Online Fly Fishing Magazine

Premier Patterns: Olive Cripple Shipman’s

Kieron Jenkins brings you a tasty summer dry to try for the rivers, small stillwaters and reservoirs as the fish search for food in the upper layers…

MP81 – Red Spinner


HOOK: Fulling Mill All Purpose 1550, size 10-14
THREAD: Olive Uni Thread 8/0
BREATHERS: White AeroDry
RIB: Clear Buzzer Wrap
BODY: Pale olive seal’s fur
THORAX: Pale olive seal’s fur
HALF PALMER: Speckled badger cock

Summertime dry fly fishing can produce some of the best fishing of the year with trout rising freely to buzzer, head and tailing up or across wind giving away their position and movements… It simply can’t get any better for a fly angler!

This pattern is a favourite dropper pattern of mine from May through October and is extremely effective when the fish are cruising high in the water. I think the main reason that its so effective is that it represents an emerging buzzer perfectly, featuring a shuck, breathers and legs – all in a relatively simple pattern – a variation of the Shipman’s Buzzer.

Although best-fished static to risers, it can be tweaked or pulled across the surface to create a wake – often the preferred way of ‘dry fly fishing’ on many of the large still waters! Simply treat the breathers and hackle fibres with floatant (my preferred floatant is the TMC Dry Magic) to ensure it floats high and visible on the water.

On a recent trip to a local pond this pattern fished as a single fly on a 12ft tapered leader, 5x tippet in a size 14 really got me out of a hole! The trout had locked on to the emerging buzzer in the shallows, my usual choice pattern (a Shuttlecock) was being completely ignored, and almost everything other than a size 14 Shipman’s was getting ignored! The trout at this pond are fairly heavily pressured, with a number of current and ex-internationals regularly fishing here – so cracking a method or style of fishing on each visit is something to be proud of! As the buzzers were hatching, they were getting stuck in a thick scummy film caused by the shoreline. A regular Shipman’s was completely lost in the scum, while this palmered pattern had enough footprint to stand in the film – once this pattern went on I caught five fully finned rainbows and a decent brown up to 2.5lb in weight.

Tying Tips

  1. Ensure to use a buoyant material for the breathers, in this case I have used Tiemco Aero Dry. This material is great for emerger type patterns as it’s hollow and floats extremely well even in a wave.
  2. Taper the body and thorax so it’s front heavy. This gives a more realistic profile to the fly as an emerger.
  3. Wind three or four turns of hackle over the thorax to create a half palmer and trim the underneath away with a scissors. This allows the fly to sit flush to the surface rather than ‘stand’ on it.

Kieron Jenkins

Born and raised on the rivers and lakes of south Wales, Kieron Jenkins has become one of the leading competition anglers of our time. With multiple ‘Brown Bowls’ under his belt, along with a creditable fourth position at World level, fly fishing and fly tying has become his life, passion and obsession for Fulling Mill’s Digital Marketing Manager.

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