Byron Fishing at Port St. Joe

The Sand Shrimp came to the market thanks to Ed Story from Feather Craft in St. Louis, Missouri. Ed liked to fish at Port St. Joe, Florida and this was his favorite redfish fly. Ed, who passed away early this year was a very helpful guy and very nice. He knew I was a competitor and told me it was OK to have them tied but not to use the FC in front of the pattern because that stood for Feather Craft. Later I would have a company in Asia tie them for us. I called it the Sand Shrimp.

I started tying my own after talking to Ed. On one trip to Port St. Joe it was the only fly a redfish would take. The water is clear there and this fly works better in clear water. Paula and I were fishing at the point where the bay meets the Gulf of Mexico and we had redfish follow our flies but they would shy away before eating them. I tied on a Sand Shrimp. When a redfish followed the fly I would speed up my retrieve. They would get more interested and move faster toward the fly. Just when they got close I would strip even faster. They slammed it then. We had a great day.

The Sand Shrimp has also worked on other saltwater species. In the photo above I am fighting a big Sheephead at Horseshoe Beach, Florida. Sheephead are hard to catch on a fly. This one saw the Sand Shrimp and swam three feet to eat it. I would not be on the water in the Gulf of Mexico without several of these. I probably have at least 50 tied up right now waiting for their day.

Hook: Standard Saltwater Stainless, TMC 811S or equilivent. Size #1 or 1/0
Thread: Unithread 6/0 Red
Eyes: XLarge Bead Chain Eyes Black
Body: Estaz or similar Chenille - Rootbeer
Markers: Red and Black large Sharpie with wedge tip
Tail: Off White Polar Fiber and Pearl Krystal Flash
Wing: Brown Hareline Craft Fur

Photo Step 1  
Start your thread behind the eye and wrap back at least 1/2" then forward again to a point about 1/4" behind the eye or 1/3 the legnth of the hook shank back from the eye. At this point create a small ball of thread. This will help hold the bead chain eyes in place.
Photo Step 2

Tie in your dubmbell or bead chain eyes. I like to bead chain so the fly is easier to cast but you may want a heavier fly. Figure 8 the thread and wrap hard to keep the eyes in place. You can use epoxy later to secure the eyes.

Photo Step 3

Tie in some Krystal Flash for the tail. I like to use the Pearl color.

Photo Step 4

Tie in some Off White Polar Fiber at the hook bend. Remove the short underfur by holding the clump about midway with one had and pull out the short fibers with the other. It is best to tie in several small clumps.

Photo Step 5

Tie in some Estaz or similar material at the hook bend and wrap your thread forward to just behind the bead chain eyes. The color I'm using here is Rootbeer.

Photo Step 6

Wrap the Estaz forward to the bead chain eyes and secure with the thread. Trim off the excess body material and move the thread to the front of the eyes.

Photo Step 7

At this point I whip finish the thread and cut off. Remove the fly and lay out on some paper to color the tail. Touch the tail with your Sharpie markers then turn over and touch them from the other side.

Photo Step 8  

Place the fly back in your vise and tie in the wing of Hareline Craft Fur. This fur is stiff and tends not to get tangled in the hook. Form a head and whip finish.

Photo Step 9


I use 30-minute epoxy to finish the head and secure the eyes to the hook underneath the fly. If you use 30-minute epoxy you will need to use a turner. 5-minute epoxy will work fine and you won't need the turner. You can also use head cement. You are finished. Go catch some saltwater fish.

Please also check out our main website for daily fishing reports, message board and online catalog.
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter
For Email Marketing you can trust