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Tying the Coyote Shrimp
By Joe Dahut

The idea of the Coyote Shrimp hatched from a problem I was having on the water, one that I am not sure I have totally solved. That could be a product of the old saying, “Well, that’s just permit fishing,” but I am getting closer to an answer. I was throwing heavy permit flies at schools of fish in medium-to deep water with heavy current, and was disappointed with how loud and distracting the fly was when it hit the water. In addition to larger crab patterns displacing lots of water on the surface, those same patterns were not as animated underwater as I wanted them to be, especially when the fly dropped or paused. Enter the Coyote Shrimp. This fly has excellent movement when it is not being stripped by the angler, which is pivotal to getting the interest of a permit on the pause, as opposed to the strip. The amount of material used in this fly went through several drafts, and arguably, is still being toyed with.

While the recipe below is for the permit variation, when tied smaller and lighter the Coyote Shrimp is also an excellent bonefish fly. And since this is more of an impressionistic fly, I invite readers to take their own spin on the fly. All materials for this fly can be purchased at sevenmileflyshop.com, and the coyote fur can be purchased at beastbrushes.com

Materials

Hook: Mustand S71, size 1
Thread: Danville 210 denier
Rear legs: Silicone or rubber legs
Tail 1: Coyote fur, guard hairs only
Tail 2: Coyote underfur
Rear eyes: Peter Ellman’s Evil Eye Fly Shrimp Eyes
Body: Ocean Flies Bonefish Dubbing
Front legs: Silicone or rubber legs
Wing: Coyote underfur
Eyes: Small or medium lead barbell eyes

STEP 1: Start with a Mustad S71 size 1. I like this hook because it is very sticky, light, and works great for many other permit flies. In this case, the vise I am using is a Dyna King Trekker.

STEP 2: Using brown or tan Danville’s 210 denier thread, make an even thread base on the shank of the hook to prevent your material from slipping. The thread should stop between the barb and the point of the hook.

STEP 3: Advance your thread and stop two hook-eye lengths away from the eye of the hook. We are leaving some real estate up front to ensure a clean space to add a final piece of fur (step 17). Add a tap of Loctite where you will place the lead eyes for the fly; this adds durability and ensures your fly survives multiple fish.

STEP 4: Using a mixture of X-wraps and circle wraps, secure medium or small lead eyes on the top of the hook shank with a heavy emphasis on making tight wraps. This will prevent movement when fishing the fly.

STEP 5: Using a patch of coyote fur, grab a clump that seems appropriate for what you are trying to accomplish. For this size, which is intended to be thrown in a situation with deep water permit, I trimmed off a piece that, when pressed together, is the diameter of my pinky finger. I do this because in our next step, we will be separating and parsing out short and long hairs. Essentially, some of this clump of fur will go in your scraps bin. This patch of coyote is from Beast Brushes, an online Australian company run by Chris Adams that has a phenomenal selection of natural and synthetic materials.

STEP 6: Here, we take all of the long hairs and separate them from the body fur. The long hair will be used to replicate antennae.

STEP 7: With your long hairs set aside, cut your body fur in half, one for the back of the hook, and one for the front. There should be two even clumps for a symmetrical body and tail.

STEP 8: Place your long hairs on the top of the hook, and make sure they are on the same side of the hook shank as the lead eyes.

STEP 9: With one of the clumps of coyote, place the hair on the flip side of the hook, parsing the hair around the hook. There should be a clear difference between the long and the short hairs to accentuate the antennae.

STEP 10: Add two strands of rubber legs and split them between the middle. Tie them in on the same side of the hook you tied in the hair, and trim to the same size. Two legs should be on one side, and two should be on the other. Also save the tips that you clipped off of the rubber legs to use for the front of the fly.

STEP 11: A great part of tying shrimp flies is the personalization that you can add with the variety of synthetics on today’s market. Eyes on the back of a shrimp fly can persuade even the trickiest permit and bonefish. They stand out, and Peter Ellman’s Evil Eye Fly Shrimp Eyes are some of the best. I love the amber eyes for this fly. Whatever eyes you use, keep a pair of pliers handy so you can crimp and bend your eyes for easy landing on the hook shank. Setting up your materials before tying them in will improve efficiency and productivity.

STEP 12: Add the eyes, making sure that the crimped monofilament is flat against the shank of the hook.

STEP 13: Another bit about personalizing flies on the vise: I personally like the Ocean Flies Bonefish Dubbing for the body of this fly because it adds a certain bugginess that other dubbings do not have. This can be swapped for a dubbing of your choice, but one with silicon bits inside the dubbing makes the finished fly look really great. Ocean Flies Bonefish Dubbing is sold exclusively at Seven Mile Fly Shop.

STEP 14: Grab a conservative clump of dubbing and twist it onto your thread. Keep in mind we will pick out the dubbing at the end so some of the silicon will pop out for extra bugginess.

STEPS 15 & 16: Dub all the way up to the lead eyes, then add your front rubber legs and follow that up by one more bit of dubbing to cover your thread wraps.

STEP 17: Tie in your final clump of coyote, using loose thread wraps at first, so you can get a clean trimming of the excess hair. I usually allow the tips of the coyote to reach the bend of the hook, as pictured below.

STEP 18: Clean up the head of the fly with a five-turn whip finish, and complete the fly with your choice of UV resin or glue – or simply put your trust in your whip finish.

STEP 19: That’s it! All you have to do now is throw this in front of anything that eats a shrimp. This does not mean it is exclusively for permit or bonefish; it can also be thrown for carp, smallmouth bass, redfish, and even trout. Do not be scared to make modifications of your own.

Joe Dahut
Joe Dahut is a poet living, writing, and fishing in the Florida Keys. He received his MFA in poetry from New York University, and his writing appears in The Drake, The FlyFish Journal, Clade Song, and Tail Magazine, among others. Follow him on Instagram at @jdahut.