Project Description

Flip Flop, Craven’s

Pattern Description:

My Flip Flop came about after several trips to the Bahamas to chase bonefish. Our semi-yearly trip to South Andros is always one of the highlights of the year and always fills my head with ideas and notions about new patterns. While the fish in the Bahamas seem to love my Ragin’ Craven pattern, it’s lead eyes are often too heavy for the shallow waters, so starting with a slightly slimmed down and lighter Ragin’ and tweaking it here and there over a few trips I have arrived at the Flip Flop. It’s a fun fly to tie that ends up with some personality from the little orange eyes and it works great for tailing and cruising fish as well. I typically tie it in a size two for the Bahamas but it works well in Belize and Mexico too, just tied a bit smaller.

Materials Needed:

Hook: TMC 811S #2-6

Thread: Flo. Shell Pink UTC 140 on #2 and 4, UTC 70 on #6

Eyes: Large Silver Bead Chain on #2 and 4, medium on #6

Antennae: Black Krystal Flash and Copper Krystal Flash

Spreader: Dubbing Ball made from Tan Craft Fur Underfur

Mouthparts: Tan Craft Fur, Guard Hair only

Eyes: 25 pound test Mason Hard Mono melted and dipped in Flo. Orange paint/epoxy mixture

Tentacles: Superfloss, Shrimp Color, Barred with Orange and Brown Sharpie marker

Legs: Superfloss, Shrimp color, Barred with Orange and Brown Sharpie marker

Body: Tan Craft Fur Underfur Spun in Dubbing Loop

Barring: Brown Sharpie Marker

Step 1

Attach the bead chain eyes one eye length behind the hook eye using X-wraps to secure. Be sure to build a thread head in front of the eyes.

Step 2

Wrap the thread down the shank all the way to a point even with the point on the barb. Return the thread to mid-shank and tie in two strands each of black and copper Krystal Flash at the center of their length. These strands should be about six inches long.

Step 3

Pull the front ends of the flash back toward the bend of the hook and wrap the thread over them to the barb. The flash should point slightly down once secured.

Step 4

Run a comb through the craft fur sheet to gather a bundle of underfur. All the fur will be stuck in the teeth of the comb. Remove the fur from the comb and dub a tight strand onto the thread.

Step 5

Build a small ball of dubbing at the barb of the hook. This ball will act as a spreader for the upcoming mouthparts.

Step 6

Clip a clump of craft fur from the sheet, cutting as close to the hide as you can. Separate the longer guard hairs from the underfur. I hold the clipped bunch between my index and middle finger and withdraw the longer guard hairs, keeping the underfur bundled in a neat longitudinal clump. Set the underfur aside for the moment (you’ll need it later).

Step 7

Finger stack the longer guard hairs into a tidy bunch. We don’t want them completely even, but somewhat ragged as shown here.

Step 8

Measure the guard hairs against the hook so they are about a shank length long.

Step 9

Lay the guard hairs in at the base of the dubbing ball with the tips extending a shank length off the bend of the hook.

Step 10

Capture the base of the guard hairs with a couple loose wraps of thread, and as you tighten them, allow the thread to distribute the clump around the hook.

Step 11

Wrap forward to the eyes, binding the guard hairs to the shank evenly as you go. Return the thread to the bend of the hook.

Step 12

Tie in a mono eye on the near side of the shank at the bend of the hook. The eyeball should extend just short of halfway up the mouthparts

Step 13

Tie a matching eye in on the far side of the shank, taking care that they eyes are evenly placed.

Step 14

Lay in two strands of shrimp pink Super Floss just above the hook point and tie them down with a couple tight wraps at the center of their length. These strands should be relatively long; about 5-6 inches.

Step 15

Pull the front strands of Super Floss back toward the bend and stretch them a bit as you wrap over them to the base of the dubbing ball.

Step 16

Form a seven inch long dubbing loop at the bend of the hook. Place your dubbing whirl into the loop and drape one leg of the loop through your material spring to hold the loop open and still for the moment.

Step 17

Using tightly stacked X-wraps, tie in three four inch strands of pink Super Floss evenly spaced between the bend and the eyes. Use just two X-wraps on each leg and make sure the wraps are stacked right on top of each other so as not to displace the legs. The legs should be at right angles to the shank. Note there are four even spaces between the legs, the bend and the eyes.

Step 18

Pick up the neat, flat sheet of craft fur underfur you reserved earlier and place it between the legs of the dubbing loop.

Step 19

Clip another clump of Craft Fur from the hide and separate it as you did the first time. Reserve the guard hairs for the mouthparts on the next fly and place the new clump of underfur into the dubbing loop below the first bunch. I try to keep the base of the underfur between the thread loop strands to build a thicker, denser body.

Step 20

Randomly chop the tips off the long side of the underfur, staggering the cuts so they don’t come out too even.

Step 21

Pinch the thread loop directly below the fur and spin the dubbing whirl with your fingers of the other hand. Once the thread has twisted up below the pinch, release the thread and let the twist continue on up the thread spinning the underfur into a thick chenille rope.

Step 22

Begin wrapping the dubbing noodle at the bend of the hook. Make two turns from the bend to the first set of legs, and then pull the legs toward the bend as you cross behind them.

Step 23

Make three turns of dubbing noodle between the first set of legs and second, then again, pull the legs back and cross to the front.

Step 24

Ideally, you will be out of dubbing noodle when you reach the eyes, but if not, let the loop unwind and remove the excess fur so you can tie off just the bare thread of the loop immediately behind the eyes. Clip the remaining dubbing loop flush and make several wraps of thread to finish the head area neatly.

Step 25

Whip finish and clip the thread just behind the eyes.

Step 26

Use a dubbing brush to sweep the body fibers back toward the bend of the hook. Work all the way around the fly, loosening and softening the body fibers.

Step 27

Remove the fly from the vise and sweep all the legs to the hook point side with your fingers. Trim the fur flush with the bottom of the shank, flattening the bottom.

Step 28

Turn the fly over and, again, sweep the legs down and out of the way so you don’t accidentally cut them off. Trim the top of the fly into a slight arc from front to back and side to side.

Step 29

You ought to have a body shape that looks something like this now.

Step 30

Grab the tips of as many of the legs on a side as you can and, while stretching them, bar them with an orange Sharpie marker as shown. Stroking the marker tip across the stretched Superfloss results in dense colored marking. Make sure to mark all the legs in this manner. Go in and repeat this process using a brown Sharpie marker as well, leaving two tone speckles.

Step 31

Again, make sure that all the strands of Super Floss are markered up as shown here.

Step 32

Use the brown Sharpie marker to make three curved chevrons across the top of the fly (hook point side).

Step 33

Grasp all the longer mouthpart strands at the hook bend and bar them all the way to their tips as well.

Step 34

Like this.

Step 35

Done…pretty shrimpy, eh?