January 12th, 2004

Prehistoric Shrimp-Shape
By James Castwell

This may or may not be fact, but it might be close. From various nebulous sources there has been news lately of a long extinct ancestor of our modern-day shrimp. This was a fresh water creature and was distantly related to a large family of exoskelitials. Many of our present day shrimp type creatures are descended from this long 'lost' common source. The major difference was that they absorbed oxygen through the sides of their abdomens (as do most mayflies today). The major family split and this 'Airos-absorbicus' went on as did the Neanderthal.

These small invertebrates were indigent to the streams and lakes where many of our trout specie of today are now found. Over the millions of years, due to the high fat content of these shrimps, the trout fared extremely well and proliferated. This was in direct relation to the numbers of shrimps. Time was on the side of the trout though, in the end he was the perserverer.

As the numbers of shrimps dwindled due to the growth rate and exhortbisism of fish, the shrimps went into overdrive and, as is often the case in nature, their population exploded. However this only offered more food for the trout and caused the ultimate total demise of the whole class of shrimps.

This is of importance to us fly-fishers because of the deep-seated relationship of the 'shape' of the now extinct shrimps. If one envisions our modern shrimp, you will notice some similar elements of build. They both had tails which turned down, a thin body, and when at rest on the surface of the water (air breathers, remember) the front claws were help close together and hung down.

Over the eons our trout developed a keen instinct for them and so solid is it that in thousands of articulated tests, trout would often take an artificial fly when it was attached to a shape resembling those shrimp. This testing was performed on the surface, in the surface, in mid-stream and on the bottom. The tests, done on secret for many years now, have shown that both day and night, all seasons of the year and at any stage on the trouts development, the 'shrimp-shape' often will elicit an uncontrolled feeding response in trout of all ages, specie and size.

This should put to rest some of the nay-sayers of the, "How the hell do ya account fer the damn hook on yer flies?" Not only does the hook look remarkably like the now 'Shrimpus-extinctus,' it allows the tied fly to be presented almost as if it had a dab of bait attached. ~ James Castwell

Till next week, remember . . .

Keepest Thynne Baakast Upeth

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