Kern's Perfect Leo Shrimp
Published Jul 8th 2010
Discrete and alive
By Kasper Muhlbach, Kern Leo Lund
Facebook & Fly Swap!
I don't use Facebook that much, actually only when someone writes me. Why? Well, I just haven't really been diving into it. One day a guy byt the name of Kern Leo Lund from Denmark sent me a message asking if I was the Kasper Mühlbach--the guy with a few articles under his belt who was a part of the Global FlyFisher team. No matter how much I played modest, I couldn't find a way not to reply positively to this question, and the result was that he sent me a box of flies. It only took 11 days from Denmark to South Sweden - but I got them. In the box were two nice shrimps with clear legs ready to jump out at me or at least crawl out over the door step and into the nearby water at first chance.
They looked great and I took a couple of photos. We kept writing back and forth on Facebook and decided to make a small article about how to tie this fly--exclusively for GFF!
I asked a little about the tying technique and if the tail made the shrimp spin and thereby the leader curl. Kern said that it swam perfectly in the water, but my skepticism made me dress in waders and go for an hour in the evening, since there was no need to publish a fly that would cause more frustrations than joy.
It is hot. Not too much, actually just nice. The moon is showing half of its face - golden pale. The ducks and herons are making their weird songs and small ducklings are racing on the surface snapping midges. They must spend more energy catching them than they gain from eating them. But they seem to have fun.
I tie on the fly and make my way through the forest to the shore. The flowers and grass is knee high at least. It smells fresh, dry and natural. It is finally summer.
I step into the water and walk slowly to the reef. The sea is like a mirror. The line comes off the reel. Nice sound. It almost sounds like a fish making short, wild runs. I cast 5 meters and drag the rod, so the fly passes me close by. Kern was right. It looks great and it does not spin. More line is pulled of the reel and the fly penetrates the surface a few moments later with a silent little "plop".
One pull and I feel a fish. It hooks itself. I am surprised. So is the fish. At first it just follows the line and comes towards me. Not a big one, I guess, but a fish is a fish and this one came out of the blue. It turns when it sees me. The tail is bigger than I thought. What a coincidence. Normally I hate these stories beginning with:
"Yesterday I tied this fly bla bla bla... and today it proved it's value. I caught 7 nice fish and named the fly 7killsfly..."
And here I am. The fact is that I have received a fly, tied it on and in first cast it's taken by a three kilo sea trout. Is it the fly or is it the angler...?
I admire the fish. It is heavy, well-proportioned and and absolutely perfect. I'd better call my friend
We fish for a few more hours and have a few contacts and release two fish. It is dark when we decide to call it a night. The moon has disappeared behind the trees when we try to find a path through the wilderness. What a nice test fishing!
The day for taking photos for the step-by-step instruction was closing in. Who was this guy? Kern? Strange name, even by Danish standards, by the way. Well, at least as strange as Mühlbach. I had seen his flies on a few Danish sites. What characterized them was a sense of detail and perfect tying.
The road ended blindly. 3 houses without numbers. I parked my car. Checked the mailbox. A door opened. "Yeah - you are right. It is here!".
Kern - not the smallest man on earth.
Kind of a body builder type.
And that's exactly what he is. Body builder, The oldest pro in Denmark at the moment. Dedicated to his training and competing in the league for more than twenty years. He is a serious competitor. Maybe competing with himself, mostly. He wants it to be OK. The house, furniture and surroundings is the same. Just OK! No doubt he is a sensing person--a perfectionist.
A medal hangs above his fly tying desk from Mustad Open 2002. A second place. The second second place, actually. He laughed. He had got an reply from the committee explaining the reason. He couldn't see it.
He shows me some of the flies used for tuna, travelly and sea trout. Of course they are different, but they are all tied to perfection - to a very high standard. That is another thing what drives him. Tying high standard flies for fishing, with neat details that just add this little extra realistic look. The look as we as humans believe in (the sea trout probably do not care that much). He has been working on this shrimp for some time now, and it is finished. Time for a public release.
Kern's Perfect Leo Shrimp
|Hook||Gamakatsu G Code F 314 size 4 or Daiichi size 4, swimming larva hook, york bend, 3x-long curved. shank, 2x-heavy wire, up-eye, bronze|
|Thread||Uno Mono Clear|
|Tail/tag||Red SLF dubbing|
|Head dubbing||SLF Olive green|
|Rib||0.20 mm nylon|
|Dubbing||SLF, sand, tan and/or other light dubbings|
|Eyes||Burned monofilament, painted and finished with epoxy|
|Antennas||Two stripped grizzle hackle stems and clear, thin rubber legs|
|Legs||Four pairs of clear, flexy legs marked with a black pen. See comments for more info|
|Back||Tan/Light sand EP fiber|
|Tail||Two clear flexi legs, turned|
- Tie in a some lead or tungsten as a keel.
- Tie in a small ball of red SLF.
- Tie in a small tufft of sandy colored SLF.
- Cut the stem out a grizzle say hackle. Tie it in.
- Tie in a some sand/seal colored SLF. Make a few turns.
- Make a neat little knot on every leg to make them become more lively.
- Tie in the first pair of legs.
- Tie in the eyes on each side of the shank.
- Tie in the ribbing.
- Make one wrap of the sandy colored mix.
- Tie some sandy colored SLF and the first pair of legs. Continue doing that. Three pairs if the hook is normal length and 4 pairs if the hook is 1x-2x long.
- Take a rubber band. 3-4 times the hook lengt. On the middle, you make a small loop and tie it sown at the hook eye.Repeat, so you now have 4 rubber legs starting from two loops at the eye.
- Hold the 4 rubber bands tight and lock them wirh the rib and the hook bend. Make the ribbing come forward in nice turns. The turns should become slightly more narrow as they approach the hook eye.
- Form a nice little head and whipfinish.
- Brush the fly throughly so the fibres sticks out and it gets a transparent look.
- Mark the legs and back with small dots from a black pen.
- Mark the dubbing at the hook bend with an olive pen.