Honey Shrimp

Published Dec 9th 2006

A flexi-legged appetizer


One of the first - This variant has mouth parts of grizzle marabou.
One of the first
Jesper is rotating the vice - and tying some Hones Shrimps for the \
Jesper is rotating the vice
It works! -
It works!
Average has gone up - the Dark Honey has brought 26 inches of pure silver to hand.
Average has gone up
Shrimps in panic - a big trout has just discovered the little shrimp family.
Shrimps in panic
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.

Short history

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.

Big flies!

"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.

Honey Shrimp

HookKamasan B175 or Kamasan 950, size 2-6.
ThreadTan, 8/0
WeightLead free wire or tungsten
EyesEpoxy eyes, medium or large
LegsFlexi-legs or Sili-legs
RibNylon, 0,18 mm
BodyDubbing, sandy colored with a twist of copper and UV-fibres.
AntennasLong white or transparent hair or synthetic like Ultra Hair.
BackFly Hair II, tan

Honey Shrimp - Tan version
Honey Shrimp
LEO Shrimp - originated by Kern Lund, Denmark, but is pretty close to Honey Shrimp. 
I do not know which shrimp was invented first.
LEO Shrimp
Tying Tips
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?

Model for a minute -
Model for a minute
Real Shrimp - Pretty hard to tie. Much easier to photograph.
Real Shrimp

Tying instructions
  1. Make some epoxy eyes.
  2. Make a knot on 8 rubber legs.
  3. Add weight to the top of the shank (the fly is an up-side-down)
  4. Tie in a small ball of dubbing in the upper hook bend.
  5. Tie in the eyes so they stand out from the body in a 45-55 degree angle.
  6. Add a small amount of dubbing.
  7. Tie in the first pair of legs.
  8. Tie in the rib.
  9. Add a small amount of dubbing.
  10. Tie in the second pair of legs.
  11. Add a small amount of dubbing.
  12. Tie in the third pair of legs.
  13. Add a small amount of dubbing.
  14. Tie in the fourth pair of legs.
  15. Dub the rest of the hook shank
  16. Tie in the antennas.
  17. Tie in the back.
  18. Make both antennas and shield back come forward to the hook bend. Secure with the ribbing and rib the fly towards the eye, making the turns closer and closer.
  19. Whip finish
  20. Adjust the legs.
  21. Adjust the antennas.
  22. Adjust the head.
  23. Take a break.
  24. Tie ten more

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Step 9 -
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Dark Honey
Jesper Kamstrups Dark Honey - a Honey Shrimp variant.
Bushy when dry -
Bushy when dry
Dark Honey - Jesper Kamstrup\'s dark variant with mouth parts of opossum.
Dark Honey

Dark Honey Shrimp

HookKamasan B170, size 4
ThreadTan or brown, 8/0
WeightLead free wire
EyesMono 0.55 mm, burned and epoxyfied.
MouthpartsDark opposum
Rib0.20 mm mono
BodyDubbing, mix of SLF, hare, Ice Dub UV, Copper.
LegsOracle Flexi Legs, orange
AntennasPolar bear
BackUnique fly hair, speckled brown

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.

User comments
From: werner · werner.adler·at·gmx.net  Link
Submitted March 31st 2013

Thanks a lot for this great fly.
We were in Denmark in the middle of march 2013 with very bad condintions (water 0 ° and airtemp -2°). With 4 flyfishers we catch 5 seatrouts, from which I caught 4 with a pink honey shrimp. :-).
Now I'm thinking of to fill the fly-box only with different colours of honey-shrimp...

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·globalflyfisher.com  Link
Submitted February 21st 2010


You can contact me, and we can work on an addition for the article with your updates.


From: Robert Logan · bob·at·flycastinglesson.com  Link
Submitted February 21st 2010

Update from Robert Logan on Shrimp Pattern - Gentlemen, I have come up with a partial solution to the head portion for the shrimp pattern I have been working and in an exciting new development....I have been experimenting with Enrico Puglasi fibers and have discovered that they become translucent and absorb water well to give a very much a "real shrimp flesh" look when submerged in water! I would like to post my fly tying sequence and photos for you all to see, tie, make commentary and more importantly catch some really large sea trout! How can I do this? I had a chance to tie this pattern at the 18th Annual Texas Fly Fishers Symposium earlier this month and I gave away several dozen of them.

