Step By Step: Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph

It seems that the Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph has become synonymous with grayling fishing over recent years; to do one without the other almost seems strange to many an anglers, myself included. To go fishing without any of these patterns seems to lessen my confidence.

The question still abounds, ‘why do grayling love the colour pink?’ In the pink shrimp it’s fairly obvious, as our rivers do hold a number of these fresh water shrimps; however, it’s now a regular occurrence to see row after row of patterns in many angler’s fly boxes sporting patterns with pink bodies, pink thoraxes, pink ribs, etc. One theory regularly discussed on the riverbank is whether the grayling (bottom feeders by default) think the pink, shiny shades resemble eggs. Another theory of course, is that this so called ‘Lady of the Stream’ is just that…a lady…and like her human counterparts (with their love for all things bags and shoes), she loves a bit of flashy bling! Of course, I couldn’t possibly comment on such a sexist theory! All I know is…pink works.

Personally, I opt to fish the pink shrimp on the middle dropper in a team of three, with the point fly and top dropper usually comprising of more natural, drabber Czech nymph patterns. My thinking is that, should the fluorescent brightness of the fly turn the fish away, whether the fish heads up or down, there’ll be a more natural pattern close by to act as a backup. That’s my way of thinking anyway…whether it’s right or not, it gives me a little confidence.

So, onto the step-by-step…

Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph

Hook: Partridge Authentic Czech Nymph, Size #8
Ballast: Adhesive Lead Foil
Thread: Sheer 14/0, white
Shellback: Hends Shellback, Fluorescent Pink
Rib: Tippet material, 7lb
Body: Wapsi Sow-Scude dubbing, Shrimp Pink

Czech Nymph – The Ingredients…dubbing, shellbacks, adhesive lead, and ribbing materials. Easy.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - The Ingredients...

1. After mounting the hook in the vice we first need to add our weight…
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - Mount the hook

2. For the weight, we’ll be using adhesive lead foil. Cut one strip approximately 1.5mm in width…
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - Prepare the weight

3. Apply two layers of lead foil to the hook but it’s important that we start to create the body taper at this stage. Notice that the first layer is shorter than the length of our intended body, and the second layer of lead is shorter again at only four segments in length.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - Apply the weight

4. Enter the thread 1mm or so behind the eye and work back in touching turns to the rear of the hook. We only need one layer of thread – this will stop the dubbing (when we get to it later) from slipping around the lead. Note, keep the taper going. It’s important that both the rear and the front of the fly are thinner than the body. Below, we can see a nice slim taper thanks to the preparation made in the above steps.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - Enter the thread

5. Tie-in the shellback at the rear, and bring the thread forward to the mid-point of the body in touching turns. Enter the rib at this point, and bring the thread back to the rear of the fly ready for the dubbing stage.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - Tie-in the shellback

6. You can add the dubbing using your preferred method, however, for a spikier effect, I like to split the thread and spin the dubbing. As shown below, the dubbing has been entered and the thread spun.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - Dubbing

7. Spinning your dubbing really forces it to stand out. Don’t worry if there seems too much dubbing at the moment, we can clean up later. Bring the shell back forward and tie off at the eye.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - Shellback

8. Lastly, counter-wind the rib up to the eye and tie-off. At this stage we can now teas-out any additional fibres or remove any if there are too many. Varnish, and we’re done. Simple.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph

At the beginning, I mentioned that it was important to keep a tight taper at the butt-end of the fly. The natural has one…so the pattern has one too. From the below image, you can see ‘carrot-like’ taper starting at the butt.
Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph - The important body taper

By varying our materials and colours, a wide range of Czech Nymph patterns are easily possible. Tweaking the odd trigger or too, and the effects can cover the many naturals present in your home waters.

Olive Czech Nymph with Flash Rib – Here we have a secondary under-rib which adds an additional flash trigger. 
Olive Czech Nymph with Flash Rib

Brown Czech Nymph with Hotspot
Brown Czech Nymph with Hotspot

Gammarus Czech Nymph with Parasitic Hotspot
Gammarus Czech Nymph

Calling All Step-By-Step Fans!!!

I’m aiming to do at least one fly tying step-by-step per month, so if there is any pattern you’ve seen on either Fly Fishing in South Wales or Gareth Lewis Fly Fishing which you’d like to see covered, please do let me know and I’ll add it to the list. Contact me by clicking here or simply leave a reply/comment at the bottom of this blog post.

Coming up in the next step-by-step, the mighty X-Caddis. The X-Caddis, developed by Craig Matthews of West Yellowstone, Montana in the early 1980’s, is a fantastic pattern for both small stream and large river when emerging caddis are being taken. This simple but deadly pattern works for trout and grayling and is a HUGE(!) personal favourite. A pattern not to be left at home and one which has accounted for literally hundreds of my fish in just the last few seasons. Stay tuned!

Coming up next – The mighty X-Caddis


All patterns mentioned in the above blog post are available via The Fly Shop at Gareth Lewis Fly Fishing.

4 Responses to “Step By Step: Pink Shrimp Czech Nymph”

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