Continuing with our theme of crustacean patterns, this month we will have a look at a very successful and durable pattern called the Epoxy Prawn. There are a lot of epoxied prawn patterns around, but this is my own variation. Whilst this fly is tough, it is also a good imitation of a prawn in the water and has fooled a broad array of saltwater species.
The main reason I changed the standard Epoxy Prawn pattern was because I wanted a bulkier fly that would displace more water and also be more visible from all angles due to its 3D profile. Also, the broad shoulders and eye stems, allow this fly to be worked through thicker structures without fouling up as often. It will bump through submerged mangrove roots and snags, pushing itself away from anything it brushes past. This makes it an awesome pattern for tropical use as well as our local waters.
The Epoxy Prawn is a sizeable prawn pattern that is best cast on a #9 or heavier rod. Its pure size means that it is going to be a temptation for mangrove jacks, trevally, barramundi, salmon and other species. Whilst species such as bass, bream, tarpon and others are also likely to have a crack at the Epoxy Prawn, most will find it to be quite a mouthful. With a good coating of epoxy, this pattern is really tough and will outlast the attacks of many mangrove jacks and barramundi. In fact, it has even caught a couple of school mackerel at the mouth of the Mooloolah River with a minimum of damage being inflicted. The wider profile and stiff eye stems create a pattern that can be walked through structure whilst rarely tangling. The hook it is tied on here has proven strong enough to be fished on tippets as heavy as 8kg, however heavier leaders will require a stronger hook such as the Black Magic Saltwater series.
The colour used here is my favourite for lightly stained water. T he Epoxy Prawn can be tied in a variety of colours including light pink, olive, grey and pearl. It is a relatively cheap pattern to construct and best of all it lasts well. Different types of chenille could be used in this pattern, depending on your preference and kinky fibre could be substituted with Slinky Fibre, Neer Hair, Hi-Vis or even Streamer Hair, although the latter will make it harder to build a broad profile fly with.
Fishing the Epoxy Prawn is really not any different to fishing most other prawn patterns. A series of short, sharp strips will see the prawn fleeing the scene in an erratic manner. A long strip and then a sizeable pause will produce a very realistic movement with the Epoxy Prawn, which often sees it getting devoured as it sinks. When working this pattern through thick structure, I prefer a slow draw of the fly line as it bumps through the structure. As it exits the structure I like to allow it to sink a little and then do one short, sharp strip before again allowing it to sink again. This will produce a realistic action and will also allow the Epoxy Prawn to sink close to the structure and therefore spend a maximum of time in the strike zone.
1. Secure the hook into the vice and attach the thread with a jamb knot (or similar) about 2/3 of the way down the shank from the eye of the hook. Cut a decent amount of the Kinky Fibre, that is about as long as the hook, and tie it in at this point. With a good degree of pressure on the tie in point, the Kinky Fibre will flair as shown, however a bit of preening and shaping with your fingers will also promote this effect.
2. Tie in the end of the Estaz Chenille at this point also, and secure with a whip finish or similar but do not cut away the remaining thread.
3. Next we have to make the eyes. Fold over a length of 80lb monofilament leader material into a V shape. Cut it to be about 5mm longer than you require (see diagram for proportions) and then take a naked flame (match or lighter) and burn each side of the V shape to form the pupils. The mono will always come towards the flame, so you will need to keep changing sides with the heat to keep it straight. Once you have the desired length, let the mono eye cool for about 10 seconds before attempting to tie it in. Position the eye as shown and use a series of thread wraps at the base of the V shape to secure the eyes to the hook shank at the tie in point for the Estaz.
4. Advance the thread down the hook shank to the eye of the hook. Palmer (wrap) the Estaz chenille down the shank and secure it with a whip finish just near the eye of the hook. Do not cut away the remaining thread. Next, cut a similar proportion of Kinky Fibre to that which you tied in earlier but this time it needs to be at least 1.5 times as long as the hook. Tie it in just behind the eye of the hook with a series of wraps and whip finish at this point. You may now cut away the remaining thread.
5. Mix up some 5 minute Devcon and then start applying it to the Kinky Fibre on the back of the Epoxy Shrimp. I like to use a round toothpick and continue working it into the back and side, stopping where the head starts. It is best to wipe from the eye of the hook forwards to the head of the prawn. The next step is a bit tricky. Pull the Kinky Fibre from the head and try to shape it similar to that shown. As the epoxy just starts to go tacky, wet your fingers with water, or by licking them, and then shape the now setting epoxy and back with your fingers. With your fingers lubricated the epoxy will not stick to your fingers and allows you to easily shape it. The epoxy will set quickly once it starts to cure so be quick.
6. After the epoxy has fully set, take the fly out of the vice and then trim it with your scissors until you get a shape similar to that show. I like to colour the eyeballs on top of the stems with a red or black waterproof marker just to accentuate this feature. The Epoxy Prawn is now ready to tempt a broad array of crustacean crunching critters.
|Mustad Pro-Select 3261NPBLN 1/0
|Monofilament leader shaped
|Kinky Fibre- tan
|Kinky Fibre- tan
|Estaz Chenille- tan
|Devcon 5-minute epoxy.