Tying the Crystal Schminnow
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.
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.