Having filled my flats fly box to capacity with Gotcha’s, I have started looking into other flies I should be bringing along. I read an article by Craig Matthews (the article was on www.flyfisherman.com, but is only available on the cached view from Google) where he was talking about the stomach contents of those unfortunate bonefish that, while on the line of an angler, become half landed fish and half ‘cuda or shark snack. Turns out those fish mostly have their stomachs with them when reeled in and those stomachs, almost always, have crabs in them.
Davin from Flatswalker.com and my buddy Shane Kohlbeck both had recommendations for crab patterns to tie.
Davin recommended Merkins or Rag Crab patterns. I found a great tutorial for the Merkin from Quest Outdoors.
Now, that’s a good looking bug, er, crustacean.
Here’s a YouTube tutorial…
My fishing buddy Shane recommended a Merkin or Velcro Crab. Velcro? That sounded pretty interesting. Fly Anglers Online has a great tutorial on the Velcro Crab.
I was looking around for tan velcro, but I see that this is actually tied with white velcro and colored. So, I’ll be heading back to Walmart tomorrow.
UPDATE: I went to Walmart and picked up 15′ of white velcro and a set of Caribbean Color (I’m not making that part up) Sharpies. Here is my first attempt… I think I’m going to enjoy this pattern… at least how it looks, we’ll see if the bonefish enjoy it as well.
UPDATE #2: This fly has the tendency to spin on the hook, but I’ve come up with a solution that seems to help. I simply tied one or two sets of the plastic eyes on the back of the hook before putting the Velcro on. Those T’ed the hook and made it pretty much impossible for the fly to spin. You could also use a short section of cut wire (think paper clip) (That was a dumb idea… would rust quickly… don’t do that). Superglue added just before you close the Velcro sandwich also seems to help a lot. I’ve also switched the colors of the crabs to more of a gray. After looking at some pictures of swimming crabs (in Dick Brown’s bonefishing book), it is seems they really aren’t brown.
UPDATE #3: I threw a couple of these into water and found two things… 1. they didn’t sink well unless totally soaked, and 2. it was 50/50 for them landing correctly (point up). I talked with Shane about this and he, of course, had the solution… trim the fuzzy velcro on the bottom of the fly. The fuzz catches air and makes it not sink well, but if you trim that on the bottom… well… it will land correctly. He also crushes lead barbell eyes and puts them in the pattern… have not done that yet, but that would work too.
UPDATE #4: I’ve taken to putting some UV Knot Sense (or the Rio product, which is pretty much the same thing) on all the bits and pieces (legs, eyes, pincers) and putting the UV lamp on it before superglueing it closed. This seems to be increasing the durability of the fly.
While searching the tubes of the internets for crab flies I ran into this…
That has to be the crabbiest looking fly I’ve ever seen. The main reason for that would be that it is tied with… crab. Some really good looking crabs (including the crab crab) on StripersOnline here.
I’ll be tying up some crabs in the weeks to come. I hope the cast of The Deadliest Catch doesn’t knock the door down.