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".
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.
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.
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
|Type||Cold saltwater fly|
|Year of origin||2007|
|Difficulty||A little difficult|
Sea trout (sea run)
|Hook||Size 2-10. TMC 9394 Streamer 4XL|
|Weight||Lead free wire or tungsten|
|Eyes||Epoxy eyes or bead chain on smaller patterns|
|Legs||Flexi-legs or Sili-legs cream or white|
|Body||Rear: 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|
|Antennas||Ultra Hair or kinky hair with a few strands of crystal flash to match color.|
|Tail||Clear scud back|
|Shell back||5 minute epoxy|
|Marking||All markings are done with a water proof marker|
- Bend the hook up 1/3 back from the eye. This helps set up the right shape for the eyes and antenna.
- 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.
- Dub on a ball of sand/ light grey colored rough dubbing to form the egg sack and gills.
- Leave a little space and dub on pink/darker sand or light brown dubbing to form the thorax area.
- Tie in the epoxy eyes, making shore that they have the right set. A little dubbing under them may help.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take the thread to the eye and tie off - viola!
- 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.