Shea Gunkel’s Shot Glass Baetis

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Photo by Bob Reece

Photo by Bob Reece

By Bob Reece

Baetis Mayflies are an integral piece of the food web in many trout inhabited watersheds around the world.

While their physical size is minimal, their population numbers can be immense.  These significant numbers frequently draw the attention of feeding trout.  These periods of responsiveness can take place during any month of the calendar year, depending on the characteristics and location of the body of water.

The wide spread nature of this insect should be a significant indicator to fly fishers as we make decisions regarding pattern selection for our fly boxes.  I believe that it is essential to dedicate at least a portion of our available fly inventory to this small but significant bug.   In our current world of fly fishing the market is filled with various Baetis imitations.  Through my extensive time on the water, I have found one, year round producing pattern that I believe to be in a class of its own.  Shea Gunkel’s Shot Glass Baetis.

When Baetis nymphs reach maturity, they buoy their way to the surface with the help of a small bubble of gas.   Gunkel’s pattern takes this key element into account by applying a transparent glass bead in the thorax of the pattern.   This transparent component placed in the anatomically correct location, perfectly matches the food profile seen by feeding trout.  Additionally, the thin profile of the abdomen, downward tucked tail fibers and clear coat on the fly’s dorsal surface; round out a pristine pattern that satisfies the most selective trout.

Gunkel spent years tweaking and adjusting this pattern before it became available through Umpqua Feather Merchants.   The only aspect of the pattern that he doesn’t claim is the name.  That piece came from the creative genius of his wife.  Since the pattern entered the marked it has proved its effectiveness worldwide, claiming trout in the waters of Colorado, Prague, New Zealand and beyond.  I view it as an essential Baetis imitation that should be in the fly inventory of all serious fly fishers.  Take the time to tie or buy this bug and add a difference maker to your fly box.

To buy your Shot Glass Baetis patterns click on the link below.

To follow Bob Reece on Instagram click on the link below.

For how-to tying videos, rigging tips and more check out the link below.

Bob Reece
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Shea Gunkel’s Shot Glass Baetis

  1. I was interested in watching the video to see the intricacies of the pattern and possibility of learning something new, but I couldn’t get through the first 30 seconds because of the music. Can’t you just do a tying video without the added garbage?

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