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Fly Recipes Fly Tying

Fly Tying: Assassin Shrimp

by Alan Caolo   |  July 24th, 2013 0
Assassin Shrimp

Sand shrimp and grass shrimp are abundant in Northeast inshore waters, beginning in late spring and lasting through the summer. When the shrimp spawn in the weeks surrounding the summer solstice, striped bass and other gamefish can become fixated on them.

Striped bass subsist on a wide array of forage. By weight, they consume baitfish more than any other food source, and fly fishers take the majority of their fish on various types of baitfish imitations. But stripers can be acutely selective, and they routinely defy anglers who exclusively fish baitfish flies. This is particularly true on the flats, where stripers turn their focus to crabs, juvenile flounder, and shrimp, perhaps 60 to 70 percent of the time. Based on numbers of prey consumed, shrimp are most important for inshore-feeding bass, especially during the warmer months of the season—anglers equipped with a good shrimp pattern are prepared for these picky fish.

Shrimp are arguably the single most important forage species for all inshore gamefish. Species such as tarpon, bonefish, striped bass, permit, redfish, seatrout, and squeteague are all prized by saltwater anglers, and they all feed on shrimp.

Not surprisingly, there have been several well-designed shrimp patterns developed by notable tiers and guides, including Chico Fernandez, Jack Gartside, Bob Popovics, Capt. Nat Ragland, and others.

Most shrimp flies, however, are designed to be fished near the surface, riding with the hook point down. Notable exceptions are the Clouser Minnow (when tied in shrimplike colors), Peterson’s Spawning Shrimp, and the Gotcha—all weighted patterns designed to ride deeper, and with the hook point up.

The Assassin Shrimp is an addition to the genre of weighted shrimp flies. It’s quick to assemble at the vise—with five simple steps, it’s a lightly weighted, versatile shrimp fly that has proven highly effective for striped bass in the spring and summer, particularly in shallow inshore waters, such as estuaries, bays, and salt ponds. But this pattern has great potential with other popular gamefish, notably northern weakfish (squeteague) and spotted seatrout throughout the Southeast and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Continued after gallery…


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