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Fly Tying the Grass Shrimp

Updated on December 25, 2015
Photo from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Photo from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources

Grass Shrimp - What Are They?

Grass shrimp are common shrimp found in the southeastern United States. They inhabit fresh to brackish water. They are found in shallow water amongst submerged vegetation. They grow to a maximum of two inches and are translucent to white to light brown in color. They are popular with bait fishers fishing for bluegill and specks. They are easily collected with a tight-webbed landing net.

The grass shrimp as a wet fly.
The grass shrimp as a wet fly.

Tying the Fly

This is a wet fly that simulates the live shrimp with black bead chain eyes and a trimmed, palmered hackle feather for legs. The body is white, wool yarn, but to simulate the translucence of the shrimp, strands of pearl flash are wrapped around the wool body. When experimenting with the fly, I initially gave the shrimp a tail, but found it interfering with tying the fly to the tippet. Upon closer examination of live grass shrimp, I determined that the tail was pretty translucent and dropped it all together. The attached video goes into detail on how to tie the fly.

Fishing the Grass Shrimp

I wish I could tell you that I have as much success with this fly as bait fishers do, but I do not. Most bait fishers fish live shrimp off a bobber a few feet in depth with split shot and close to vegetation. They have great results. I wish I could say the same. Initially I tried fishing it with a sinking line and found the fly getting tangled in vegetation too frequently. Next I tried weight forward, floating line. I have caught fish with it, but with limited success. It seems tying a loop to the fly and retrieving with several short, frequent strips yielded the best results. Other fly fishers must have more success with it than I do. I have repeat customers that frequently order it. Side note - the bead chain eyes will flip the fly upside down, which may suggest a distressed shrimp.


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    • Glen Kowalski profile image

      Glen Kowalski 3 years ago

      If you could make one of these about 5 inches long I would be willing to try it out for speckled trout/redfish. I'm not a fly fisherman, but I could see this working under a weighted popping cork. Throw it out, pop the cork once or twice and wait. Nothing happening, slowly retrieve it a few feet then pop the cork again.