to tie and take pictures of course. We would be more than pleased to publish them...


Comment to an image
From: Kenny · ken.scrivner·at·  Link
Submitted December 26th 2007

need more help on this fly. can you send me some picture by picture of tying this fly. I would appreciate it cause your fly is the closest to the natural ones over here in Hawaii.

Comment to an image
From: Neil · NeilNice·at·  Link
Submitted December 20th 2007

I like this pattern, it shows a good bit of invention - now where's my white sili legs!

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