Swedish version


Linda's Shrimp
By Bob Kenly

Linda's Scottish Shrimp: The finished product.
Linda's Scottish Shrimp: The finished product.

  You remember Linda, the lady from Soldotna, Alaska who fished one of my flies that would only catch Sculpins, an act that I would never live down. Our first fly together was a shrimp pattern for the Anchor River on the Lower Kenai Peninsula. Linda told me that when the tide comes into the Anchor, during the evening, the sea run Dolly Vardin will migrate into the river to eat small shrimp which also follow the tide to brackish water. Dollies have lots of sharp teeth and shred flies with regularity so her idea was a bomb proof fly that imitated these small crustaceans. Another factor she was looking for was translucency in the pattern, which just added to my problem of what to tie for her.

  For the teeth problem my answer would of course be epoxy which I felt would solve that problem but the translucency problem was something else. I tried an all epoxy shrimp but getting the shrimp shape proved to be somewhat difficult and by adding color to the epoxy just didn't have what I considered the desired result. The solution I came up with after several prototypes which all ended in the trash can was a body made with lead wire to get the basic body shape. I planned to cover the lead with flat thread to establish the color but first to prevent the thread from going between the lead windings I covered the lead with silver tinsel. Then I covered the tinsel with flat waxed thread but left a few gaps in the windings so the tinsel would show through. To imitate the segments of the body I wound very fine tinsel over the thread. After I covered the body with epoxy and dried it overnight I was surprised to find that due to the tinsel showing through the thread the body looked translucent just as Linda asked. After receiving this prototype Linda made an overnight trip to the Anchor arriving in time for the evening tide, both of us were surprised just how well the fly worked, she was ecstatic over the fact that for once in her life she outfished the Anchor "regulars" (not an easy task by any means) and she cold rub their noses in it with her new found expertise.

Early small size shrimp

  Since that fateful outing Linda's Shrimp has gone through many changes but I still tie the body the same way, the eyes however have gone from a painted eye on the body to a more shrimp like eye on stalks. The original fly was an orange color but since then for Alaska and Russia I've made this fly in hot pink, fluorescent orange, green, chartreuse and purple. For my European crossover flies I used red, orange/black, black/silver or even when my fisherman is really brave, black with glow in the dark thread for the ribbing (for the hardy souls who brave the elements for night fishing).

Linda's Shrimp, by Bob Kenly
Linda's Shrimp with painted eyes

  I have been chided by some of my fellow European tiers for my unorthodox tying methods especially where my shrimp patterns are concerned. One area that especially seems to cause concern is my habit of tying the hook keeper on to the body, with shrimp patterns I like to make that area where I attach the feelers, even in non shrimp patterns I've always practiced this. For me its strictly a matter of aesthetics, I just like the overall look. The shell of a shrimp has caused me problems in the past being too fragile to stand up to salmon teeth. another problem is the weight which sometimes causes the shrimp to swim upside down when very light single or treble hooks are used. I went from a shell to what I call a topping to simulate a shell. I usually use a stiff hair, preferably Yak for its translucency and availability plus it tends to be somewhat buoyant and helps the fly to swim upright, an effect that seems to make fishermen happy even though shrimp often swim at odd angles for no apparent reason.

  On Yuri Shumakov's first trip to Kamchatka I supplied him with several shrimp to play around with if he chose to do so. Yuri was dead set against fishing with other people's flies but just to appease me he did so and found them to work as advertised. After he received the set I sent he told me that the pattern was somewhat reflective of the Mörrum style of tying, being American I was totally ignorant of that fact but later as he instructed in the complexities of the Mörrum tube I could see where he got that impression.

  Tying Linda's Shrimp:

Tube: Plastic, about 1-1/2 inches long (my personal choice is HMH 3/32 dia, they also make a 1/16 dia which I use for a smaller version)
Thread: Flat waxed, any color of choice, 6/0 or 8/0 depending on what you have
Feelers: I prefer Yak hair but Polar bear is also a good choice if legal in your country
Flash: Two pieces of Krystal Flash
Eyes: Epoxy eyes on mono or you can paint eyes on the connector, both seem to work equally well
Body bulking material: I use lead wire but for a lighter fly I've used butcher's twine
Ribbing: Fine tinsel
Legs: Long webby hackle
Topping: Yak hair
Cone head: 7/32 brass, if using a 1/16 inch dia tube a 5/32 cone will suffice
Epoxy: I prefer Devcon, both 5-minute (fast drying) and 2-Ton (long drying).

  Making Eyes:
  I take a piece of mono and burn a small knot at one end. Slip on a glass seed bead and cover with fast drying epoxy to cover the bead and let dry. I then dip the eye in acrylic artists color and let dry, the eye is then covered with another coat of epoxy and dried. I generally will spend a whole tying session just making eyes and storing them for later use, rather then making just single eyes I find it more convenient to take a short (3 or 4 inches) piece of mono and make an eye on each end.

Tying steps

Using colored thread tie on the feelers directly on top of the tube connector (or hook keeper as its sometimes called)

Set in the eyes

Wind some lead wire on the tube and with some fast drying epoxy fill in the gaps and build a short ramp so the tinsel will lay on top of the wire.

Tie in some wide silver tinsel and wind forward
and aft to cover the lead wire.

With the colored thread cover the tinsel but don't worry about the gaps showing tinsel in places, in fact that’s the look I try for. Neatness doesn't count here. Tie in a piece of fine tinsel where the body meets the head and wind towards the back of the body, this simulates the segments. Tie off and trim excess.

The body is covered with long drying epoxy
and placed on a turner to dry.

After the body is dried and cured (Usually over night) the hackle is wound on wet fly style

The topping is tied on

After the topping is trimmed a cone is slid on the tube and glued in place with quick drying epoxy

The tube is trimmed and a knot burned on the tube to further anchor the cone in place.

Linda's Scottish Shrimp: The finished product.
Linda's Scottish Shrimp: The finished product.


  I fully realize epoxy aren't exactly everyone's cup of tea but over the past 15 years or so I've made it my trade mark when it comes to tying on tubes. In fact, I find it the perfect medium for my style of tying, always meddling with tradition to see if I could improve any design with my fascination of this medium. The overall design of Linda's shrimp is nothing new under the Sun, just my approach is different.

  Although I would dearly love to report it was some innate brilliance on my part letting the tinsel show through the thread windings to give the appearance of translucency, the whole thing was just another mega accident. The idea of making solid object appear to disappear has been the subject of long research especially for military applications, sort of a "smoke and mirrors" approach to warfare.

  Originally I designed Linda's Shrimp for Alaska with Kamchatka in mind however its been adopted by some fishermen in Europe for salmon and Sea trout. Since this example is posted in a Swedish site I chose red as an example but color or color combinations is strictly a matter of choice.

By Bob Kenly 2007 ©
Bob's website




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