In the mid-90s when my river sea trout fishing really improved dramatically it was because of experience. Not as much accumulated experience on my own part, but because I became friends with a couple of seasoned fly fishers, Finn Nielsen and Michael Jensen. The shared their experiences and moved me forward by a light year or two within a season or two.
Michael was the one to teach me that high, dirty water, clear skies and plenty of sun is a perfect combination. Michael’s favourite fly is his own, Koch’s Ghost which I’ve presented on Sexylops before (can’t seem to find the original, so here’s the shrimp-version of it - very fitting for this page as it happens: https://www.sexyloops.com/picofday/vikinglars/ghost_shrimp.shtml).
One day on the phone, as I was leaving home and had called Finn to ask for a good spot to park, the conditions were exactly as described above. Finn gave me the parking spot and as we ere hanging up, he mentioned that if I had one in the box, an Irish Shrimp (this pattern - a local variant, I believe) was a perfect choice as the river was a little high and coloured. As a relatively inconspicuous fly, I was sceptic as I was more inclined to choose a big, black fly or an orange one.
I would normally choose a fast sinking line to get the fly down in the water column, but Michael had other ideas. The fish tend to hold to banks to avoid the heaviest currents and although shy, they’re generally not holding particularly deep. They feel safe because of the coloured water and Michael believes it’s better to fish the fly higher here it catches more light.
At the river I began mounting a type IV sinking shooting head and a big, black fly and before I left the parking spot, I decided to listen to the advice from Finn and Michael and combine them. I exchanged the fast sinking shooting head for an intermediate WF and tied on an Irish Shrimp. I caught three, nice sea trout that day! Experience counts!
The version of the fly I tie now is not identical to the original variant (if you can say that), I’ve adapted it a little to incorporate modern materials. Here’s the pattern as I tie it now.
Thread: White (for the rear, yellow part) and black UNI 6/0 or 8/0.
Hook: Ahrex HR 414, #2-6 (usually just a 4).
Tag: Gold Lagartun Mini FlatBraid.
Tail: Golden pheasant red breast hackle, two turns.
Rear body: Fluo. yellow synthetic floss.
Rib: Lagartun Oval gold, small (both body halves).
Middle hackle: Badger cock hackle, two-three turn depending on feather quality.
Front body: Rainbow black Salmo Supreme dubbing.
Front hackle: Badger cock hackle, two-three turn depending on feather quality.
Eyes: Pro Sportfisher Gen3 synthetic jungle cock, size XXS.
Head: Black thread.
It’s important to keep the fly sparse, so it sinks faster. I have learned that single hooks sink much faster than one would think.
The fly has been out of rotation for some years, but now it goes back in the box.
Have great weekend!