One Mallard Shrimp

Published Jun 1st 2013

As a Baltic sea trout angler you can never get enough shrimp patterns, and this one was tied as a result of access to some really fine mallard feathers.


In the wild

We had been fishing for a few spring days in the southern part of Denmark, and not caught much, but had some fun and some small fish.
Paul, a German/American friend, kept one, nice, bright sea trout, and when he gutted it, he found two large, almost undigested shrimp in its stomach.
No big surprise there, because we had seen the shrimp in the fairly cold spring water and it's also a fact that the Danish sea trout have shrimp high on their menu - if not on top - especially in the spring where many other food sources are scarce.
In the type of fjord where we were fishing, the shrimp are some of the first animals to start buzzing around in the shallow water as soon as the sun starts heating it up just a bit.

So a shrimp fly or several should always be in the flybox of an angler who is seeking the spring sea trout in the Baltic.
Other people can fish pink and paintbrushes. To each his own.


Large and colorful shrimp patterns are very common, and I have expressed my opinion about the most common ones several times. I am not the type who ties on a large, pink paintbrush and calls it a shrimp imitation.
A pink paintbrush, yes, but a shrimp, no!
No doubt they can catch fish and have done so many, many times, but it's nothing that I find attractive even though the fish might. I prefer my shrimp smaller, grayish and a little more discrete and looking like the natural.

Other people can fish pink and paintbrushes. To each his own.

I had already been fooling around with mallard feathers on that same trip. Paul had actually brought a whole bag full of nice, large and regular feathers from mallard and gadwall, and I thought that one such feather ought to be able to produce a shrimp. The light barred barbs are fine for antennae, mouth parts, legs and the plumulaceous part at the base is excellent for dubbing. I added some Easy Shrimp Eyes and a bit of flash plus some LCR to make a shell, and the recipe for a nice shrimp was there.
This fly wound up so simple that it ought to be called Martin's Mundane Mallard Shrimp in accordance with the Mundane Manifesto. But it ended as the One Mallard Shrimp, but still only uses three materials. The hook is a Kamasan B175, so exchange the thread for black and you are almost there. The store bought eyes are special and might be hard to get, but simple, cheap, home made mono eyes can easily do the trick.

One Mallard Shrimp
TypeCold saltwater fly
Martin Joergensen
Year of origin

HookKamasan B175 size 6-4
EyesEasy Shrimp Eyes, black (or home made mono eyes)
BodyDowny part plucked off a mallard feather
Legs, shellMallard feather
BackLight Curing Resin

One feather

Inspired by

The One Mallard Shrimp

From one feather you will get barbs for the shrimp's thorn, the fluffy part will make some excellent dubbing for the body and the remaining barbs can be wound as a hackle that will form shell and legs.You can use mallard, teal, gadwall or any other finely barred feather with the same long, fine barbs and a fluffy, downy part to provide dubbing.
The fly is really easy to tie, and the only advanced step is using Light Curing Resin for the shell, and even that is easy.

Step 1 - thread - Start the thread in the front of the hook shank and cover it in touching turns
Step 1 - thread
Step 2 - flash - Tie in a few straws of flash in the rear of the hook shank
Step 2 - flash
Step 3 - position flash - Pull the flash to the rear and tie down
Step 3 - position flash
Step 4 - one mallard feather - You will need one large mallard feather with the fluffy part still on
Step 4 - one mallard feather
Step 5 - tail/thorn - Cut off the longest barbs from both sides of the mallard feather and tie in as a tail over the flash - becoming the thorn and mouth appendages of the shrimp
Step 5 - tail/thorn
Step 6 - tail in place - Cover the barbs with a couple of thread wraps
Step 6 - tail in place
Step 7 - trim - Cut off the butts of the mallard barbs
Step 7 - trim
Step 8 - dubbing - Add a bit of mallard dubbing to the thread
Step 8 - dubbing
Step 9 - eye support - Make a small ball of dubbing over the hook bend to support the eyes
Step 9 - eye support
Step 10 - eyes - These Easy Eyes make positioning the eyes perfectly very easy
Step 10 - eyes
Step 11 - tie in eyes - Position the eyes over the hook shank and tie them down over the length of the shank
Step 11 - tie in eyes
Step 12 eyes done - Trim off the excess eye stub
Step 12 eyes done
Step 13 - more dubbing - Add more mallard dubbing on the thread
Step 13 - more dubbing
Step 14 - dub - Dub the hook shank to form a cylindrical body
Step 14 - dub
Step 15 - prepare the feather - Pull the barbs back from the tip of the remaining feather
Step 15 - prepare the feather
Step 16 - tie in - Tie in the feather by the tip
Step 16 - tie in
Step 17 - ready to wrap - Trim off the tip of the feather and pull back the barbs
Step 17 - ready to wrap
Step 18 - pull barbs - Pull the feather up by the stem and stroke the barbs back towards the rear of the hook and start wrapping
Step 18 - pull barbs
Step 19 - wrap - Wrap the feather 2-3 times while you stroke back the barbs for each turn
Step 19 - wrap
Step 20 - form head - Trim off the surplus feather and take a few turns over the butt to form a small head
Step 20 - form head
Step 21 - cut thread - Whip finish and cut the thread
Step 21 - cut thread
Step 22 - pull hackle - Pull the top of the hackle down and to the rear of the fly
Step 22 - pull hackle
Step 23 - add LCR - Add a bit of Light Curing Resin to the top of the fly and spread out while holding on to the hackle
Step 23 - add LCR
Step 24 - cure - Once the LCR has the shape you want, cure it with light
Step 24 - cure
Step 25 - more LCR - You can add more LCR to the top or sides of the fly if you are not satisfied with the shape. Just add and cure a little at the time.
Step 25 - more LCR
Step 26 - trim flash - If the flash antennae are too long, simply trim them
Step 26 - trim flash
Done - The fly is ready

