Zen Fly Fishing: Zen Shrimp

By: Glenn Yoshimoto

Date: July 2, 2005

Surf Miki 3

Derivation: Its form is similar to other shrimp patterns that exist. I picked effective surfperch attractor colors using very durable, brightly-colored synthetic materials. It is a nice looking, simple and effective fly. I was motivated to tie a red shrimp based on a fly that Perry Wong tied, his little red shrimp - it reminded me that red is an effective color.

Hook: Tiemco 3761 sizes 8 (1X long and 2X strong). This hook is extremely sharp out of the box, has a small barb and has superior hookup rate. The freshwater-bronzed hook holds up well if you rinse with fresh water and dry after fishing. I'm using a smaller hook sizes for a fly that gives you more action but still big enough to get larger Surfperch. You can try sizes 10 and 6 if you like.

Antennae/Head/Carapace/Back/Tail Material Tie-In: Use 15 to 20 strands of Doug's Bugs Krystal Flash in Hot Orange, 20 to 30 strands of Doug's Bugs Super Hair in Red and Hareline Dubbin Scud Back, 1/4", Orange. Start by tying Red Danville's Flat Waxed Nylon just beyond the bend of the hook. Hold the bundle of Krystal Flash to the hook with 1.25X "hook-length of it" extending at an angle to the hook shank. Tie in the Krystal Flash (with several turns of thread). Tie in the Red Super Hair the same way. Spread and pull up while tying so that they form their respective layers. Trim the end of a length of the 1/4" Scud Back so that it forms a diamond at the end covering the antennae. Tie it in with several turns of Red thread. You can use more or less hair for a fuller of sparser fly. (After finishing the fly, taper the antennae by trimming with scissors.) The Scud Back is a soft tape material that is used to form the Carapace/Back/Tail covering. It feels like food and has a nice orange metallic translucency that shows the red hair beneath it.

Body: Use Doug's Bugs Estaz in Pearl/Orange. It provides a bright orange/pearl mixture with medium long fibers that look like shrimp legs/roe. Tie in the chenille and build a base of thread over the shank of the hook. Coat with Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails to lock in the chenille fibers. Work to within 3/16-inch of the hook eye and tie off temporary with a a single whip finish. Wind the Estaz back from the head (while holding the layered materials out of the way). The Estaz should be dense to start and sparser towards the hook eye. Tie it off. Rub it to straighten the chenille fibers.

Head/Carapace/Back/Tail Layering and Tie-Off: Pull the Krystal Flash over the body chenille and tie it using several turns of thread. Next do the same with the Super Hair. Then tie in the Scud Back. The Scud Back should form the carapace/back/tail covering for the shrimp. It has a nice translucent effect and makes the Zen Shrimp feel like it is eatable. Pull the layered materials up and keep it upwards (and fanned out) using red thread taper the body to the hook eye. Finally, cut the layered materials to form the tail but don't put too much tension on the Scud Back tape while cutting or it will be cut too short.

Final Touches: After finishing the fly, taper the antennae by trimming with scissors and coat the thread-wrap at the head, tail and hook eye with Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails. Also, trim the body chenille so that it is full-length next to the head and tapered to the hook-eye.

Variations: You could add several turns of lead before wrapping the Krystal Chenille body to make a denser/heavier fly for rougher water. Also, you could add eyes made from Black Amnesia mono on the head-end. Ball the cut end using a flame and you get a nice black buggy eye. Eyes might be more for the fisherman than the fish in this case. I usually feel that eyes are really important but these are so small and we are dealting with surfzone conditions.

Application: I have been using the Zen Shrimp on dropper with the Surf Miki 3 on point. Sometimes it gets 50% of the fish and usually gets 25%, even though it is in drop position. I like using this combination. I'll try it on point in the future.

Note: You can see a Zen Shrimp sample at Ernie’s Casting Pond in Soquel, CA. Just ask to see it. Ernie should have all of the materials in stock soon.

Questions or Comments Contact: Glenn Yoshimoto
Los Gatos, California

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Last Revised: July 3, 2005
First Published: July 2, 2005

This page © Copyright June 2005, Glenn Yoshimoto