Ken's Incredibly Simple Shrimp - AKA KISS

Published Apr 8th 2013

Shrimp flies are very much en vogue in the Baltic region, and keep on getting more and more complex. This one is simple and dead easy to tie - and still a very good imitation


KISS is not (always) a rock band

The Danish and Scandinavian shrimp flies for sea trout have gotten more and more life-like and more and more realistic over the past few years. Rubber legs, pre-made legs and eyes, printed foils, light curing resins, eel skin and all sorts of exotic materials and techniques seem to the the order of the day, and the complexity is ever increasing.

Simple does it
This fly from the hands of Danish tyer and GFF regular Ken Bonde Larsen goes in the opposite direction and simplifies things. The most complex part of the fly is a dubbing loop, and that can hardly be called complex compared to many of the techniques used in many contemporary shrimp flies.
The fly uses few materials, all easy to find and cheap. It employs few tying steps and should be possible to tie for even beginning fly tiers. Still it ends up as a pretty good impression of a shrimp and can be adapted to different looks by a simple change of material colors.

Color variations

The Magic Tool
Ken uses Marc Petitjean's Magic Tool to make the dubbing loop, but you can just use a regular dubbing loop technique without tools or with a common bulldog clamp or simply your fingers. The tool does make it much easier, though.

Step A - the base part - Place the base part of the Magic Tool on the table
Step A - the base part
Step B - place feather - Place the first feather on the tool with the stem over the groove
Step B - place feather
The fly is tied with CDC feathers, which are not commonly used in saltwater flies, but have the same fantastic ability to catch air and add life in the salt as they do in freshwater flies.

It also incorporates the new Danish Easy Shrimp Eyes, which are pre-made monofilament eyes that are very easy to handle and use and secure a uniform result every time. Their only drawback is a high price. Of course you can just use normal home made mono eyes, which opposite the Easy Eyes are pleasantly cheap, but just take some time to make.
Step C - second feather - Place a second CDC feather over the first one with tip pointing the opposite way of the first
Step C - second feather
Step D - dubbing - Make a small mat of flash dubbing
Step D - dubbing
Step E - place dubbing - Place the thin dubbing mat on top of the feathers
Step E - place dubbing
Step F - mono - Use a piece of strong mono to press down the feathers and dubbing
Step F - mono
Step G - in the groove - Press the materials into the groove with the monofilament
Step G - in the groove
Step H - all the way - Press the materials all the way to the bottom of the tool
Step H - all the way
Step I - clamp - Remove the mono and grab the tips of the materials with the clamp
Step I - clamp
Step J - clamped - Open the bottom part and remove the material still clamped in the top part. You can now cut off the stems
Step J - clamped

Easy Shrimp eyes

Ken's Incredibly Simple Shrimp

TypeCold saltwater fly
Ken Bonde Larsen
Year of origin
Target species
Sea trout (sea run)

HookStraight eye saltwater hook, size 2-6
WeightLead wire or substitute
Tying thread8/0 to suit the color of the fly, or clear mono
Tail (thorm)CDC barbs
Eye supportDubbing and CDC barbs
EyesEasy Shrimp Eyes
BodyDubbing and CDC barbs in dubbing loop

The dubbing can be Lite Brite, Angel Hair or a similar flash dubbing.
The Easy Shrimp Eyes can be replaced with home made or store bought monofilament eyes.

Tying the fly
Step 1 - weight - Add a bit of weight and wrap and varnish over it
Step 1 - weight
Step 2 - tail - Use the tip of a CDC feather for the tail
Step 2 - tail
Step 3 - position tail - After a couple of loose wraps, pull the tail into position
Step 3 - position tail
Step 4 - cover butts - Cover the butts of the tail and create an even underbody
Step 4 - cover butts
Step 5 - flash - Add a folded straw of flash to the tail
Step 5 - flash
Step 6 - trim tail - Ttrim the flash in the tail to a suitable length
Step 6 - trim tail
Step 7 - CDC for dubbing - Pluck the CDC fibers off the rest of the feather used for the tail and mix it with a bit of flash
Step 7 - CDC for dubbing
Step 8 - dub thread - Dub the thread to an even rope
Step 8 - dub thread
Step 9 - dub - Push the dubbing close to the hook shank
Step 9 - dub
Step 10 - dubbing ball - Make a small ball of dubbing to support the eyes
Step 10 - dubbing ball
Step 11 - eyes - Here we use premade Easy Shrimp Eyes, but standard monofilament eyes will also do
Step 11 - eyes
Step 12 - tie in eyes - The eye stalk is tied in on top of the hook shank, making the eyes rest on each side of the dubbing ball
Step 12 - tie in eyes
Step 13 - cover base - Cut the eye stalk and cover the rest with thread
Step 13 - cover base
Step 14 - dubbing loop - Make a dubbing loop at the base of the eyes and take the thread forward
Step 14 - dubbing loop
Step 15 - add CDC and flash - Catch the fibers and barbs from the clamp in the dubbing loop
Step 15 - add CDC and flash
Step 16 - spin - Spin the loop with a dubbing spinner to create an even brush
Step 16 - spin
Step 17 - wrap the brush - Wrap the dubbing brush in touching turns to the front of the hook shank
Step 17 - wrap the brush
Step 18 - tie down - Tie down the brush and cut the surplus
Step 18 - tie down
Step 19 - tease out - Use a Velcro stick to brush the dubbing to an even, voluminous body
Step 19 - tease out
Step 20 - whip finish - Whip finish the thread to secure it
Step 20 - whip finish

Step 21 - cut thread - Cut the remaining tying thread close to the head
Step 21 - cut thread
Step 22 - varnish - Varnish the head a couple of times and let dry
Step 22 - varnish

Fishing the fly
There's no big challenge in fishing the fly. Use a floating line over shallow water and a sinking or intermediate line (or leader) over deeper water. Shrimp are after all bottom dwellers. You can adjust the weight of the fly with the weight added in the first tying step. For a really heavy fly you can change the eyes to dumbbell eyes and get a fly that really dives.
Strip the fly in small jerks interchanged with slow figure-of-eight retrieves and pauses where you allow it to sink. Shrimp are typically still or moving very slowly, but escape with sudden and very fast jerks.

User comments
From: Lars-Olof - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted May 10th 2013

A very useful fly, make it black with red eyes and smile like me when fishing in our streams in the south of Sweden.

From: Cornelis · Corneel77·at·  Link
Submitted April 9th 2013

gotta love easy flies.....the glitter shrimp is almost the same...even more easy without a dubbing loop...


From: Ted - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted April 8th 2013

Love it. Tying my shrimp somewhat similar after one I got one from Henning (or was it Paul?) with SLF dubbing and have been catching ever since! Thanks again ;-)

From: Brian · brian_elward·at·  Link
Submitted April 8th 2013

Nice quick tie. I have my own shrimp (I call it EPKISS :) ) tied with a EP shrimp dub brush, thats an even quicker tie than working with the magic tool. Great for bones and seatrout

Comment to an image
From: JohnR · stringwalker420·at·  Link
Submitted June 14th 2013

Where do you get these shrimp eyes in the USA?

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