Shrimp flies are supposed to fish fairly deep, and over water depths in the 1-2 meter range or some 3-6 feet deep it should actually be on the bottom or at least close. That might call for a bit of weight, and adding some heavy wire under the body can be necessary unless you want to wait for the fly to sink or use an intermediate or sinking leader.
Shrimp are usually slow moving animals that hover gently over the bottom, rocks or sea weed, but once they are disturbed, they shoot off in a blitz fast jerk. You can partly mimic that with a steady and slow retrieve broken by some sudden, short pulls in the fly line.

You can tie the fly with the barred feathers from any of these birds. The One Gadwall Shrimp, The One Mallard Shrimp and the One Teal Shrimp. I don't think the fish will care.
Gadwall - Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard - Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
Teal - Eurasian Teal or Common Teal (Anas crecca)

I don't think the fish will care.

User comments
From: michael egelund · megelund2002·at·  Link
Submitted December 2nd 2014

how..! this is the best simple schrimpfly i have seen in years..easy to tie and looks good, i have already added a dusin to my flybox.beside fishing, hunting is also my sport so the feathers come in plenty.
thanks for sharing.
tight lines and best regards.

From: Erick · earce·at·  Link
Submitted February 21st 2014

Sleek and functional. Achille Castiglioni would have not designed it better, had this pattern been an avant-garde furniture piece.
BTW, this is by far the best site for patterns and fly fishing in general.

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted June 12th 2013


You had me laughing there!

I'm both glad and sorry that the flies were so realistic that the birds took them. Imagine their effect when fish are around!

You will have to tie up a new bunch and keep a good eye on them while they cure.


From: Bruce · brucen20·at·  Link
Submitted June 12th 2013

Made three of these and put them out in the sun to finish curing. They promptly disappeared. I think they have been so buggy looking that the birds carried them away!

From: PeteGray · areasixtyone·at·  Link
Submitted June 4th 2013

G'day Martin...
'Rephreshing as ALWAYS and bordering on BRILLIANT...
Your shrimp cocktail goes nicely with Riesling...

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted June 2nd 2013


I also always had a weak spot for the term plumulaceous. I learned it while studying biology and was reintroduced to it by Wayne Luallen in his feather anatomy article.

A great word, but impossible to remember and pronounce unless you really concentrate. I usually just say webby...


From: Kate - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted June 1st 2013

With, or without the help of Talisker, you certainly do have the inspiration to tie some very innovative, and easy to construct flies. The mallard shrimp should fool any sea trout, and other species as well. The shrimp is a neatly done realistic looking crustacean. (I like the word, plumulaceous, it has gone into my special words notebook.)

Comment to an image
From: Osonegro452 · mcdada452·at·  Link
Submitted May 21st 2015

Intend to use this in the marsh along the NC coast. Hope it's as productive as I hope. Easy tie and looks good on a #6.

Comment to an image
From: John - Full name and email anonymized  Link
Submitted December 16th 2013

This has to be the simplest yet best looking shrimp imitation out there. Should be a Trout and Redfish killer here in N.E. Florida. So easy and efficient to tie. Thanks for sharing your recipe and also thanks to Global for publishing. This is the best fly tying site!

Want to comment this page? Fill out the form below.
Only comments
in English
are accepted!

Comentarios en Ingles
solamente, por favor!

Your name Your email
Anonymize my information. Name and email will not be shown with comment.
Notify me on new comments to this article on the above email-address.
You don't have to comment to start or stop notifications.

All comments will be screened by the GFF staff before publication.
No HTML, images, ads or links, please - we do not publish such comments...
And only English language comments will be published.
Name and email is optional but recommended.
The email will be shown in a disguised form in the final comment to protect you against spam
You can see other public comments on this page