|  First Published: February 2011

With prawns being prominent in the rivers, bay and estuaries throughout February, I thought I would show you an easy yet effective prawn pattern I came across recently.

This pattern is commercially tied by Just Add H2O Flies and distributed by EJ Todd but was initially designed by North Queensland guide, Steve Jeston who predominately charters in the Hinchinbrook Channel and further north. As its name suggests, it was initially designed to target permit but is a highly effective pattern for a wide array of species. I am looking forward to putting it to good use on some Brisbane River threadfin and possibly even along the rock walls for some jacks, cod and others.


Prawns are widely known as great bait for many different species. Many anglers would be surprised to find that Moreton Bay inhabitants such as longtail tuna, mackerel and snapper will regularly dine on prawns when the opportunity arises. I have often gutted this species and found the remains of prawns, often quite large ones, partially digested in the stomachs. However, inhabitants of the estuarine environment are much more likely to dine on prawns.

In these waters Jesto’s Permit Prawn will work a treat. When worked over the flats it will take flathead and many other species. Sinking it alongside structure such as fallen mangroves, bridge pylons and jetties will see a good hook-up rate for species such as mangrove jack, estuary cod, trevally, tarpon, bream and many others. Casting this presentation around the lighted bridges of the Nerang River and other systems during the darkened hours, then retrieving it back with the current, will produce good results for species such as jacks, trevally, tarpon and possibly a mulloway or other species. It will also work in the freshwater and using darker hues such as olive or tan will increase appeal in this environment.


Prawn patterns of all kinds are generally fished with a minimum number of retrieve styles however all anglers alter each to make it their own. When fished across shallow grounds when targeting flathead on the mud and sand banks, I use a slow, short retrieve to get the prawn pattern shuffling across the bottom. This would see it stirring up small puffs of sand, mud and silt in the process, as it if were feeding in this margin, as many prawns do. The hand rolling retrieve called mending, as employed by many trout fishers, will often work well.

In shallow areas where the current is a little faster and also in deeper areas with moderate flow, I use two or three short sharp strips and then a sizeable pause. This gives the appearance of a startled prawn, which will initially dart away from danger and then pause as it slowly sinks back to its position on the bottom. Obviously, combinations of these two retrieve styles can be mixed up and varied slightly, while still maintaining a good strike rate.

I am assuming that when Steve Jeston first developed this pattern, he intended it for use on the various flats areas around the Hiunchinbrook Channel where permit can be caught by those with patience, a sharp eye and the ability to present quick, accurate and often long casts into the wind. This pattern is generally retrieved back with the current and therefore a fair degree of weight is added to the pattern to get it to sink quickly in the fast water flow. You may alter the amount of weight in the pattern to suit your situation.


1. Place your hook in the vice and attach the thread just behind the eye of the hook with a jamb knot. Lay a bed of thread for around 5mm and then attach the eye with a figure-of-eight at this position. Whip finish and add a little vinyl cement but do not cut away the remaining thread.

2. (Image taken from above). Make a V-shaped set of eyes to roughly the same proportion as shown. I have used some high visibility orange 37kg game fishing line but any monofilament between 20kg and 50kg could be used. Use a lighter to melt the ends into some bulbous pupils as shown. These can be highlighted with the use of a black marker pen. Advance the thread half way along the hook shank and tie these eyes in with a series of wraps so they face towards the lower side of the hook bend as shown. Whip finish and add a little vinyl cement and advance the thread back up to the eye of the fly.

3. Cut a small portion of Kinky Fibre that is roughly twice the length of the entire hook. Tie this in just behind the eye of the fly. At the same point, tie in a similar portion of Krystal Flash. Whip finish but do not cut away the remaining thread.

4. Turn the hook over in the vice and re-secure as shown. Cut a portion of Kinky Fibre, roughly twice the volume of the first portion, and at least twice as long as the entire hook. Secure this just behind the eye of the hook with around 4mm to 5mm of Kinky Fibre protruding forward past the eye of the hook as shown. The Kinky Fibre should splay out slightly to cover the point of the hook.

5. At this same tie down point, secure the ends of four strands of Krystal Flash which are at least 1cm longer than the entire pattern. These should sit just on top of the Kinky Fibre and will appear as the feelers of the prawn.

6. Take the fly out of the vice. Preen the Kinky Fibre and Flash to make the pattern neat and uniform. Add some UV epoxy around the forward tie down point, the thread securing the eyes, the flash on the belly and the first 5mm of Kinky Fibre aft of the forward tie down point. You will only require a small amount to lightly coat these areas. The Krystal Flash belly should run flush with the hook shank and be coated with epoxy all the way to the bend. Use a UV light to instantly set the epoxy. (Devcon 5 minute could also be used for this stage). Once set, trim the Kinky Fibre to create a uniform and realistic prawn profile to the pattern.

Your Jesto’s Permit Prawn is now complete.



HOOKMustad C70SD 1/0
THREADMono fine
WEIGHTED EYEReal Eye large nickel
EYE37kg orange mono formed using heat
BELLYKrystal Flash hot orange
LOWER BODYKinky Fibre white
BODYKinky Fibre white
FEELERSKrystal Flash hot orange
FINISHVinyl cement
EPOXYLoon UV wader repair

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