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach  Link
Submitted November 11th 2009


instead of using plastic, shell-back or the like for the shield, why not try using clear ultra hair or natural hair of some sort, coat it sparsly with epoxy, and you will have a structured back/head, strong, and coated.

You could also upload your tying steps in the forum and challenge all the GFF-visitors and see, who brings up the best idea.


From: Robert Logan · bob·at·flycastinglesson.com  Link
Submitted November 11th 2009

Thank you for recommending Soft-Tex...I have access to it but have not used it...yet....in my youth I used to fish with live shrimp and enjoyed catching and handling them...have you noticed how they seem to have "two-pieces"? The tail seems to make up 66% of their body (which I have technique that works good for this part), but the head part on real Gulf Coast shrimp is hard, like a molded shell or "helmet" that a Roman Gladiator would wear protecting their soft insides...I know I fill the inside with dubbing, rubber legs, glass beads, etc...but how can we make the this "shell"? My current idea is cut a piece of hard thin clear plastic and fold it around the hook shank over my "soft insides" to complete the head. I am currently experimenting with this concept. Has anyone ever done this before? If so, are there pictures?

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach · kasper·at·muehlbach.dk  Link
Submitted November 11th 2009


Thanks. Have you tried SoftEx?


From: Robert Logan · bob·at·flycastinglesson.com  Link
Submitted November 5th 2009

This pattern, the article and photos all fit together great! I am fascinated by shrimp patterns and have been working on a pattern that looks realistic wet for the shrimp we have here in the Gulf Coast in Texas. Does anyone have any ideas of what material to use for the head ...besides epoxy? I am looking for ideas and inspiration!

From: Martijn Schenning (Netherlands) · martijnschenning·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted August 1st 2008

Dear Kasper,

Thanks for this very good pattern! I tried it this year on our annual fishing trip to Fyn (end of April). This shrimp was responsible for most of my takes. Best fishing trip to Denmark, so far.... :)
I tried the pink pig pattern as well, but couldn't get it to swim the right side up. I'll have to make some modifications to my pink pigs for next year. I also had a quick question: How true is it that one can only catch sea trout at high tide? I always see the local fisherman leave when the tide is getting lower. Am I casting my "flies" for nothing at low tide?

From: Clyde E. Pullen · cepullen·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted October 31st 2007

Kasper, what great patterns and account. I like both patterns. Thanks.
Butch, I too would like your '97 Honey Shrimp -- or publish the pattern here or e-mail me??? Thanks.
Shrimp patterns are time consuming to tie --but well worth it when you spend those precious few hours on the water! Some of our shrimp [in Mississippi, USA] are almost clear and small [hook14-20], some tan, others brown, some molted of 3-4 colors or light pink. I'll have to get busy at the vise.
Some times I like my shrimp heavily weighted, and at other times -- with just enough [5-10 rounds of non-lead wire] to allow it to sink slowly. Boy, what fun.
In His Love,

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach  Link
Submitted April 6th 2007


thanks, I am glad you found it interesting.
However, Jesper and I did not create it. Henrik Agerskov did.
We just tied it and published it on the Global FlyFisher.


From: Lars Espensen · larsespensen·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted April 6th 2007

There was a guy soaking bait, and catching skates, near my home in Brooklyn. He checked his line, and had a shrimp, that looked just like the honey shrimp, impaled on an 8/0 hook. He was fishing in about 50ft of water, in the shipping channel. I've gotta tie some of these, as all my shrimp patterns are pretty beat up. Fluke and Bluefish like these, too. Striper season opens Apr. 15th, so I'll need the honey shrimp by then. Tight Lines, Lars p.s. report from Upper N.Y. Bay

From: Butch Sherrill · gaither.sherrill·at·us.army.mil  Link
Submitted April 5th 2007

Jesper & Kasper,
Man, you guys have produced a great fly. I really like the style of the fly and the legs are cool man. The Deep honey is smooth too.

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach  Link
Submitted April 5th 2007


It would be great to see your variant. I have sent you an email.


