Waddington Prawn [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Waddington Prawn

05-08-2003, 10:57 AM
These are based on Ed's intruder work coupled with my work with Aaron on patterns and myself and Briab Styskal on materials. They have been tested a lot in Skeena country as well as on the Hoh, Sol Duc, Skagit, and Sauk this year and they work. I currently offer then in Black-Green, Black-Blue, Orange, Pink, Coral, and Purple. The pattern offerred here will be the basic orange. Email me at babr@speyman.com for details on the other color combos or make up your own.

Waddington Shank - 55mm, 45mm, 35mm, 25mm. The flies are all 6" long. The size of the shank simply determines the leength of the body AND the weight of the fly. The 55mm end up at 1.5g, 45 at 1g, 35 at .75g and 25 at .5g. This way you can dial in the amount of weight you need while still using the same pattern. I do not use eyes on mine. You can use them if you wish but I like to let the fly swing in tight and I cannot do it if there is even more weight on the shank so I skip the eyes.

Thread - Red
Hook - Owner SSW 4 or 2/0

Attachment - The hook is attached to the shank by two methods. One way is to use a loop of Fireline, I use 25#. Bind it to the shank and then pull the tag end to the rear and bind it again so it is cinched to the shank. This way it will not slip out. I also use furled 15# Maxima attached in the same manner. If you go larger than either of these you will have trouble getting the #4 hook on.
The length of the loops should be about 4.5 inched from the front of the shan to build at 6" fly.

Feelers - Start by securing 4-5 strands of pearl flashabou on each side of the shank, right in the back. Then attach Orange Estaz and take two turns right on top of each other right at the back to create a little bump. Just in front of the bump attach 5-7 hairs from a piece of Orange Yak Hair. Yak has the translucency of Polar bear but is 14" long so it works for these big flies. Attach 5-7 hairs on each of the 4 sides of the shank. The bump will cause them to stand proud from the side of the hook. This creates desireable movement in the water. Trim the Yak at 5.5 to 6" but do it so it is not abrupt. What I do is to push the hair a bit towards the front of the fly and then snip with the tips of the scissor to get a random effect. Next attach 3-4 strands of Orange Rhea on each of the 4 sides of the hook. This too will stand proud and look great in the water.

Body - Start with some Pearl Flexicord Light, 3/8" for 55 or 45, 1/4" for 35 and 1/8" for 25. Attach the end about half an inch up on the shank and bind it to the rear. Once bound pull it forward and bind it down again. Once bound pull it back and bind it down again. This gives us a nice bump of the top of the shank. Make sure the end of the binding goes right to where the Estaz bump ended. Secure some eyes to the sides of the body. I use 25# mono with a 3mm black bead and it looks great. Let it protrude about 1/2" beyonmd the shank. Attach the Estaz to the top of the body and an Orange Spey Hackle which will be the legs. Start winding the Estaz and make the first two turns go behind the mono of the eyes so it pushes the eyes a bit proud of the body. Then wind on to the font of the Felxicord and secure it. Wind the Spey Hackle forward and tie off at the front of the Flexicord. Pull down the hackle on top of the shank and pull the Flexicord forward and tie it down right at the front of the body. Be sure to leave a bit extra on the shank and really bind it down as the stuff can fall apart if you leave it too short. Finish winding the Estaz forward to the front of the shank. Leave about 1/4" at the front for finishing.

Feelers - In front attach 5-7 strands of Orange Yak Hair on each of the 4 sides of the shank and then 3-5 fibers if Orange Rhea. It is true there are no feelers in the front but this veil of materials looks unreal in the water. The front feelers go all the way to the rear of the fly.

Whip finish and rock on.

If you need materials or help contact me or Aaron at River Run Anglers.

11-28-2003, 05:57 PM
hey, working up a similar concept fly, tho haven't tried on the waddinton shank yet. do you have a picture? willing to exchange pics of ideas...

11-28-2003, 07:05 PM

Was wondering when you would post one of these! I was just tying up a bunch of prawns myself. Its really hard not to just sit back and grin after you have just finnished one, its sort of like intruder madness. I to have stopped using the eyes except on the pink and orange ones, these really look like prawns. Post a pic if you get a chance.


