Martin's Mundane Shrimp

Published Apr 7th 2012

A really simple, three-material shrimp


Martin's Mundane Shrimp

Shrimps are a very common saltwater prey and here in my home waters they are a very important part of any fly fisherman's box. During the recent years we have witnessed the Pink Pig Craze here in Denmark and northern Europe, and this creation has been marketed as the best thing since sliced bread. It has seemed like no one could catch a sea trout without it.

Personally I have never caught anything on a Pink Pig. It might have to do with the fact that I have only fished it a couple of times.

The Mini Pig

It's too complex and too large. And it uses the most valued fly tying material on the market: pink spey hackle, which is now priced and traded together with gold and diamonds and has to be transported in armored cars to the fly shops.

My good friend Ken tied a Mini Pig, which is much like the Pink Pig, but shorter and lighter. Much more to my liking!

It might be that the original Pink Pig will increase the average size of the fish you catch (Some people really say so!), but I still don't like it much. And the color?! Yikes!

Pig flies

I need a shrimp
But I certainly do need a shrimp in my box, and for the sake of the Pink Pig fans I'm also going to tie one in Piggy pink. The ones that wind up in my own box are most likely going to be dull gray, grizzly, light tan and maybe white. I will tie the pink one for photos, but in the future they are going to be few and far between. The only pink shrimp we see here (apart from the flies in almost everybody else's boxes) are the ones that are boiled and served on a piece of toast with lemon juice and freshly ground pepper over them.

Three materials
A shrimp must have eyes. I am sure that eyes are and important part of what the fish key in on when they hunt shrimp. The eyes on many shrimp are quite visible. The shrimp itself is almost translucent and very well camouflaged, but the black dots stand out. I'm a sucker for bead chain eyes, and they come in black too. They are easy to work with, cheap and add some weight. If you want more weight on your Mundane Shrimp, use black dumbbell eyes.

I certainly do need a shrimp in my box


The other very obvious thing on many shrimp species is the antennae. They are often thin, long and usually very shiny and difficult for the shrimp to hide. Light will reflect in them and give away the poor crustacean immediately. So we need shiny antennae, and smooth flash straws will do fine there.
But notice that some shrimp have short, stiff and quite dull antennae.

Body and legs
I will use soft hackle feathers for the body and the legs. Whiting Chickabou is the best I know, but you can buy bags of soft hackle feathers, which will work well. And most necks and saddles have leftover soft hackle feathers along the edges, which can be used for this fly. In a tight spot you can also use marabou.

A variation
I know some anglers who never fish anything else than the Honey Shrimp, and for their benefit I'll throw in an alternate material: rubber legs. I like rubber legs, but for the ease of tying the fly the fly there will be no meticulous arranging them. I will simply knot and tie on a bunch. And in keeping with the rules, I drop the flash and the antennae. The rubber legged version is my own preferred variation of the Mundane Shrimp and will be the one I set in production for my 2012 season. It's a surprisingly good imitation in spite of its simplicity.

Rubber legs

Remember: Three materials, my friends... only three materials.

Martin's Mundane Shrimp
TypeCold saltwater fly
Martin Joergensen
Year of origin
Target species
Sea trout (sea run)

HookKamasan B175 size 6
Tying threadBlack 6/0
EyesBead chain, black or chrome 3/32 inch or 2.5 mm
Antennae/legsFlat clear flash
Tail (thorn) and bodyOne grizzly chickabou feather
BodyGrizzly Chickabou dubbing

Tying instructions
1 - start the thread - Start the thread at the hook bend
1 - start the thread
2 - bead chain - Tie in the eyes while they are still on the chain
2 - bead chain
3 - cut the eyes - When the eyes are secured you can clip them off the chain
3 - cut the eyes
4 - secure the eyes - Once the eyes are cut free, take a liberal number of tight wraps over and around them to secure them fully
4 - secure the eyes
5 - pick a chickabou feather - Select a feather with a good, straight tip
5 - pick a chickabou feather
6 - tie in  - The tail is in essence the rostum - the thorn - of the shrimp. Tie it in long with a couple of loose wraps
6 - tie in
7 - grab feather - Grab the feather and hold the wraps in place with a finger
7 - grab feather
8 - pull feather - Pull the feather until you get a suitable \\\
8 - pull feather
9 - tie in flash - Secure the feather, and fold a single straw of flash to produce a number of uneven loops. Tie it in over the hook bend pointing to the rear as antennae
9 - tie in flash
10 - cut the loop - Cut the loops in the flŠash to give a number of antennae
10 - cut the loop
11 - wrap feather - Wrap the rest of the feather over the eyes and towards the rear of the shrimp - which is the front of the hook. Let the barbs flare as they please over the hook eye to form a shrimp tail
11 - wrap feather
12 - dub the thread - Pluck some dubbing from the chickabou and twist it on the thread as a dubbing \\\
12 - dub the thread
13 - form the body - Wrap the dubbing towards the hook eye to form a body. Let it taper thinner towards the hook eye.
13 - form the body
14 - finish - Take a few last wraps right in front of the hook eye and whip finish
14 - finish
15 - cut thread - Cut the thread and varnish over the wraps. You can press down the wildest fibers on the back of the shrimp and varnish them to form a shield - or you can leave it be
15 - cut thread

More Mundane
These are the articles in the Mundane series:

Your flies?
Do you have new patterns that follow similar rules or ides for flies that fit the Mundane principle?
Let us know. Contact Martin through mail and your fly can become a part of the Mundane Fly Project. You can read more about submitting patterns in this article.

User comments
GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted April 8th 2012


Flammen (The Flame in English) is certainly and effective fly. For those who don't know Flammen is essentially a pink Christmas Tree.


From: Allan Overgaard · surferallan·at·  Link
Submitted April 7th 2012

Flammen will do the exact same job as the Pink Pig.
Much easier to tie, and inexpensive.

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