Other than Clouser type patterns where dumbbell eyes can be stuck on to them to accentuate the head region as well as give necessary weight to the front of the fly, I’ve never been a keep fan of them on my flies, especially shrimp patterns and I far prefer to use bead chain instead. They’re slightly lighter to cast, and they allow the fly to drop a little slower and keep the fly from digging into the sand a lot less than dumbbell eyes do. Sure if it’s a crab or shrimp pattern you want the fly to give off a small puff of sand as you retrieve it back but either way you look at it they both still look out of place on all shrimp & Crayfish patterns.
I had a whole article written out with regards to the merits and down falls of using both these products and the disappointment I was finding with how they both truly didn’t fit into the overall shape of what I perceived as a shrimp, when I came across these two images on Pintrest a couple of months ago and I was instantly fighting back the demons of the erection gods!
A couple of clicks later and I was reading Martins Bawdins “article” regarding the thought process and development behind Flymen fishing Co new Shrimp tails (I should have guessed they’d come up with something like this), and I decided to delete all that I had written purely because he’d hit the nail on the head. As he mentions in his article which you can read “here” bead chain eyes have been around for roughly 7 decades or so, so in all honesty it’s taken a long time for something so incredibly simple to have been developed and which now looks to change the way we construct our shrimp patterns for good…..well it will for me at least!
The first thing I noticed once my order had arrived and I’d started tying with them is that I used half the amount of thread to attach the tail to the hook shank compared to if I was using either dumbbell eyes or beadchain. I still added a brushing of head cement just to bond it in place but I’d have done that anyway with the other two products. Having the tail neatly strapped to the underneath of the hook shank allows for the entire shank to be free to work with all the way up to the hook eye which I found a pleasure.
(Slab slayer ice dub shrimps)
As I’m tying rather smallish shrimp patterns I ordered the two smallest sizes out of the three available and am over the moon with how they finish of the overall look of my patterns. I will paint them just to give them a more realistic look but to be honest am not sure that’s necessary. I just hope fly shops over here see their benefit and start stocking them on their shelves. Ordering from Flymen fishing co has never been a problem for me but It did take 7 weeks for them to arrive at my front doorstep that’s how shit our postal service is over here in SA.