Published Nov 24. 2007 - 16 years ago
Updated or edited Sep 29. 2021

Salty dreams and glassy shrimp

Chris Edghill writes: "Fascinating to see how they worked together, one would dive in between the rocks and sea grass, completely burying itself and the others just milled around waiting for a shrimp to dart out from it's hiding place where it would be quickly devoured."

Having had the fortune of being born on the island of Barbados and family roots deeply imbedded in the local fishing culture I feel quite at home standing on a beach with a fly rod in hand. This is where most people find thing a bit daunting. The transition from river fishing where there are defined areas that fish are localized, like heads and tails of pool, rifles, visible flow lines etc to an expanse of seemingly monotone water is a bit frightening.

My grandfather, was once heard to say "fish have fins, so there ain't no need to move around to find them. Let'm come to ya".

See thru

Shrimp rape

Well, where this may be true of some species and their habits, I find it hard to remain in one spot while fishing for sea trout along the Baltic and Öresund coast. I prefer the adage " Better one cast on 10 different places than 10 cast on 1 pace". Choosing those places, reefs, boulders, bays or whatever, is difficult and important. Knowing where fish go and what they eat during the season is also a life long search that continues to haunt us as well.

Shrimp top -
Sun Light Shrimp -
Shrimp bottom -
The S.L.S. Shrimp
Chris Edghill

During mid to late summer small glass shrimp start to appear in numbers along the cost, congregating in sheltered bays and harbours to the delight of both fish and fisherman.

Drifting past some submerged boulders one dreamy day on my float tube, I observed several trout around 1.5- 2.5 kg chasing these shrimp out from their hiding places. Fascinating to se how they worked together, one would dive in between the rocks and sea grass, completely burying itself and the others just milled around waiting for a shrimp to dart out from it's hiding place where it would be quickly devoured.
I watched one fish follow for several meters after one shrimp, until it nearly reached the surface where it made it's final attack in a decided splashing swirl. Presumably to corner it against the surface. This is what alerted me to their being there in the first place.

Float tubes ready

Being and avid reader of the Global FlyFisher and having reading the article Honey Shrimp By Kasper Mühlbach, witch is a fantastic fly, I was drawn to the conclusion that all the right triggers were there but not enough translucency like the real shrimp. So after much research, pictures of naturals, cursing over epoxy messes on my wives table cloth etc, I came up with this versions I call it the "S.L.S" short for "Sun Light Shrimp".

With it's characteristic see-through hump in it's back, egg sack, live heart and lots of movement from the gill, legs and antenna, fish just cant resist.

Shrimp move forward in their natural movement almost walking through water, hence the forward tying. Only when they are escaping do they propel themselves backward in short erratic bursts. This is also a good trigger to the fish. If the food is moving slow and forward then it has not been disturbed and may not getaway. Fish tend to cruse up to the fly and then smash it without hesitation.

S.L.S. - Sun Light Shrimp

Mirror, mirror

Bending the hook


Tools of the trade

S.L.S. - Sun Light Shrimp
Pattern type: 
Cold saltwater fly
Chris Edghill
Size 2-10. TMC 9394 Streamer 4XL
Clear mono
Lead free wire or tungsten
Epoxy eyes or bead chain on smaller patterns
Flexi-legs or Sili-legs cream or white
Rear: Sandy or light grey colored polar fiber dubbing with a twist of pearl sent-fibres. Front: Pink or brown polar fiber dubbing with a twist of pearl sent-fibres
Ultra Hair or kinky hair with a few strands of crystal flash to match color.
Clear scud back
Shell back
5 minute epoxy
All markings are done with a water proof marker
Skill level/difficulty: 
A little difficult
  1. Bend the hook up 1/3 back from the eye. This helps set up the right shape for the eyes and antenna.
  2. Cut to shape a 5-6 mm wide section of clear nymph skin or scud back 2 cm long and attach well round the bend to form the tail. Trim to spade shape.
  3. Dub on a ball of sand/ light grey colored rough dubbing to form the egg sack and gills.
  4. Leave a little space and dub on pink/darker sand or light brown dubbing to form the thorax area.
  5. Tie in the epoxy eyes, making shore that they have the right set. A little dubbing under them may help.
  6. Tie 12-15 strands of ultra hair and a few strands of crystal flash to match color on top of the ball of dubbing between the eyes making shore you have them prejudging at the right angle - slightly up over the eye of the hook.
  7. Take the thread back to the back of the thorax ball of dubbing and madem-x in 2 sets of legs on both sides, pulling tight into the dubbing ball after positioning will cause them to stick out in the right direction.
  8. Take the thread to the eye and tie off - viola!
  9. Now for the tricky part. Mix up some 5 minute epoxy. I do them 1 at a time. With the fly in the jaws of a forceps place a line of epoxy along the back, from the tie in point of the tail up into the antenna/eyes area, making shore it dose not flow to the underside. This is easier done if the fly is rotated over so the hook point is facing up. Continue applying epoxy in small amounts and allowing it to run until you have created the shrimps natural hump back shape.

I usually tie several at one sitting, that's the easy part. Then I will take a break and return later to set up the epoxying. Mixing only small amounts at a time is made a little easier if you use a painter's knife as shown in the picture. Remember, epoxy is extremely allergy causing, so don't get it on you - anywhere!
Use acotone to remove it before you take that long deserved toilet break.

Tight lines

The attack


Martin Joergensen's picture

Gentjan, This is ...


This is an old article, and we have no step-by-step pictures of the tying sequence, and have no plans of doing any. There will be new patterns with illustrated instructions, but this old one will remain as it is.


Can you put some pic...

Can you put some picture during the production of it.... it looks really great..:)

Would you sell any o...

Would you sell any of your SLS shrimp? I am NOT a tier at all but would love to try them on Bone fish when I go to Honduras this summer.

Ryan's picture

would be a good spec...

would be a good spec trout and redfish fly too

great fly i love the...

great fly i love the detail will start making some to try in oz

Very nice and well d...

Very nice and well done...But (there is always a but) this shrimp, since it'is used a bendback hook, will not swim upside down?

Atli's picture

From what I know shr...

From what I know shrimp swim forward, but flee backwards (using their tail).

Nice fly ! but why ...

Nice fly ! but why not ty this fly reverse ? ( shrimp are "swimming" backwards...)

Cornelis van Leeuwen
The Netherlands

anselmo's picture

Chris, You should...


You should try Tuffleye instead of epoxy.
Much easier to apply, has infinite working time, can be set in 20-30seconds WHEN REQUIRED, is perfectly clear, doesn't yellow, non-allergenic, and is tougher than epoxy
(no financial interest unfortunately!)
I use it for all my surf candies, poxy shrimps etc

It will turn your tricky part into a breeze


Nicely done....

Nicely done.

... and one more ver...

... and one more very frosty winter evening is done. Great idea which I will try out very soon - tying and fishing wise. Thanks.


Hi Chris, Very ve...

Hi Chris,

Very very nice shrimp fly - I'm gonna give it a try and tie up a few :o)



sls shrimp flie...

Would like to know if I could purchase the sls shrimp fly from a fly tier ????


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