From: Butch Sherrill · gaither.sherrill·at·us.army.mil  Link
Submitted April 5th 2007

Hello Kasper,
I recall making my own version of the Honey Shrimp in 1997 in kolding at the fly show. I would like to send you a picture of , but I am unable to do so becuase I do not have your email address. I tied a some what more realistic version using Wild Boar, Shellback, mixed dubbing cdc with rabbit. If you don't mind I would to send it to you per email.


From: Hamish Miller · mildalspot·at·aol.com  Link
Submitted February 2nd 2007

Dont bother with my comment I just sent if I had spent more time on the page I would have seen the answer to my question.

Thanks Hamish

From: Hamish Miller · mildalspot·at·aol.com  Link
Submitted February 2nd 2007

I live in the Orkney Islands and I am keen to try some of these flies around our shores can you tell me how you fish them ie type of line and the retreave?

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach  Link
Submitted January 8th 2007


my setup consists of a floating shooting line, a very slow intermediate shooting head and a normal nylon leader app. 5 yds.
I strip it in using longer strips, shorter, fast, slow - but (too) often I just strip it in using 1½ foot strips.

From: serge from canada · sergenoel·at·globetrotter.net  Link
Submitted January 8th 2007

how do you work the fly at sea ? you strip it fast or very slow ? do you use a floating or sinking tip line, what is the best setting.
thanks for comments

From: Jesper Kamstrup · ljkamstrup·at·webspeed.dk  Link
Submitted December 12th 2006

Hi Serge, you can use whatever you like to make the body of the fly, i just prefere to add some attraction to the fly, using the UV dub, it makes the fly "glow" in the water, however i've tied flies without it that works (almost) as well. For the back you can use EP fibers, i take two different shades of brown and brush them together in order to create a sort of spotted back.
Regards Jesper Kamstrup

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach  Link
Submitted December 12th 2006


You may use Ultra Hair or Kinky Fiber instead of Ultra Hair. Be aware, that Ultra Hair is more fine and you may find even better substitutes.

UV-dubbing has other names like Flash-dub or Aura-dubbing. You can also use SLF Prism, tan, which is a new dubbing having this UV-look, but actually reflects light as in a prism.

I hope you find the materials you are looking for.

Kasper Mühlbach


From: serge from canada  Link
Submitted December 12th 2006

thanks kasper, I was waiting for it, superb fly and great pictures. is there a substitute for the ( unique fly hair and the ice dub uv).

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach  Link
Submitted December 10th 2006


it may turn, if the legs are too long. The weight on the hook shank is added to prevent turning and keeping the right position. The ones I have tied lately works perfectly well.


From: Igmar van Duinen · schefferduinen·at·wanadoo.nl  Link
Submitted December 9th 2006

Thank you for this pattern. I heard some great stories of this fly. But does this pattern turn hook down? Or does the bunch of Antennas prevent this turning? That's one of mine main problems with a lot of shrimp patterns, they always turn back down and that is not so realitstic. Greetings from Holland and hope to see you along the Dannish coast. Igmar

GFF staff comment
From: Kasper Mühlbach  Link
Submitted December 9th 2006


thank you. I am glad you enjoyed reading it, and that you had such a great day!


From: Paul Kalbrener · PHKalbrener·at·aol.com  Link
Submitted December 9th 2006

Thanks for the great article Kasper, I also received a dark honey from Jesper at the GFF and was reluctant to use it (didnt want it lost), but on my last trip on the Danish coast I pulled it out of my fly box to give it a spin. As the first fish took my fly, I was not prepared, and my rod flew out of my hands from the very hard take, after a quick swim for my 900 $ outfit and landing that, plus 7 other fish that day I became a true fan of the honey shrimp. Now my fly box is full of them.

Comment to an image
From: daniel rogers · kathy_daniel·at·hotmail.com  Link
Submitted December 13th 2006

looks nice. plus it looks so real. great tie man

Comment to an image
From: Daniel Gonsalves · danflytr·at·npgcable.com  Link
Submitted April 24th 2008

this is the best and most realistic shrimp I have ever seen and I been tying for over forty years! Amazing job!

Comment to an image
From: Rybolov · rybolov·at·ryzhe.ath.cx  Link
Submitted December 9th 2006

It's a GFF exclusive, for one night only:
The amazing translucent vogueing shrimp!!!!!

"Strike a pose, there's nothing to it" --Madonna

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