Published May 11. 1997 - 26 years ago
Updated or edited Mar 11. 2023

The Shank

An almost naked fly with almost no materials.

The Shank is a fly that will be both small and large at once. It's actually just a tuft of hair on a hook shank, but the hair chosen is fairly stiff squirrel, and will give the fly some volume. Still when there's current or you retrieve it a bit faster it collapses to a narrow strip.
The Shank also uses natural flash - peacock herl in stead of my beloved flash straws. A good autumn fly.

Hook 4-6 curved nymph/emerger hook
Thread Tan
Body Natural squirrel underfur taken from the butts of the hairs used for winging the previous fly.
Wing A few peacock herl under a tuft of squirrel tail hair. I use red or gray Siberian Squirrel. the hair is longer, softer and more curled than most squirrel seen.
Head Color of thread
  1. Dub the front third of the hook to a small eliptical body. Mostly ment to support the wing.
  2. Tie in a few peacock herl almost double hook length.
  3. Remove underfur from a tuft of squirrel tail hair.
  4. Tie in wing on top of herl. The wing most be almost double hook length.
  5. Cut the surplus and form a head.

The squirrel can be tricky. I usually catch the material in a loop of thread over the hook before passing the thread under the hook. In this
manner the hair is kept together in a neat bundle and will sit on top of the hook shank. Also I varnish the hair when I have trimmed the butts -
before adding the finishing wraps and making the head. After finishing the fly I varnish it as I usually would.


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