The Stokoe Shrimp
Sometimes in fishing we come across a fly or a lure which totally changes our season and the way we fish, or even think. It may be by mistake or even by our own hard work, but either way when it happens it’s life changing.
Personally I’m the type of angler who tries to make things happen and I’m always on the hunt for new fly patterns, materials and ideas to test but it’s not always just the future we need to look at, it also pays to look back. So one evening sitting at the vice and looking for inspiration I decided to look through some old knackered fly boxes that were laying about under the stairs, where the lasting remains of previously used flies live, and while I unfortunately found nothing but bare hooks it got me thinking about a monstrosity of a fly I used to tie when I first started my life sentence of salmon fishing, and some how it used to catch fish.
The idea behind the fly is in some eyes pretty simple and revolves around the different materials used, and more specifically the colour change between them which, when in the water, looks mesmerising. Well to me it does but you might say I’m easily pleased!
It all starts with using hot orange thread down to the bend of the treble, then you’re ready to tie in the tail section which, and to some people this may sound strange, is the centre section of an orange buck tail. This centre section isn’t orange due to it naturally being the dark part of the tail but when dyed it actually goes a really dark brown/maroon colour. Now the reason for using buck tail is that it’s really rigid and holds it’s shape, and that allows it to replicate a shrimp/prawn’s feelers or antenna and I actually like the colour, it works really well with the others on the finished product.
I then tie in a strip of holographic copper tinsel with a strand of silver wire – I always varnish the hook before laying the copper tinsel just to give that extra bit of security. Then once tied off I rib the body with the silver wire (from AMC Fly Tying), then secure at the eye.
The third part is to get a section of ginger shadow fox tail (from Foxy Tails), that I measure so that it matches the length of the tip of the tail, and tie in just behind the eye. Now this material acts totally different in and out the water compared to the buck tail, as it actually pulsates and moves freely in the water and has a mind of it’s own which works really well when you move and work the fly.
The last section and the finishing touch is to use the tip of a feather from an orange cock cape, to use as a hackle which after about 3 turns should be enough obviously depending on the size of the fly. I personally like to make them stand out and be prominent, so tie it off then slightly brush it back and hold with a few turns of thread just to allow more movement when worked through the water, so it pulsates. Building the head up with more turns of hot orange thread gives the front of the fly a bit more bulk, which seems to balance the fly out well.
I am by far no where near the best at tying flies and can happily say I’m still at a novice level, but sometimes the fly catches the fisherman and not the fish and I feel like what I’ve put together – the materials which individually work differently but also as one, and the merging colours that are subtle and also bright – is doing me proud! It’s catching me more fish than ever before, even when following people through a run or pool using all manner of flies it still seems to come out top, and I’m happy to share it with you as the next best thing for me is seeing others catch fish….!
Tight lines guys.