Time² (Mantis) Shrimp - by Chris Mihulka
Fly tiers face a new, but fun, challenge every time they visit a local craft store. When looking through new products, the question of "How can I use this?" is always at the front of my mind. That is how the Time-Squared Mantis Shrimp came to be.
One of these outings turned up a new material that is a woven core with fine Mylar extending from the out. In my opinion, most fly tiers, including myself, were fish in a previous life, because items like this suck me right in. Luckily the store had it in several ‘fishy’ colors. Once home, the material usually sits on the tying bench while my mind waits for inspiration, but this time the material perfectly fit a problem I had been working on.
Several friends had been looking for a better shrimp imitation for some flats fishing on the Gulf Coast. I went to work to try and imitate the fine, wispy properties of the shrimp as they scour the bottom looking for food, and then become part of the food chain themselves. A bit of marabou and the eyes helps with drag and stirring up the bottom while stripped. I added a few legs for extra movement and realism to imitate their walking legs and antenna, and then put the Mylar material on for the translucent body.
The water tests were excellent! As were reviews from the “front lines”, but the pattern needed a name. I sat staring at it for weeks. Finally a name for the light fly with a lot of flash came to me while watching the New Year's Eve party on TV. Before the ball dropped, I saw lights and a lot of flash, so the fly watching me from the bench became the Mihulka Time Square. Somehow in translation, or typesetting, it became Mihuka’s Time². Now it is a staple flats fly for all anglers fishing Bonefish, Permit, Redfish, and other similar species. Give it a try on your next trip to the salt. See my other pattern of similar design in the series named the Mihulka Red². It is a close design, but heavier.