Fly tying is the art of using natural and synthetic materials to make a near weighless lure for fishing. The art of fly fishing and fly tying are ancient. And today Dustin Schouest is going to show us how he ties one of his personal favorite flies: the Doomed Shrimp
One of the most important things a fly fisherman can do is understand what his quarry is eating. In the marsh, it is usually one of three things: fiddler/small blue crabs, minnows/shiners/mullet, and shrimp. Fly tyers work tireless hours slaving over vices and books and the Youtubes trying to come up with new and intricate patterns, all with the hopes that the fish they are chasing will look at the fly they made and say “That sure looks yummy!”
In my neck of the woods, the primary forage of redfish are small baitfsh and shrimp. Crabs can be a hot ticket in winter/late fall when the white shrimp move out of our waters, but with spring kicking down winter’s door and throwing in a 90 degree flashbang, the shrimp are starting to show already. After weeks of watching big reds busting on mullet and shrimp, I came up with a streamer pattern that can pass for either or: the Doomed Shrimp.
Based on both the kwan and redfish crack flies, this buggy little sucker is designed to sink down and swim like a wounded baitfish. It can also swim very well when pulled quickly, enticing reactionary strikes. This fly has worked on both redfish and sheepshead alike, so don’t be afraid to throw it at anything that has a tail dancing above the surface of the water!
Fly Tying Materials/Tools:
*Size 2 to 6 hook (sometimes the smaller size and profile gets bit more often)
*Black to Gray Thread (preferably of moderate thickness)
*Your Trusty Bobbin
*Small to Medium Dumbbell Eyes
*EP Fibers or Another Synthetic Hair In A Light Color
*Gold or Silver Crystal Flash
*Medium Size Saddle Hackle, Color Matching The Zonkers
*Zonker Strip Of A Darkish Color (you can combine two different color hairs for cooler effects)
*A Dubbing Brush Or A Tooth Brush (do not use it for your teeth afterwards)
*Head Cement Or Super Glue
*Permanent Black Marker
- After smashing the barb, place the hook in your vice hook point down. Smashing the barb will make hook removal tons easier than if you leave it in. If you prefer catch and release, this is recommended for every fly, even ones for big brute redfish.
- Start your thread at the hook eye, and go back about a hook eye length from the end.
- Tie in your dumbbell eyes where you started your thread. Putting the eyes too close to the end of the hook can crowd the hook eye and make it hard to pass thicker tippet materials thru. Bring your thread to the start of the hook bend.
- Take about a pencil’s thickness of your fibers. Taper one end of it to have a pointed tip; this will be the tail. I like to make my tail about one and a quarter times the length of the tail. Tie it in where you stopped the thread.
- Grab two to three strands of flash, then double them over. Cut the doubled over part to create six to eight strands of equal length. Tie them in on the left side of the fly, with the tips matching the length of the tail.
- Take the other end of the flash you tied in and either cross it over or under the fly, then fold them back toward the tail, making sure to wrap the thread towards the rear, securing the flash on both sides of the fly.
- Take a piece of saddle hackle and pull away the webby/marabou like bottom parts. You want one that is roughly five inches in length, as you are making a collar that will require multiple wraps. Tie in the hackle and bring your thread about half an inch forward. Begin to wrap the hackle forward, making sure to pull back the fibers as you wrap the feather: this will ensure they do not get wrapped up together, and the fibers will be angled. Capture the feather with your thread, trim it off, and wrap backwards onto the feathers just a bit. This will keep it angled and secure.
- Make a dubbing loop. You can do this by splitting your thread (if it is a thick enough thread) with your bobkin, or you can pull a length of thread around your finger, making a giant U, and wrap the thread back onto itself. Take your dubbing wax and put a thin coat on the thread: this will keep your materials in place as you put them in.
- Take your Zonker/s and begin to cut small pieces off of the skin. If you are using two separate colors of Zonker fur you can mix and match as you cut. Place the fur you cut off inside your dubbing loop. Do this until you have about a three inch long length of fibers going down the length of your loop.
- Using a dubbing twister, begin to spin this material right round baby right round. You are going to want to spin the loop until the materials begin to spin around. The Zonker fur should be spinning 360 degrees before you stop.
- Palmer the material around the hook just as you did with the saddle hackle, making sure to pull the materials back towards the rear. Wrap up to the dumbbell eyes, then capture the remaining thread, and snip off the excess. Cover up any remaining excess that your sciscors couldn’t reach.
- Wrap the thread back to the eye of the hook, and perform two whip finishes, or half hitches if you cannot do a whip finish. Apply some kind of head cement or super glue to secure everything together on the fly.
- Make a few bars along the length of the tail with the marker. This will really cement the fly as a shrimp imitation, as most white shrimp have visible segments on their body.
That will finish the Doomed Shrimp! This pattern is very effective when sight casting redfish grubbing along the bottom or sheepshead tailing on the flats. Just make sure not to hit them in the head with the fly, and you should be just fine!
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