tying a shinobi mayfly

'Duffer's fortnight' - that somewhat ingracious tag given to the oh-so-short mayfly season is a  clue to the  frantic sport that can be had once the trout have switched on to this new food source. Not wanting to miss out on the fun I have put together my own take on our largest and most common mayfly here in the UK - Ephemera danica.

I wanted an impressionistic fly that would ride well on the water with a good footprint. I love the light wire of the eyeless shinobi hooks and their elegant shape really lends itself to this type of pattern I think. It rides high with little need for floatant and lands like thistle down - great I bet for 'kissing the water' presentations.

For those wanting to have a go here is the recipe for my shinobi mayfly

Shinobi mayfly 

Secure a shinobi 7.5 hook in your vice and coat the shank with a tiny amount of superglue..

Run light olive 6/0 thread down the shank to the bend and back up to the start of the shank in touching turns..

take 1/2" (12mm) tan 0.45mm silk bead cord and fold in half to make loop..

Apply a tiny dab of super glue along the top of the thread base then lay the tag ends of the loop on top, along the shank with the loop overhanging the front end of the hook (adjust this to give the loop eye size that you prefer). Run the tying thread back down the shank in touching turns to secure the loop eye, stopping at the hook bend..

Catch in three cock pheasant tail fibres to form the mayfly tail, setting the curve of the fibre to mimic the natural fly (see photo).. 

Catch in an olive grizzle cock hackle and run the tying thread back up to halfway along the shank..

Palmer the hackle round the shank back up to the thread and tie off. Take the thread back down to the hook bend and back up again in open turns to strengthen the palmering..

Catch in yellow/cream hen hackle just behind loop eye and wind round to create wings. Tie off with a whip finish to split the hackle to form two wings..

Trim underneath of wings to create impression of an upwing mayfly..

It's done! 



  1. Looks like a really good match to me.
    Certain the fish will feel the same.

    1. Thanks and I sure hope so Michael! I had a lot of fun tying these.

  2. Hello, nice fly ...
    Where do you buy your hooks? There is not simple to find this type of hook in Belgium ...

    1. Hello & thanks! I got these hooks from www.esoterictackle.co.uk
      they ship worldwide


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