Crystal Schminnow
by Ken Collins - April 09, 2017

There is more to fly fishing salt water flats than walking a beach making a fly cast. To totally depict the complexity of such a great sport would take a book and there is countless good reads out there already. However, there is always the basic must knows and must haves for every successful fly fishing presentation.

In salt water flats fishing one of the biggest problems I always run into is the infamous fly box. I see fly boxes so full of flies and colours choices that good sunglasses are a must if admiring these collections in daylight hours. I am not saying bright and shiny is a bad thing, but when you admire these collections more closely it is easy to spot the don’t haves.

So many fly shops sell weighted bonefish flies and are successful doing it. Clients are happy they caught fish. But, as a salt water junkie I have got to know the necessity of non weighted flats flies. I also have saved the day having non weighted flies with weed guards. So here is a favourite pattern that ties easy and fishes very shallow weedy waters that most anglers stay away from. Too bad you are missing a lot of action because  bonefish feed heavily in these turtle grass flats.  

Crystal Schminnow Steps

Tying on thread
Tie on thread to the hook. Do not crowd the eye of the hook. In fact leave one bobbin stem thickness clear of any thread. cover the rest of the hook shank with a few layers of thread.

Tail Clump
Cut away from hide a small clump of zonker strip. Tie this clump in at the back of the hook, right at the start of the bend.

Weed guard beginnings
Cut a four inch piece of .019 flourocarbon material. Tie in one end tippet with all the extra facing out past the eye of the hook.

Weed guard forming loop
Now fold tippet back along far side of hook. Making sure to form a half inch loop sticking out past eye of hook. Wrap lots of thread to keep this loop in place.

Weed guard - crazy glue
Place a small amount of crazy glue over this threaded area. This step makes sure the weed guard will not rotate.

Tying in tail
Cut and tie in a one inch piece of barred zonker strip. Make sure to keep in on top of hook shank. Do not let it wrap around the hook at all.

Tie in eyes
Hopefully while crazy glue is still moist you can tie these eyes perpendicular to hook shank. The placement of these eyes should be mid way or just slightly more towards eye of hook.

Tie in cactus chenille
Tie in the cactus chenille end right from behind the eye of the hook back to the start of the tail. Now wrap your cactus chenille forward making figure 8 wraps with it around the plastic eyes. Try to make a larger head area with this material. Do not crowd the eye. You should still have bare hook just behind the eye of the hook.

Weed guard final
Turn fly over in vise or rotate vise head if tying with rotary style vise. Now prop weed guard loop up straight and wrap thread to secure it into this position. Whip finish thread trim away and apply coat of head cement.

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