Tying the Crystal Schminnow

The Crystal Schminnow fly.

What's the Story?
Captain Norm Zeigler of Sanibel, Florida designed this pattern for snook running the shallow beaches of his home waters.  Intended to be a combination shrimp and minnow, this fly is the essence of simplicity and effectiveness making this a "go-to" fly for many anglers.  Its simplicity means that beginning tyers can quickly get the hang of tying established patterns with a high likelihood of producing usable flies.  The Schminnow is very similar to an earlier pattern, Mark Sosin's Redfish Blossom, which is typically tied with lead or bead chain eyes.

What's it Good For?
Simply put, this fly is effective for any species that's looking for a shrimp or minnow because it approximates everything without specifically imitating anything.  Saltwater species like snook, seatrout, baby tarpon, bluefish, mackerel, redfish, and even false albacore or tuna willingly eat this fly.  Freshwater predators like largemouth bass, peacock bass, shad, crappie, and others will take it with little reservation as well.   

How to Fish It:
As designed, this pattern is meant to be fished in shallow water with a strip-pause-strip-strip-pause action or using rapid short strips to resemble a fleeing shrimp or minnow.  It's an excellent option for the beach, around dock lights, or along weed lines.  Thinking out of the box, it can also be used as a trailer behind a top-water popper or gurgler. Using an intermediate or sinking line will further extend its usefulness.

Tying Options
Modify the colors in any way you want to fit the species you are targeting and the conditions. Black and root beer work well in our area.  Turn the Schminnow into a Redfish Blossom, which is a better choice in deep water or for bouncing the bottom, with the substitution of  bead chain or lead eyes in place of the mono. 

Available on our Website:
This fly is available, ready to fish, on the Crystal Schminnow page. If you'd like to tie it yourself, the Crystal Schminnow Fly Tying Kit includes all the materials you will need.

Tying Steps

  1. Start your thread behind the eye and lay down a layer of thread covering the front portion, of the hook shank to create a base for the eyes.
  2. Tie the mono eyes in on top of the hook about one eye diameter behind the eye of the hook. Your wraps should be snug but not so tight that they fold the eyes around the hook shank.
  3. Advance your thread to the back of the shank, just in front of where the bend starts. Select two moderately full marabou plumes (or one very full plume), and tie them in two shank lengths long. 
  4. Tie in 4 to 8 strands of Flashabou Accent on each side of the marabou. Trim the flash strands to the length of the marabou or slightly longer.
  5. Tie tie the Estaz in right in front of the marabou. Advance your thread to just in front of the eyes and wrap the marabou closely up the hook shank and around the eyes to form the body.
  6. Create an even thread head, being careful not to crowd the eye, then whip finish. 
  7. Apply head cement or UV resin to the head.

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