Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tying a Scud Fly: "Grass Shrimp"

Scud Fly and Natural Scud

Scuds are amphipods that reside in cold lakes or streams and are very active as they wiggle and dart rapidly through heavy vegetation. Fly fishers refer to them as freshwater shrimp. They can be effectively fished by dead drifting them in streams using split shot and by giving the fly quick two to three inch erratic twitches close to the bottom.

They are intricate but fun to tie because they display distinct body features. Their arched bodies have a translucent segmented thorax with a shellback shape. They can be tied in a variety of colors including olives, creams, ambers, tans, grays and pinks. A variety of materials can be used for their bodies but avoid hard textures. Their backs can be tied with elk hair, deer hair, feather sections, latex or other materials. Their short legs can be tied with ginger, grizzly or light-brown hackle.

Their overall length should measure 1/2- to 1-inch long. They should be tied to suggest the motion, shape, size and color of the scud.

Hook: No. 37160, Size 8-12
Thread: 3/0 Olive Monocord
Tail: Light deer hair
Shellback: Latex
Body: Olive wool or dubbing
Hackle: Light-brown, palmered

Four drawings showing how to tie a scud or shrimp fly.
How to tie a scud fly.

1. Wrap the olive thread on the shank, leaving a 2-inch length of thread hanging behind the hook. It will be used in Step 4 to wrap over the back. Next, tie in the tail. Now cut a section of latex 3/16-inch wide, taper one end and secure it to the bend of the hook. Then attach the olive wool or dubbing.

2. Attach a palmered light-brown hackle. Then wrap the wool forward and secure it. Pick out some wool fibers with a dubbing needle so it looks “buggy.”

3. Wrap the hackle ahead 4 or 5 wraps, tie it off and then stretch the latex forward over the top of the hook. Tie it off at the forward end of the wool body and cut off the excess.

4. Spiral the hanging thread forward in 1/8-inch increments over the shellback to suggest the segmentation. Be sure to use the fingers of your off hand to position the shellback and separate the hackles as you wrap. If this isn’t done, the shellback can roll to one side and the hackles can be turned under. Taper the head and cement.

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