One of the most effective patterns in saltwater fly fishing is the Gotcha Shrimp, known to be deadly at catching everything in skinny water from bonefish in the Bahamas to striped bass in New England. The newest variation of the famed pattern though, featured in Postfly’s June Saltwater Fly Tying box, is created using Flymen Fishing Company’s Fish-Skull Shrimp & Cray Tail and may be even more effective than the standard pattern.
Traditionally a Gotcha Shrimp pattern is tied with bead chain eyes. There’s nothing wrong with bead chain eyes, or dumbbell weights, except that they don’t add any aesthetic to the pattern, merely the weight need to make the fly sink to the bottom and ride hook-up. When Martin Bawden designed the new version of the fly, he created a mold for a stainless steel weight that mimics the tail of a crustacean, perfect for patterns that imitate a shrimp or a crawfish.
“The objective was to create a more anatomically correct weighted shrimp and crayfish tail available in some basic colors that would blend well with the typical white, tan, sandy, or brown body colors of the pattern,” said Bawden. “Doing so would allow fly tyers to create more realistic and more finished-looking flies.”
The new tail also makes it much easier for tiers to secure the weight to the hook. Rather than trying to criss-cross their thread over and around the beads, now anglers can tie on the Fish-Skull Shrimp & Cray Tail the same way they’d tie on any hair or material, directly underneath the hook shank. “We created a quicker, easier, and stronger method for tying on the tail,” said Bawden. “Tied in roughly the same position as a bead chain, the Shrimp & Cray Tail acts as a weighted keel that keeps the hook point riding upward.”
Shrimp Tail Gotcha Fly Materials
Hook: Saltwater size #2 or #4
Tail: Fish-Skull Shrimp & Cray Tail, gold, medium
Underbody: Flashabou, silver
Body: Craft fur, tan or sand color
Flash: Crystal flash
How To Tie The Shrimp Tail Gotcha Fly
Put hook in vise, attach tying thread, and cover the first third of your hook with thread.
Position your Shrimp & Cray Tail on the hook shank; ensuring the rear of the tail doesn’t extend past the eye of the hook, as that may unbalance the fly.
Tie in your Shrimp & Cray Tail and wrap the rest of the hook shank with thread.
Take 15 to 20 strands of Flashabou and tie in a small tag, as shown.
Wrap the Flashabou forward in tight wraps to form a shiny shrimp underbody.
Tie off the Flashabou in front of the Shrimp & Cray Tail.
Rotate your vise and tie in a clump of craft fur that will act as the shrimp’s body.
Tie in two-to-three strands of Crystal Flash on both sides of the shrimp’s body and trim their lengths to extend slightly past the craft fur.
Tie off your fly with neat thread wraps and add head cement to finish the fly.