Back in August Tyler and I had the pleasure of spending 2 days in the boat of Pennsylvania's premiere Smallmouth Guide Brian Shumaker. Brian is a friend that has been guiding Pennsylvania's Susquehanna river for over 30 years. For those not familiar the Susquehanna is the river where arguably the most famous streamer ever tied, the Clouser Minnow was born! Bob and Brian are close friends and have spent years bouncing ideas and theories about Smallmouth off of one another. You can check out Brian's guiding service, Susquehanna River Guides HERE The "2 rivers in 2 days" package is well worth the investment.
During lunch the second day the conversation turned to fly design. We had worked our way through many patterns, the in's and out's and what makes a certain pattern effective. About this time Brian pulls two Shimmering Minnows out of his box, one he tied and one tied by somebody else. He was pointing out the differences between the two flies and what made one of them "right" and what made the other one well, not so right. I will give you 3 guesses and the first 2 don't count as to who tied the "right" one. Anyway after pointing out the differences, subtle, but different for sure, we swam each of the two flies on the same rod / reel / line and leader. The swimming action of the fly tied correctly was un-mistakable! The subtle differences in the fly made a BIG difference in how it swam. I knew this post was coming up and at that point I asked Brian if he would do the step-by-step for me. I figured, "who better to show us how to tie it than the guy that invented the pattern"
I want to extend a personal thank you to Brian for taking time out of his busy guiding schedule to do this step-by-step for Norvise, we really appreciate it.
Below is the un-altered step-by-step sent to me from Brian, I assure you, this is the "right" way to tie this fly!
By Brian Shumaker
The Shimmering minnow is a pattern I developed to catch smallmouth bass somewhere around 2012. I was looking for something that was quick to tie and that I could easily match the bait fish that I would find in the rivers that I fished. I also wanted something that I could fish in the middle water column. I started out using a single hook and it worked well and caught fish, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I started playing around with shanks trying to add articulation to the fly and it worked very well, I had some trouble with the shank fouling so I add a bead to prevent this. The Shimmering Minnow was catching a lot of fish and I was happy and so were my clients. I was tying at a show one winter and stumbled upon the Flymen Fishing Company Fish Mask and I decided to try it on the Shimmering Minnow and it was the last piece that really made the fly look complete. What is good about the Shimmering Minnow is that you can tie the fly to match the baitfish that are common to the water that the angler is fishing, by coloring the fly using different colored markers. The possibilities are endless, from the different color combinations to the size you can make it by adding shanks. So far, the Shimmering Minnow has caught, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, trout, stripers, speckled trout, redfish, and snook. (Norvise note; it has caught Steelhead too)
Fish Skull Articulated Fish-Spine 15 mm Shank
Gamakatsu B10S Size 2 hook or Fire Hole 811 Competition Size 4
Thread 6/0 white
Strung Marabou White, Olive, Burnt Orange
Palmer Chenille Med Pearl
Fish Skull Fish-Mask #5
Fish Skull Living Eyes-Ice
3D Beads: White, Black, Gray, Light olive
Rio Powerflex Wire Bite: 20 lb
Flashabou: Pearl, Sliver, Gold
Loon UV Clear Fly Finish Thick and Thin
Marker: Copic Warm Gray, Baby Blue, Spanish Olive
Norvise products used;
Norvise Standard Vise
Norvise Standard Inline Jaws
Norvise LED Lamp / magnifier
Norvise Magnum Stainless Hubs (Coming soon to a fly fishing show near you)
1.Place shank into vice and cover with thread
2.Cut a piece of marabou 1 ½ in long, tie in marabou tail, tail should be 1 3/8 long, add flash on top of tail, 3 strands of silver, 2 strands of pearl double over thread and tie down. Flash should be 1/8 in longer than tail.
3.Cut a 3 ¼ in long piece of palmer chenille, tie in at base of tail with fibers facing toward tail and wrap forward to eye of shank leaving enough space to tie off. Tie off and whip finish.
4.Using a marker color only the top half of the palmer chenille.
5.Cut a piece of wire 2 ¼ in long
6.Place hook into vise and cover hook shank with a thread base.
7.Place one end of wire on top of the hook shank and tie down with the thread ending at the end of hook shank.
8.Slide bead on to wire, slide tail section onto wire, take end of wire back through bead and onto top of hook shank. Pull the wire, bead and tail so the bead is just touching the bend of the hook with the tail swinging freely.
9.Attach a small amount of marabou on top of hook shank, just enough to cover bead.
10.Cut a 5 in piece of palmer chenille, attach to hook at rear of shank with fibers facing toward tail and wrap to just behind hook eye and tie off and whip finish.
11.Color the top half of palmer chenille with marker, matching the tail.
12.place a bead of UV clear fly finish thick around palmer chenille behind hook eye. Slide on Fish-Mask and cure with uv light.
13. Apply eyes to Fish-Mask, apply UV clear fly finish clear to each eye and cure with UV light.
14. Fly is complete.
We have played around with different color combo's and honestly the one pictured here has been the most consistent producer. Probably because it is a dead ringer for the juvenile Shad that the Smallmouth in our rivers feed on. I remember first being introduced to this pattern several years ago. My buddy Ed showed it to me (Ed always finds all the great patterns) Later that year we were on one of the lakes in downstate Delaware chasing Chain Pickerel (great fun on the fly BTW). Ed was having a pretty good day so I asked him the natural question that guy #1 asks guy #2 when #2 is schooling #1..."What are you getting them on"? Ed replies "The Shimmer, it is what I get EVERYTHING on"! That pretty much says it. Till Next time...
Tight Lines - Tim