Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pimp my Shrimp

Last spring I was fishing a coastal inlet close to home and there were large striped bass right in front of me gorging on great blooms of grass shrimp. Somewhat comically, but quite beautifully, the bass actually make a "popping" sound as they hoover the crustaceans from the surface. I'd never heard this before. It was really cool. But we couldn't catch a single fish.

My friend Andrew is a very good fly tier and he made lots of innovative flies that looked for all the world like the bait being consumed. So when I decided to start fly tying recently after 25 years of fly fishing (don't ask, I just don't know why it took me this long), it was because of these shrimp and the sound of the popping stripers.

Andrew has thrown a huge amount of feathers and fur my way, and one bag contained some beautiful feather tips fusing gold, orange and gray. They were from an unidentified game bird shot by his father, I think. They looked shrimpy and today I wound them to a hook together with some grizzly hackle and gold ribbing. I'll see what the bass think in a few short weeks. If they like the fly, Andrew can give it a name.


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