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Bob Veverka’s Mantis Shrimp
No daydreaming allowed when this fly is in the water.
By Dave Karczynski

Put your ear close enough to a Veverka Shrimp and you can almost hear it whisper, “Fish me.” While at first glance it might look like a run-of-the-mill bonefish pattern, the devil is very much in its wiggly details. This fly does an excellent job of imitating not just the look of a shrimp, but its passive action as well. Long Krystal Flash antennae, a rabbit fur carapace, a Kraft Fur head and a half-dozen rubber legs means the Veverka Shrimp is working just as hard at seducing bonefish between strips as it is when you give it a twitch. Maybe even harder.


On a recent trip to Long Island, Bahamas, I fished Veverka Shrimp variants exclusively, for no other reason than that the bonefish would not stop eating them. I even caught a 5-pound bone by accident. I was oozing across a flat watching for cruising fish, not realizing my fly was dragging in the water several feet behind me. When I paused to take a sip of my Kalik, my reel started screaming like a hive of hornets and my fly line was off to the races. The take-away? No sipping beer or munching canapes while a Veverka Shrimp is in the water.


As with any shrimp pattern, tie these in different sizes and colors to match the naturals in your fishery, and tie each iteration in a few different weights for different conditions. This particular version is great for the wading angler working a calm shallow flat: it features a very lightweight Gamakatsu B10S for a soft landing and ultra-subtle Chicone Stealth Bead Chain Eyes.

Recipe

Hook:   Gamakatsu B10S, size 4

Thread:   Tan Uni 6/0

Weight:   Chicone’s Stealth Bead Chain Eyes, Size Large

Tail 1:   Tan Kraft Fur

Tail 2:   Pearl Krystal Flash

Eyes:   20 lb burnt mono

Wing:   Tan Rabbit fur

Dubbing:   Tan Kraft Fur

Legs:   Clear flecked silicone legs

Step 1:   Tie in a set of bead chain eyes just back from the hook eye. Work your thread down to the hook shank in touching wraps to establish a thread base. I recommend hitting the eyes with some super glue at this point, to keep them in place through multiple fish.

Step 2:   Tie in a clump of Kraft Fur about two hook shanks in length.

Step 3:   Tie in two strands of Krystal Flash, one on either side of the Kraft Fur. Trim so the Flash is just slightly longer than the Kraft Fur.

Step 4:   Cut two inch-long segments of 20lb mono. Burn one end of each segment with a lighter and touch up the rounded eye with a marker. Before tying in each eye, use a pair of pliers to flatten the mono; this will create a more secure tie-in point.

Step 5:   Tie in a set of rubber legs, with one leg on either side of the hook shank.

Step 6:   Flip the fly and tie in a tuft of rabbit fur. Take your time with this step since the B10S has a very sharp point.

Step 7:   Prepare the dubbing by cutting up some Kraft Fur into roughly half-inch segments. Wrap the dubbing around the thread and work the dubbed thread forward up the hook shank. Tie in another set of rubber legs. Dub in figure-8 fashion back around the rubber legs to give them a little support and to enchance the profile of the fly. Then dub forward to the next rubber leg tie-in point.

Step 8:   Tie in another set of legs, dubbing around them once again in a figure-8. Then dub forward to the hook eye, taking time to figure-8 around the bead chain eyes.

Step 9:   Whip finish, trim rubber legs, and comb out dubbing with a hard-bristled toothbrush.

Dave Karczynski

Dave Karczynski is a Michigan-based writer and photographer with a strong bent for difficult fish in impossible places. His by-line appears frequently in magazines across the industry, and he is also the author of two books—From Lure to Fly: Fly Fishing for Spinning and Baitcast Anglers and Smallmouth: Modern Fly-Fishing Methods, Tactics and Techniques. Check out more of Dave’s images on Instagram @davekarczynski.