By Nick Simonson
The Gotcha is another simple shrimp imitator for saltwater species that has become a secret weapon for slab crappies up north. With its shimmering krystal flash tail, gummy ribbing and flowy wing of fur and flash, the Gotcha can claim a top spot in any panfish box when spring arrives and to be without a selection of them from sizes six to two is to be without a compact, flashy offering that drives specks wild. Craft a few dozen up in the off season to be ready when the spawn hits in just a couple months.
Hook: Tiemco 3407 Sz 6-2
Eyes: Bead Chain
Thread: 6/0 to match
Tail: 6-8 Strands krystal flash
Body: Clear Larva Lace over krystal flash
Wing: Craft Fur
Overwing: 4-6 Strands krystal flash
Start the fly by laying down a thread base about halfway down the hook and securing a pair of bead chain eyes a bit back from the hook eye, providing an area to tie in the wing later at the front of the hook (1). With the eyes in place tie in a three-inch strand of Larva Lace tubing down the hook shank (2). At the end of the shank, tie in 6-8 strands of krystal flash about four inches in length to form the tail of the fly which should be about the same length as the hook; then advance the thread to the bead eyes (3).
Once secured, wrap the krystal flash forward so it evenly covers the hook shank right up to the bead eyes, tying off and trimming the excess (4). Next, flip the vise and wrap the Larva Lace forward forming a nice segmented body which allows the shimmer of the krystal flash below to shine through, going right up to behind the bead eyes where the body material can be tied off and trimmed and the thread advanced to the front side of the bead eyes (5).
At that point, select a tapered pinch of craft fur about twice the length of the hook and tie it in front of the bead eyes, forming a wing over the fly (6). On top of that, tie in four to six krystal flash strands to add just a little more sparkle to the pattern (7). Whip finish and epoxy the head for posterity and this little shrimp is ready for some big time action (8).
Vary the colors to target what springtime crappies want. Feel free to substitute heavier barbell eyes for the weight to help it get down when fish are holding deeper and to cover more of the water column. In darker patterns, the Gotcha works on bluegills and carp and can be easily customized for various other species like white bass and smallies on the fly rod. Experiment with a variety of twists on the pattern including wing material and flash to find the perfect Gotcha to get ‘em in any water!