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Pattern Index

Foam-Back Shrimp

by Glen Mikkleson

Spring is the time for weakfish and one of their favorite foods -- shrimp. This foam-backed pattern neither floats nor sinks rapidly, but hangs in the water column. It can be fished with a slow retrieve, or on a dead drift in the current. It's particularly effective when you hear weakfish are slurping food near the surface. The pattern can be tied in a variety of colors and sizes.



  • Hook: Mustad 34007, Tiemco 911, or similar style
  • Thread: Size A white
  • Body: Sparkle Dubbing and matching Grizzly Hackle (colors optional)
  • Shell: White Craft Foam and either flat pearl Mylar or wrinkled pearl Mylar sold as "Twist."
  • Eyes: Heavy monofilament
  • Short length of light monofilament for ribbing
  • Fine-tip black marking pen
  • Broad tip marking pen (color optional)
  • Black vinyl jig paint
  • 30-Miniute Epoxy


1: Before you start tying, prepare the foam shell and the monofilament eyes.

Cut a piece of craft foam into an elongated fish shape with a short, square, tail. I prefer to use adhesive backed foam, but you can also use regular foam and an epoxy glue. Stick the Mylar to the foam and trim it to shape. When it's unrolled and flattened enough to create a good bond with the foam, the wrinkled Mylar ("Twist") gives the pattern more of a life-like appearance.

If you've already decided on the dubbing color, go ahead and color the Mylar with a matching ink pen. For production tying, create several foam "shells" and color them when they're ready to be tied in.

Create small ball-shaped eyes on a length of stiff monofilament by grazing the tips with a butane or alcohol flame. The mono will melt rapidly, leaving a ball-shaped bulge on the tip. Dip the tips in black vinyl jig paint and set aside to dry.

2: Wrap the entire hook shank, ending at the bend.

3: Tie in the Krystal Flash antennae and feelers -- two long lengths and four short -- at the bend. Color is optional, but keep it life-like.

4: Tie-in the two monofilament "eyes" on each side of the shank.

5: Bring the thread back to the bend, and tie-in a clump of the fluff from the base of the selected Grizzly Hackle on the top of the shank and extending slightly beyond the bend.

6: Tie-in the whole Grizzly Hackle feather at the base, and a length of light monofilament, both protruding forward of the bend.

7: Bring the thread back a few turns and spin on the dubbing as you wrap back to the hook eye. I like to mix two colors of dubbing material, but you can use a single color, too. The trick with dubbing is not to put on too much at once and to spin the thread in the opposite direction after every dubbing application. Alternatively, you may use a sparkle yarn.

8: Palmer the Grizzly Hackle feather to the eye and tie in.

9: Trim the feather and fluff on the top of the shank to create a platform for the foam shell. When you color the shell, make sure to color the sides, as well the underside.

10: Lay a thick bead of a super glue on top of the shank and glue down the foam shell so that the end of the tail meets the end of the hook eye.

11: Take several tight wraps at the base of the tail, and bend the foam up at an oblique angle to the hook eye. Wrap the length of light monofilament back in wide turns to bend the foam around the sides of the pattern and to complete the shell look.

12: Mark lines in the tail and stipple the shell with the fine-tip black pen. Give the top of the sheel a light coat of epoxy, and rotate until set.

Glen Mikkleson's shrimp patterns and others are available in local fly shops, or directly from Glen. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to Atlantic Flies, P.O. Box 368, Manorville, NY 11949, for Glen's 2001 price list of inshore, offshore, and acrylic patterns.
Glen is also a NYS Licensed Guide, and is available for shore trips on Long Island's North Fork, Montauk, on the South Shore from Jones Beach east, and on the North Shore from Sunken Meadow Beach east, as well as casting instruction. Call 631-878-0883 for more information.


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