This is a step-by-step of the Tarantula Prawn fly that I, based on Neil Rowe’s experience with tan EP fibre prawn imitations, used very successfully to fool spotted grunter and steenbras (see: Prawns in Tandem) in a Western Cape estuary. The articulated fly is a simple tie; it is made from a tan Enrico Puglisi Tarantula Hairy Legs Brush (1″ wide) of which the flash was removed:

Step 1: I’ve selected the Mustad 34007 stainless hook in #6 because it simply doesn’t rust and it will make the fly last longer.


Step 2: Wrap white thread to the bend of a Mustad 34007


Step 3: Tie in an EP Tarantula Hairy Legs brush (of which the flash was removed) above the bend of the hook.


Step 4: Wrap the brush to the hook eye and tie off; colour the thread with a tan marker before varnish is applied. This will now be the articulated end bit of the fly.


Step 5: Start as with Step 2, but tie in a piece of 30 lb fluorocarbon and loop the articulated end bit of the fly onto the fluoro and tie the fluoro off along the length of the new hook shank. Apply varnish and leave to dry – this will strengthen the looped fluoro so that a hooked fish won’t easily pull the fly apart.


Step 6: Tie in the second bit of the EP Tarantula Hairy Legs brush.


Step 7: Wrap the brush to the hook eye and tie off – basically repeat step 4.


Step 8: Trim some of the spanflex rubber legs under the fly and around the hook eye’s to create a neater, slightly tapered, completed fly.


I have a theory that the triggerfish we sometimes see cruising the surface or circling each other in mid water may fall for a slow sinking or more neutral buoyant fly like the Tarantula Prawn. I once felt hits on a large, dragging streamer while wading the wave zone of St Francois atoll; I pulled the fly closer to me and to my surprise, a large yellow margin triggerfish carried on biting the fly on the surface right next to me. This made me realise that triggerfish readily snack on things swimming near the surface and they may find a swimming shrimp/prawn irresistible?

It is worth trying to fool triggerfish swimming near the surface or in mid-water with slow sinking or neutral buoyant flies with lots of movement, like the Tarantula Prawn – Photo by Fred Davis

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