11-29-2003, 12:09 PM
Can just see this fly as a killer on the lower Rogue, the Chetco or the Smith River in No. Kalif.

As noted above, a photo would be great!!!:D :D :smokin:

Robert Meiser
11-29-2003, 12:39 PM

I agree, if possible post a photo.

Like Fred mentioned, the Winter fish are starting to show up in good numbers on the lower Rogue, and these guys are a different critter then the up river Summers....They will go to a swung prawn pattern with attitude !

The Smith fish are even more aggressive....And can be MUCH larger !

Did well with Miller Prawns last year....Sure would like to tie up a few of your style as well.


11-30-2003, 10:05 PM
for more pics or info email babar@speyman.com

12-01-2003, 12:11 AM
You have zero idea how many e mails you'll get on this one!!!


12-01-2003, 10:10 AM
I admit I am selfish to keep in touch with those who use the prawn.

So far it has accounted for Steelhead, Rainbows, Grayling, Bull Trout, Striped Bass, Shad and Salmon in the Salt. As the pattern continues to grow and develop I delight in the adventures of those who take it forward. Folks on the East coast are developing smaller ones to use on the beach. Up here we are always looking for ways to make it bigger.

All I know is they are fun to tie and thee yanks are huge!

I will be down in early January for a few days of Winter fishing.

12-01-2003, 10:45 PM

I agree with those who asked for a picture. This thread of yours on the prawn really needs to have a picture accompany it (either camera or scan) so that those who have not seen it can get an understanding of what it looks like. And I'd be willing to venture that very few outside of the Seattle area have seen it.

12-01-2003, 11:10 PM

12-01-2003, 11:17 PM
Jack included a picture of this fly on another Washington Fly fishing site under the fly patterns forum (I know the rules and I won't attach a link). But if you go to the site and search Waddington Prawn it is topic 485 posted May 8th, 2003.

I have yet to fish this pattern but I had a blast tying it at the october roundtable. Jack, I'll let you know how I do this winter with the pattern.

Terry D. :cool:

12-01-2003, 11:17 PM
Sorry, it looks like Jack has produced the pic of the fly.


12-01-2003, 11:41 PM

Down side is if you check (very closely) the Oregon State Game Regs, a fly that effective would probably be illegal.

12-01-2003, 11:52 PM

nice pick man! Although this isn't the jumbo mega prawn its a beauty. Now you will get 100 e-mails on how to tie it. I guess you had to let the cat out of the bag sooner or later.:hehe:

Cheers, Brian

12-02-2003, 12:30 AM
Jack and it is my color.
Now : I will have to get a new secret weapon the cat is out of the bad.

The Purple and Chreise is a killer also.


Robert Meiser
12-02-2003, 09:39 AM
Saaaaweet !

Ooooooh ya.....That'll work.... Lean and mean !

Good on ya for sharing the pic with us Orygun down staters.

Russ is right ...Not to many of us have seen the shank patterns.

Thanks Jack and Aaron.

Got a name for these patterns in case anyone asks ?

Will mail you guys to purchase a kit to build up a batch of these critters.....AND woven shrimp as well !


12-02-2003, 10:07 AM
I tried for quite a while to get the picture to take. The old computer whiz Jack could have done it but Speyman seems to be computer challenged, what a change in a few years!

Sorry to take so long. The picture is an all Pink or Coral goody which is a killer squid imitator.

I like layered colors mostly so Orange with red feelers, black/green, black/blue, black/hot pink, purple/red

I also like the amber/summer duck version.

12-02-2003, 03:06 PM

Thanks for getting the pic up. Now I know there are those who want a concise pattern material list (I know you already provided the materials with the tying instruction; however, many people do not want to read how to tie and would rather just see a concise pattern material list). Just provide it is standard pattern form of hook through body to head. Your prawns really are very good flies.

