Skittal Mantis Shrimp

Get the best qualities of a Zonker fly pattern in a lifelike shrimp pattern.


If you want a shrimp pattern that really moves in the water and appears to have lots of life, this is the one. An almost Zonker style shrimp pattern, the ubiquitous rabbit fur on the pattern pulsates in the current and literally breathes with life. Any fish that likes a shrimp is likely to eat this fly. In tan.
Sizes 2, 4, 6
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Skittal Mantis Shrimp

The Skittal Mantis Shrimp: Catches more fish - big time!

Permit are legendary for being one of the toughest fish to catch on a fly; fooling them isn’t exactly fishing for pumpkinseeds off the dock.

When you spend time and money on a trip to the tropics, you do everything you can to catch that memorable fish. You book it for the height of the season and practice your double haul. You stalk the flats on a day of calm water and direct sun. When you spot the permit of your life, you make the perfect cast with your best crab pattern. The fly settles to the bottom. The permit chases. You twitch the fly. The permit investigates and… snubs it. Races off. Gone.

You - as we’ve all done - forgot that you can cast perfectly on the best waters all day and without the right fly you’re still out of luck.

The Skittal Mantis Shrimp is that right fly. That’s right, shrimp. How is a shrimp pattern better than a crab?

Well, the huge advantage the Skittal Mantis Shrimp is that you cast out and strip, and keep stripping it. Your fly is not sitting there waiting to be nosed, inspected, and, maybe, if all works out, inhaled just long enough so you can try to set the hook. When you fish the Skittal Mantis Shrimp, permits strike it as it moves, and hookup is almost inevitable.

Yes, permit love crabs. But you have to make the fly move at the precise speed of a fleeing crab, stop it at the perfect time and let it settle, then keep just enough slack so the permit won’t feel the line, but just enough tension so you can hook up, all while jacked up on adrenaline. Twitch too much or too little, or at the wrong time, and that permit is gone. It happens far more often than not. To compound things, permit inhale and exhale anything that feels wrong in their mouth faster than you can set a hook. A lot faster.

Bottom line, you’ll hook a lot more permit with the Skittal Mantis Shrimp than with the best crab pattern. And when you get only a few chances per trip, you’ve got to capitalize.

Recently, Andy Petherick, co-editor of the UK’s Today’s Flyfisher magazine, fished with Will Casella, manager of Ambegris Caye in Belize and inventor of the original Skittal Shrimp. Andy has fished around the world, but had yet to hook a permit. The Skittal changed that. He’d fished a few days using crab patterns to no avail. Poor weather hadn’t helped. Early on he’d heard rumors about a great new fly. On his last day, Will showed Andy the Skittal Shrimp. Will had recently caught five permit on six casts with the Skittal, light years from the hit-and-miss rate of crabs.

The two set out after permit with the Skittal Shrimp. As Andy says, “We’d been going for ten minutes and Will spotted a pod of permit. He cast a Skittal, allowed it to settle, and started slowly stripping. A permit gave chase. Will sped up the retrieve and the fish nailed the fly. He set the hook and, after a battle, landed the fish.

“About twenty minutes later we saw a huge shoal of about one hundred permit, ranging from four to thirty pounds. I cast to them, the fly landed about six feet short. I allowed the fly to sink and started my retrieve. A fish broke and took the fly — at last a hookup with a permit! While I was playing the fish, Will cast at the shoal and hooked up! Two fish on the Skittal at once. I landed my fish and got back into position. But clouds came in, making spotting impossible.”

The day and the trip was over for Andy. But after fishing around the world and missing a heck of a lot of permit, he’d hooked up on his first go round with the Skittal.

Later, his buddy Barry Unwin, who took the original Skittal and developed it further into the Skittal Mantis Shrimp, brought a dozen of the flies to Mexico. “Members of the group pounced on the flies!” he tells me. “They loved it. It accounted for several permit during the trip, and countless bonefish. The great advantage is that you cast out and strip. The permit chase it and hookup is all but guaranteed, if a bonefish doesn’t grab it first! Exciting stuff.”

The Skittal Mantis Shrimp will make for some of the most exciting permit (and bonefish) fishing for you, too. Buy some today to find out just how exciting.

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  • Skittal Mantis Shrimp $2.75
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