There are a million bonefish flies out there, like the incredibly effective Hot Legs Gotcha, so does the world need yet another? Not only are there tons of bonefish flies in general but they’re mostly designed to look like a shrimp, so there all basically in the pattern of a shrimp fly. The world will probably survive without another shrimp fly, but I offer my creation nonetheless. I want a big shrimp fly for those big bonefish on Andros. That’s why this pattern is as big as it is. You need a lot of butter for a shrimp this big, and that’s why it’s called the GB shrimp (Got Butter). The fly represents my orientation towards the notion that presentation is king, so most aspects of the fly have a specific purpose. So what characteristics does the perfect shrimp fly have?
The perfect shrimp fly should have a wing material that slips right over the hook, i.e., a wing that doesn’t stick together and impede hook penetration or tangle with other materials. Also, the wing needs to have movement but maintain profile. Arctic fox is superb for this but not just any Arctic fox. I use the body hair and tie it down in multiple clumps to maintain profile and yet have the soft lifelike fibers I like.
A shrimp fly should have a hook that is sticky and penetrates if the bonefish so much as sneezes. It needs to be strong enough to handle double-digit bonefish, so you have a balance of thin yet strong wire. A #1/0 811s is pretty good and the Daichi X452 is super as well. Both of these hooks have a nice length for that shrimp profile.
The remainder of the fly really comes down to personal choice or belief. This fly has mono eyes and a nice clump of movable materials where the shrimp’s head would be. Perhaps the undulation of the shrimp head is something bonefish key on. Could be? I add a little bit of color with the egg sack and a little flash for attraction, yet not so much that it might spook fish that have seen a fly or two. Add to this a nice set of eyes, whose weight is right between most lead eyes and a 5/32 bead chain set of eyes. The I-Balz eyes also have a really wide base to support the fly. When it’s all said and done, we let the bonefish decide if the shrimp fly passes the test.
- Hook: Tiemco 811s #1/0 (#1/0 – #2) or Daiichi X452 (#1/0 – #6)
- Thread: Danville’s Flat Waxed Nylon (fl. pink, 210 denier) or UTC 140 (fl. shell pink)
- Weight: Spirit River I-Balz (3/16) use whatever weight you like for various conditions. Plated lead eyes are a much cheaper option (1/40 and 1/30).
- Egg Sack: McFly Foam (Orange) or Globug yarn
- Eyes: Monofilament eyes (make yourself) or Enrico Puglisi Crab and Shrimp Eyes
- Tail Section 1: Rabbit fur (light brown, ginger etc.)
- Tail Section 2: Marabou (tan)
- Rubber Legs: Hareline Loco Legs (sand)
- Body: Hareline Cactus Chenille (medium bonefish tan)
- Wing: 2 pieces of Arctic fox body hair (tan)
- Glue: Zap-a-Gap (brushable)