Shamu Scub

Shamu Scub

- By Bob Sheedy, from Bob Sheedy's Top 50 Fly Pattern book

A phenomenon occurs every fall in the fertile waters of the midwest, when we enter the "frozen water" period and trout begin to feed heavilly on Hyalella scuds. For some reason, the little creatures expose themselves by the millions and trout ingest them freely, as do all life forms capable of catching them. Large trout- the 27"+ Shamus that prowl desperately at that time of year, gorge upon this protein source. While scarcely convinced of their existence at other times of the open water season, these suddenly become catchable fish at that time of the year--if you can break into the ecosystem and "match the hatch." However, bear in mind that the hatch, if you will term it so, could fit a size 14 to 18 hook--perhaps not the first device that you would choose to stick into a feisty nine-pound football, now fully recovered from the summer doldrums ....

Still, it can be done and is well worth the effort.

As with Mark's Scud Missile, the Shamu Scud derives much of its attack response from the tuft of marabou that pulses, even when the pattern settles or when stripped slowly. Getting the fish to accept yours over one of the multitudinous naturals remains the problem. I get around it by using their nature against them.

Long ago I found that trout swim up to flies of all sorts and try and get their scent, even to the point of placing their noses almost onto them, if not actually touching. To exploit that weakness, I tied up the Shamu Scud and often trail it behind a Marabou Muddler. As soon as they lose interest in the Muddler, they turn away--but just as they do, along comes another specimen of what they are actually eating--right there-only attached to a 5x tippet.

They just naturally ingest it and then swim away- until they get a severe case of indigestion. I typically hang it out fourteen inches behind. If you feel what you thought was a take and set the hook into nothingness or there is a short struggle, your quarry was there and you felt him getting temporarily snagged by the trailing fly. He had his nose on your lead fly, so you may try shortening the distance between the flies.

Tip: A Rapala knot (or Tullis knot) works very well on fine tippets and allows a fly the freedom to move naturally.

The Shamu Scud is tiny fly and it must be tied so to match the selectively so rampant in the waters at the frozen water time of the year.


Type Notes


#14-18 2x


Match Color


Tuft of Appropriately Colored Marabou


Fine Gold or Silver Wire


Frostbite of Proper Color or Commercially Colored Shellback


Crystal Dub of Proper Coloration


Type Notes


Tie on a tuft of Olive Marabou for a tail. Pick it out so it is 1/4 of hook shank.


Tie on gold wire.


Tie on shellback material - Synthetic scud skin or appropriately colored diamond braid.


Form tight dubbing rope and wind on body.


Tie off rope and bring shellback ahead.


Wind wire forward and tie off.


Leave a head of thread of correct coloration.


Pick out dubbing on body to form legs and gills of Hyalella scud.


If Diamond Braid is used to form entire back, I leave wire at rear and thread at front of hook shank. I form the back and catch each pass back and forth with a wind of the fine gold wire until back is formed, then wind it ahead. Often this makes a better back for stained waters when brightness becomes paramount.