12-02-2003, 04:19 PM
Try this one for size

12-02-2003, 04:21 PM

12-03-2003, 09:39 AM

Awesome prawn. I really like that one. I have been playing around with waddington’s for a little while, but I have been making my own shanks out of stainless steel wire. I buy the wire at the tackle shop in pre cut lengths. They sell it for spinner shafts. I see that the shank on your prawn fly as well as the shanks on your web site appear to be a larger diameter wire and they have a black finish. Do you make them ? if so what do you use. Second, how are you attaching the hook to the loop of line. It looks like you run the whole loop through the eye and then around the shank.

12-03-2003, 11:02 AM

Good looking flies. I am struck by how far the hook trails behind the body of the fly - yours sit almost level with the tips of the whiskers of the prawn, rather than up near the eyes as would be usual in prawn patterns for atlantic salmon. Is there a particular reason for this?

12-03-2003, 11:04 AM
The shanks are made for me in England, I buy them by the crate. Spinner shafts work well also. The shanks come to about 30 cents retail each so I have finally gotten the price to a reasonable point.

The Fireline if laced to the shank and then the tag end goes through the shank, pulled back tight against the lacing, and then wrapped three times around the shank. Then repeat 1-2 more times. Then do the same with the other end of the Fireline. I have tried a variety of methods to attach the trailer but this seems the most reliable.

All the goodies to build the prawns are available at River Run Anglers in Carnation, wwww.speyshop.com.

12-03-2003, 11:08 AM
The hook ends up right at the back end of the feelers. The reason for this is in cold conditions the fish just pick up the fly but do not agressively hammer it. This was resulting in a lot of short bites. By moving the hook back and going to a smaller hook, size 2 or 4 in these cold conditions I found I was able to hook almost every fish that picked up the fly. I am lucky to be a guide and live on the rivers and get a lot of feedback from feisty Steelhead. This allows me to hone the tools till they work great!

12-03-2003, 11:22 AM
Thanks for that; I did wonder if it was to counteract short takes, but didn't know whether this was a regular problem with steelhead.

Don Johnson
12-04-2003, 09:05 AM
First of all, that is a really neat pattern. Very cool!

Now, if I may suggest, if the harness material is furled it will prevent the stinger from "floating" around on that loop. I am uncertain if that can be easily done with Fireline but furling works well with mono, braided Dacron and braided stainless, all of which are decent harness materials.

The reason I suggest the furling is that if the hook has worked it's way up on the harness and the fly is taken hard, the act of the hook sliding down the loop then coming tight in a rapid motion can lead to breakage of the harness regardless of the material used. The other thing furling will provide (or at least it does with mono, Dacron and stainless braided wire), if possible with Fireline, is to slightly stiffen the stinger thus reducing the propensity for fouling of the stinger around the Waddington.

http://www.geocities.com/salmn8r/furledstinger.html is a link to my cheapo-site that depicts some of the steps to easily furl the material once the stinger hook has been attached to the material. If the furl is left somewhat loose (done by hand and not on a Nor-Vise), the stinger hook is still replaceable on the harness, which has obvious benefits.

Please let me know if there are questions about the technique.

Happy Holidays!
Don Johnson

12-04-2003, 07:19 PM

your answer to the question about the length of the dropper was a little unclear to me...i understand that you've lengthened the dropper due to short strikes...but have you also sized the hook down as well...
i've tied a similar, nonprawn pattern for years, but use size 1 hooks. can you clarify you point..IE...is it your opinion that the smaller hooks (2's or 4's) will give you a better hook up ratio?

12-04-2003, 10:41 PM
I have tied them with furled 15# Maxima and it works very well.
The 15# also works all the way down to size 4 Oqner hooks which is my only requirement.

I share your concern about the hook riding up but so far have not observed it as a problem. I also like the stiffest possible material but I stick with the lighter stuff so I can use the smal hooks in January.

The option Aaron uses is to use a short piece of plastic tube to hold the hook to the shank. If I did that it would be a long plastic tube becuase I want the hook way back like I tie it.

As folks continue to tie and fish these sorts of patterns I would like to see more feedback on experience with some of these problems if they turn out to be problems.