Articulated Fish-Spine™

The Fish-Skull® Articulated Fish-Spine™ is an innovative system of interconnected, articulated shanks that combine to form a multi-jointed “fish spine” upon which incredibly animate and realistic baitfish patterns can be tied.  BUY NOW!

In addition to the original Starter Pack, we have expanded this product line to offer all four shank sizes individually packaged

The future of articulation has arrived!

The Fish-Spine was co-developed with Blane Chocklett who is one of the fly fishing industry’s most forward thinking and innovative fly tiers.   By daisy-chaining a series of articulated shanks, Blane conceived of a way to impart incredibly realistic action into baitfish patterns that has until now been impossible to achieve. Multi-jointed “swim flies” with ultra-real action!  For more, watch  the video below.


Key Features:

  •  Tapered, daisy-chain effect creates life-like action.
  •  Stainless steel for saltwater flies.
  •  Sizes 10mm, 15mm, 20mm & 25mm.
  •  Individual shank size packs (24 shanks)
  •  Starter pack (6+ spines–24 shanks)

Articulated Fish-Spine Q & A:

Q:  What is a Fish-Spine comprised of?

A:   A Fish-Spine is comprised of four specially designed articulated shanks of various lengths i.e. 25mm, 20mm, 15mm and 10mm. These shanks are connected together to form a highly articulated, tapered fish spine.

Q:  What is the basic method for tying flies using the Fish-Spine?

A:  The concept is very simple. Flies are typically created in four or five sections, i.e. a hook (at front or back) plus three or four articulated shanks all “daisy chained” together to form the body and tail of the fly.

A fly is tied in segments. Each segment is tied using one of the 3 or 4 articulated shanks or the hook. Typically, a fly is tied by starting first with the tail segment and once completed, more segments are added on one at a time until you finish at the front of the fly.

To explain in a little more detail… each segment is created by tying the materials (natural or synthetic) onto an articulated shank which is held in your vise.  Once a segment is tied, the articulated shank is removed from the vise and connected to the loop of the next size of articulated shank.  In turn, this new shank is held in the vise and the materials in turn are tied onto that shank.  This process continues until the segments of the fly (shanks and hook/s) are all connected together.  The fly is then trimmed to shape and any final features like eyes or body markings can be added to finish off the fly.

Shank direction: For flies that have a hook positioned at the front of the fly (as illustrated), then the daisy-chained articulated shanks can face in any direction and it makes no difference to the performance of the fly. However, for flies that have a stinger hook positioned at the back of the fly, then the shanks will need to be positioned with the Big Loop facing towards the back of the fly… so that the hook can be slipped onto the big loop on the last shank in the chain.


If you are tying with articulated shanks for the first time, see the GETTING STARTED GUIDE for some techniques and ideas on tying different styles of articulated flies.

Q:  What hook and shank configurations are possible?

A:  Flies of varying sizes can be created by combining different hook sizes/lengths with different shank lengths.  This gives you the flexibility to create different patterns to suit your local fishery. The Fish-Spine is highly customizable. Experiment with different combinations of shank lengths, hooks and materials to create your ultimate “swim fly”!

Typically, most Fish-Spine flies are tied with the hook in front of the fly, onto which is attached the body and tail section, comprised of either three or four shanks.  An alternative is to place the shanks in front with the hook attached to the back of the fly.

Q:  What fly tying materials can be used for a Fish-Spine fly?

A:  Potentially any dense synthetic fly tying material used for tying streamers today can be used such as Cascade Crest’s Body Fur, Enrico Puglisi’s Crustaceous Brush , Hareline’s Minnow Body Wrap and similar products. Flies can be weighted or unweighted. The magic is in the spine!

A useful tying tip to get maximum action out of the fly is to use materials that are dense enough to force the water to flow around the head of the fly versus through the material. When wrapping or tying in your materials, pack it as tightly as possible.

Rainbow Fish-Spine Fly by Marcelo Morales

Q:  How many Fish-Spines do I get in a pack?

A:  There are six full Fish-Spines per pack (i.e. twenty-four individual segments).

Q:  Can the Fish-Spine be used for saltwater flies?

A:  Yes, the Fish-Spine is made of stainless spring steel.

Q:  Can the Fish-Spine be used with the Fish-Skull® Baitfish Heads and Fish-Skull® Sculpin Helmets?

A:  Yes, they can be used if you wish to tie a weighted fly.

Q:  What types of baitfish/streamer flies can be tied using the Fish-Spine?

A:  There are no real limits. Virtually any saltwater or freshwater flies that have a minnow or baitfish profile.  To see examples of fly patterns tied with the Fish-Spine click here.

 Q:  What commercially produced patterns utilize the Fish-Spine?

A:  Blane Chocklett’s “Game Changer” baitfish imitation is the first commercially produced fly that utilizes the Fish-Spine and is available through Umpqua Feather Merchants. This revolutionary pattern is the perfect example of how the Fish-Spine will enable a new generation of streamers to be created.

Q:  What other types of articulated shanks are available?

A:   Click here to see the entire Flymen Articulated Shank Family.