Fly Tying Tutorial : Mini Mantis Shrimp

By Jeremy Inman

The mantis shrimp is a well known creature even to those who have never stepped foot in the salt. There are countless patterns and variations available today, one of the more known patterns being the Spam N Eggs, developed right here in Hawaii. While they all work well, unfortunately the fish just aren’t always willing to eat a giant fly.

I try to keep a wide variety of sizes and colors in my box each time I go out. Ranging from size 2 down to size 8. Here is a quick tutorial of a scaled down mantis shrimp pattern that has earned a permanent spot in my box.


Thread: Danville210

Hook: Curved Shrimp Size #8, B10S, SL45

Weight: Lead Eyes – small

Tail: Fox Squirrel Tail and Rubber Legs

Eyes: Mono Shrimp/Crab Eyes

Body: Tan Polar Dub/Crawdub Blend and Flex Legs

Wing: Tan Bucktail

Step 1:

Secure the lead eyes to the hook shank.

Step 2:

Fold over and tie down .25 lead wire on the bottom of the hook for added stability in the current (optional).

Step 3:

Tie in a small piece of fox squirrel tail, then add the rubber legs on the bottom side of the fox tail. Doing so helps keep the rubber legs from fouling up around the hook when casting.

Step 4:

Securely tie in your mono eyes to the angle you prefer. Flattening the mono stem with pliers helps keep them from sliding around while tying or falling out after being chewed by a bonefish. Add a drop of super glue for added strength.

Step 5:

Form a dubbing loop and insert your dubbing blend and flex legs. Keep it sparse! If the fly is too bulky it won’t sink as desired and will be more likely to tip or roll under water. Free spinning it may need to be picked out or groomed a bit with a stiff toothbrush. Wrap forward towards the eye of the hook, ensuring the fibers are laying back behind each wrap. Groom again once tied in.

Step 6:

Tie in your bucktail and whip finish.

Step 7:

Add a light barring to the bucktail if desired.

Step 8:

Book a flight to Hawaii and catch a fish.