Shrimp patterns are ideal when a fast-sinking fly is needed. The curved shape means that plenty of weight can be packed under the body without making it look excessively bulky.
In their normal state, freshwater shrimps vary in colour from grey through to various shades of washed-out olive. However, when tying shrimp patterns, there are other, less subtle, colours which work well too. Orange can be very effective, possibly because it suggests the shrimp’s mating colours while the pink variation of this pattern is especially deadly for grayling.
Interestingly, the Pink Shrimp works well when the water is still carrying some colour after a flood and also when it is running cold and clear. For such a brightly coloured fly, its effectiveness in clear water conditions might seem contrary to common sense but it can definitely trigger otherwise unresponsive fish into taking.
Various theories have been put forward as to why a seemingly unnatural colour such as pink can be so deadly, one being that it triggers the memory of egg feeding. Whatever the reason, it is a fly that no winter grayling angler should be without.
Any clear, modern plastics can be used for the shell-back. One of the best, though, is good “old fashioned” polythene strip, stretched so that it becomes very clear and allows the body materials to shine through.
Hook Size 10-12 heavyweight wet-fly
Thread Pink Rib Clear monofilament
nylon Body Pink fur Shell-back Clear
1. Form the underbody with touching turns of lead wire.
2. Catch in the pink thread near the eye and bind down the lead underbody.
3. Catch in a length of clear nylon which will be used to rib the polythene shell-back.
4. Gently stretching a strip of polythene rearranges its molecules and makes it much clearer and stronger. The stretched strip should reach halfway down the flanks of the dubbed body.
5. Holding the strip of polythene directly on top of the hook, secure it down with several tight turns of thread.
6. Wax the thread and dub on the pink seal’s fur which will used to form the body.
7. Start to form the body with touching turns of the dubbed thread.
8. Complete the body and remove any unwanted seal’s fur from the thread.
9. Draw the stretched polythene over the dubbed body and, maintaining the tension, secure it with two or three turns of thread.
10. Using tight turns, rib the polythene into equal segments.
11. Trim away the waste polythene.
12. Form a small head and cast off the pink thread with a whip finish. Pick out the seal’s fur underneath the body to imitate the legs.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
This pattern will catch fish on most rivers, particularly those containing grayling. Where fish haven’t seen the Pink Shrimp before, it can be absolutely deadly.
W H E N
The Pink Shrimp is basically a winter pattern and is most effective in the water temperatures found from late autumn through until spring.
H O W
Heavily weighted, the Pink Shrimp is normally fished deaddrift, cast upstream of a likely looking spot and allowed to drift back at the same speed as the current. In clear water its visibility makes it a great fly for targeting specimen grayling where an individual fish can easily be seen taking the pattern.
T Y I N G T I P
When dubbing on the body, spin the fur tightly onto the thread. This means that the body has the correct amount of bulk while there is enough material to pick out under the hook to suggest legs.