Schminnow Snook Fly Step-by-Step

Schminnow Snook Fly Step-by-Step:

New materials, new tying styles and countless derivations of classic flies seem to result in ever more complex patterns. And while many of these surely catch fish, there’s something to be said for simple flies.

Far less time consuming, and often easier on the wallet, these patterns tend to prove their worth time and again.  Perhaps not as dazzling as their more complicated counterparts, they prove their worth on the water and become mainstays in many of our fly boxes. Such is the case of Norm Zeigler’s Schminnow.

At once a shrimp and a minnow, this simple pattern can be tied in a matter of minutes and has proven appeal to fish species across the globe.  Originally designed to target snook along the crystal clear beaches of Sanibel Island, Florida, the pattern has since caught 60+ species (per Zeigler’s own count). 

And with a trip to SW Costa Rica scheduled for the not too distant future, it should come as no surprise that more than a handful of these flies will soon be finding their way into my fly box.   

Gamakatsu SP113L3H (#2-6) 70 Denier (White) Bead Chain (Med.; Black)
Materials Marabou (White)Materials Krystal Flash (Pearl)Materials Ice Chenille (White; Medium)
Materials UV Resin or Flex Seal

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Schminnow Snook Fly Step-by-Step Tying Instructions:

(Mobile Viewers: Click images to enlarge)

Tips and Tricks

  1. Hot Spot – Consider substituting chartreuse thread for white to create a thread head hot spot.
  2. Weight and Depth – While I utilized bead chain in the tutorial above, Norm Zeigler’s original tie utilized lighter monofilament eyes. Either will suffice in most situations, but keep water depth and sink rate in mind as you decide which to utilize.
  3. Color – While Pearl/White is the classic color combination for the schminnow, don’t overlook other color variations. Pink & Tan patterns are both suitable shrimp mimics. Likewise, don’t overlook an all chartreuse version. Back in my spin fishing days, few lures caught more snook and sea trout than a chartreuse Mister Twister.

Proof of Concept

While Costa Rica is still a few month’s off, I’m hopeful this pattern will prove its worth nearer to home in the coming months. Beyond the aforementioned sea trout, this pattern tied slightly smaller seems perfect for the local crappie and white bass.

Stay tuned to see how things work out.

Tight Line!


Species Caught on the Schminnow Snook Fly to Date:
  1. Largemouth Bass
  2. Spotted Gar

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4 thoughts on “Schminnow Snook Fly Step-by-Step

    1. Thanks, Jim. That’s one I still need to check off my bucket list. Not sure it’ll happen this year, but I’ll be sure to bring some Schminnows along when I finally do.

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