I have heard it said that many flies are designed more for catching fishermen than fish. This may have some element of truth in it, especially those flies tied commercially and offered for sale in fly shops. My wife and I yesterday made the pilgrimage to the Pleasant Mountain, seeking spiritual comfort. Expressed in more practical terms, we drove to Mt. Pleasant, the northerly suburb of Charleston. The Holy City, as it is known, is special to me, as it is the place of my birth, my natal stream, so to speak. Our trip was in some strange way, a little like the salmon that return to the place of their birth to bring forth new life. We were there to visit the new life with which my daughter blessed the world about a month ago- Miss Presley. She was born possessing the uncanny ability to capture my heart like nothing else, not even fly fishing. Of course, my wife might point out that she shares that capacity, as do my two daughters. True enough, but there is something so very special about this little girl, as the French say, a certain je ne c’est quoi, that captivates me.
After quenching my thrist to hold and adore Miss Presley, and lay before her the gifts we had carried from our distant homeland, I managed to tear myself away from her long enough to visit a new fly fishing establishment on Coleman Boulevard in Mt. Pleasant. It is known as the Low Country Fly Shop, and is brand new. I discovered its existence after watching Andy Mill do battle with a fearsomely large shark using an English fly rod from the House of Hardy. So impressed was I by its startling brute strength and refusal to break despite the most extreme flexing and bending this author has yet witnessed, that I sought out the Hardy web site and acquainted myself with this magnificent fishing tool. I noted that their representative in the Low Country was coincidentally, the Low Country Fly Shop. The store visit made a nice sidebar on my pilgrimage.
Despite the fact that I have spent a large portion of my life in the Charleston area, I ,nonetheless,had a small amount of difficulty locating the shop. As is true for many men, I tend to eschew directions and live by that manly credo “Instructions are for cowards and other lesser men”. So, I declined the use of that amazing modern convenience called the GPS, and searched electronically unaided. After ten, or was it fifteen ,minutes, I triumphantly found my destination, and exited the Tahoe, leaving in it my wife, daughter, and Miss Presley.
Upon entering Low Country Fly Shop, I was fascinated as I always am by new fishing stores and the promise they hold of discovering some phenomenal new piece of equipment or fly. Almost hidden away in a back room, lay the rod display rack, adorned with piscatorial instruments hewn from precious materials such as boron, graphite and Sintrix (doesn’t all sin trick the sinner?). To one side of the room was an obviously new aquarium, devoid of fish and likely not yet completely cycled, and an inviting couch facing an ample flat screen, no doubt loaded with an endless supply of fishing videos. It was like I had entered the Holy of Holies, yet no priest had accompanied me to this sacred space. Uable to resist temptation, I hoisted a House of Hardy Pro Axis rod and was shocked by its lightness. How could it be that such a reed-like wisp of a rod could bring to hand a heavy punching opponent like a large shark, even when wielded by a master such as Andy Mill? Maybe this really was a holy spot, a place of miracles. I glanced at the tag hanging from the handle and suddenly it was obvious that it would indeed take divine intervention for me to take possession of this rod, as it sported a price of $800!! I very carefully and reverantly replaced the rod, immediately dismissing the idea of asking the clerk for a demo cast.
I searched the bins for a magic fly for my upcoming trip to the Bahamas, where I plan to pursue my all time favorite quarry, albula vulpes, the white fox, or bonefish. I rummaged through the bins and behold! There it was- a smallish shrimp pattern tied on a size 6 hook. What makes it special is the use of a realtively new tying material known as Clear Cure Goo. This material can used much like epoxy, but it is easier to use by far. It is available in various viscosities, and it’s most interesting feature is that it is cured by a special UV light that converts this gooey stuff to a hard polished finish in mere seconds!
This particular shrimp pattern clearly had hooked me, so I purchased one to use as a pattern for mass production for my future bonefishing excursions. I suspect that it will also work for other shrimp eating species, perhaps even that ubiquitous Lowcountry target, the redfish.
Included at the top of the post is a photo of the fly and here is a simple recipe for tying it. If I get industrious, I may even attempt to do a step by step photo instruction set and post it here in a few days. But for now, here are the steps for this simple pattern:
1- Hook of your choice- I like the Mustad size 6 stainless steel. I think the designation is 34007.
2- Pink thread wrapped to the bend
3-attach two tiny slender hackle feathers- ginger or grizzly, taking acre that they separate outwards away from each other
4- add small plastic eyes, black
5-add small clump of Antron or EP fibers, tan to the hook, overhanging away from the hook eye
5- Add a few strands of crytal flash. I have a tendency to over-do this step myself -subtle is probably better than garish on the saltwater flats.
6- Optional mono weed guard. I use a simple loop style
7- add Clear Cure Goo along top of shank incrementally and cure after each bit is added to slowly build up body to suit your preference.
Now that your fly is complete. make your own pilgrimage to some hallowed fishing destination and cast forth your creation upon the waters there. God knows what may end up on your line!!