Published Feb 10. 2024 - 3 months ago
Updated or edited Feb 10. 2024

Steel Shrimp

Another Nick Thomas fly using bead chain for weight and orientation

Steel Shrimp
Steel Shrimp
Nick Thomas

In a previous article I described how I use metal bead chain to add weight and internal structure to my Chain Worm pattern. The Steel Shrimp uses the same principle, the metal beads forming a skeleton which is covered in dubbing and organza ribbon to form the shrimp’s legs and shell respectively. The colour of the orange thread and the beads mimics the parasitic worm which infects some shrimps and changes their behaviour making them move out of cover into open water, all the better to be eaten by fish and continue the parasitic cycle.

The weight of the chain turns the shrimp so that it fishes on its side or on its back, which is just fine as that’s how Gammarus shrimps actually swim. It’s not a heavyweight like shrimps tied with tungsten shrimp bodies so it’s easy to cast and doesn’t plummet to the bottom. I like to fish it in fairly fast shallow runs where shrimps can get washed out from the gravel and stones.

Shrimp scaffold
Shrimp scaffold
Nick Thomas
A sheen of orange
A sheen of orange
Nick Thomas
Steel Shrimp
Pattern type: 
Scud fly
Nick Thomas

A simple scud pattern using bead chain for weight and orientation

Fasna F-120 #14
8/0 orange
1.5mm stainless steel bead chain
Hare’s ear sub vicuna dubbing
3mm cream organza ribbon and UV-resin
Skill level/difficulty: 
Very easy
  1. Run on the thread at the eye and take around the bend in touching turns.
  2. Tie in four beads of chain along the back of the hook with thread wraps between each of the beads. Colour the beads with an orange marker pen.
  3. Tie in a length of 3mm organza ribbon at the bend.
  4. Dub between the beads.
  5. Brush the dubbing down, fold the ribbon forward over the beads, tie in and remove the waste.
  6. Build a neat head, whip finish and remove the thread.
  7. Coat the ribbon and the head with UV-resin and cure.

Fishing a Steel Shrimp in a fast run
Fishing a Steel Shrimp in a fast run
Nick Thomas
A Shrimp eater
A Shrimp eater
Nick Thomas

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Steel Shrimp...

Nice one, Nick.


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