Long-tailed Shrimps

Why these ag­ile pat­terns could make the difference this au­tumn

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - CONTENTS - STUART FOX­ALL ’S

Stuart Fox­all's pick for au­tumn sal­mon

AF­TER A LONG HOT sum­mer, we can look for­ward to greater rain­fall, re­fresh­ing the rivers and en­tic­ing late-sum­mer sal­mon to leave the es­tu­ary with the first of the back-end run. These fresh fish can ag­i­tate sal­mon that may have held a prime lie in a pool for weeks or months, who’ll now con­tinue their jour­ney to spawn in trib­u­taries up­stream or be­come grumpy and de­fen­sive, show­ing their strength and see­ing off ri­vals. Both sce­nar­ios give us a chance to catch a fish while the con­di­tions are in our favour. Sal­mon are slightly more ac­tive in cooler wa­ter and this means we can use a slightly longer fly to search for freshrun or more ag­gres­sive fish. Long-tailed Shrimps are prob­a­bly the best-known and most pop­u­lar sal­mon flies of the last few decades. Their de­sign works in ev­ery sce­nario – from fast pool-necks to slow, deep dubs – so you can ex­plore a longer stretch of river with­out chang­ing and se­cond-guess­ing your choice of fly. In au­tumn, my favourite way of fish­ing them is to use a float­ing line with a sink­ing polyleader or tip. Sink rate is de­ter­mined by flow. The faster the wa­ter, the faster the sink rate (Int, S1, S2 etc) – but don’t go too heavy. Fish will be slightly hap­pier in the cooler wa­ter and move fur­ther to take a fly. It also pays to fish the fly faster. The float­ing line will help you to con­trol speed by mak­ing mini mends. Lit­tle strips and han­dlin­ing also make the flies look alive. There are many styles of long-tailed Shrimp, but most have slen­der, mo­bile tails that wrig­gle in weak cur­rents while keep­ing the fly sta­ble and cock head hack­les that kick and pulse in fast wa­ter. The choice of hackle is im­por­tant. Many com­mer­cially tied flies use hen hack­les be­cause they are eas­ier to wrap, but the stiff­ness of cock fi­bres and the trans­parency they cre­ate are im­por­tant to a fly’s suc­cess. Viewed from be­low, the fly should have a teardrop pro­file.

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