For a decade when I began salt fly fishing, tried at my vise to imitate the action of a kicking shrimp. Aside from grabbing shrimp in the bait bucket, the idea came from fishing this Stazo rig on a bait rod.
A shrimp kicks with its tail, and slowly glides down, swimming with its legs.
The action of stripping a fly line naturally imitates the shrimp kick, but most fly patterns out there look like photos of static shrimp.
Some of my early attempts caught fish, but when I saw Ally’s shrimp salmon fly, its use of pheasant crest for shrimp tail, rooster hackle for shape, and soft hackle for shell, everything clicked.
Instead of the symmetric salmon fly, I keeled my fly with bead chain, and put the two pheasant crest feathers on the same side of the hook.
The result is probably the silliest-looking fly ever, but with incredible kicking shrimp action. It works for generic crustacean thingy, and probably just as well for baitfish – it floats down like a spoon and is as crabby as it is shrimpy – again, I built this fly for action after a decade of trying different ideas for kicking shrimp.
The bead chain also clicks and whistles on the strip.
My kicking shrimp has become my go-to fly in the salt, and has caught everything from sheepshead on the flats to king mackerel in jetty blackwater.
Second cast of the morning to jumping shrimp in the back of Allyn’s lake – first cast was a larger spec that tore the hook out on her second run.
it looks even stranger in the vise, but here’s the recipe
Size 6 salt hook standard length (Tiemco 811S), shrimpy thread
Tail (shrimp antennae) twice the hook length – a few strands of krystal flash (pink is good) followed by a little bucktail
Eyes are pair of medium stainless bead-chain tied with figure 8 wraps on the outside of the hook
The body of the fly and the shrimp legs is a palmered rooster hackle (I have a barred ginger rooster cape)
Wing, the shrimp’s tail, is a pair of stacked pheasant crest feathers
Collar is pheasant rump soft hackle – nothing looks more like shell in the water and it contains beautiful iridescent blue, red and green
Pheasant tail fibers have been used for trout flies forever, and fly shops used to give away the patch of pheasant rump that came along with the long tail feathers. Also, the whole pheasant skin without the long tail feathers, used to be available very cheaply, about $3. But now that people have figured out the large soft hackle has many uses, cost of a pheasant skin with crest is about $14.
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