Tying Captain Keith's Crustacean Fly

Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast FlatsThis is my favorite fly for fishing our flats.  redfish eat it up!  Now you just need to be prepared to cast it the distances required for our spooky fish!

 
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Website Created by Keith Kalbfleisch
Copyright © 2001 Saltwater Adventures of Central Florida. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/20/12.

Tying Captain Keith’s Crustacean Fly

Introduction

I designed this Crab/Shrimp pattern to tempt the Redfish and Seatrout in the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon of Central Florida.

These waters are very shallow with a large amount of sea grass and other vegetation, so I wanted a fly that would be very weedless, yet catch a fish’s attention easily.  The fly had to look like a crustacean in general, but not be too specific—I wanted it to imitate as many edible marine critters as possible.  This fly has performed the job admirably, is rugged, and is relatively easy to tie.  However, it is definitely not pretty!  Here is a step-by-step explanation of how I tie my “Crusty Crustacean”.

Click on any picture to make it larger!

MaterialsFly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats

Hook: I use a Mustad style 34007 in sizes from 4 to 2/0—my standard is a number 1  or 1/0

Thread: Bright Chartreuse or Orange

Eyes: Brass (shown) or lead eyes; burnt mono eyes (I make mine with 20# hard mason then dip them in black enamel)

Body: Ersatz or Chenille—medium, in brown or green; Zonked squirrel strip in olive or brown

Claws: Trimmed Zonked squirrel strip in olive or brown

Weedguard: 20# Hard Mason monofilament

Cement: Flex Seal or Flexament

 

Steps

After sharpening the hook, tie in the Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flatsweedguard, wrapping down halfway along the curve of the hook.

Tie in the brass or lead eyes to the top of the hook.  This will be the bottom of the fly, assisting it in riding hook-point up.  I am showing brass eyes for very shallow water, but lead eyes will help in deeper water.

Cut two of the squirrel strips into one-inch lengths.  Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast FlatsSelect even, thin strips.  I use primarily olive, but natural and brown also work well.

 

 

 

Trim the hair along the skin, leaving a tuft on the end as the “claw”.Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast FlatsFly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats

 

Do both strips:

 

 

Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast FlatsTie the strips on the rear of the hook so that they are “fuzzy” side towards the hook point.  They should also be spread to each side. 

As an option, I will sometimes add a rattle at this point, tying it against the hook touching the eyes.

At this point coat the wraps with cement to make the fly more durable and keep the eyes in place. 

Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast FlatsFly for fishing Florida's East Coast FlatsTie the ersatz/chenille to the rear and wrap towards the eye.  Leave the thread at the rear of the hook.

 

Rotate the hook to a point-up position.  Take a one-inch piece of the squirrel strip and tie the end to the rear of the hook.

 Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast FlatsFly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats

Wrap the thread towards the eye, tying down the squirrel strip as you go, keeping it straight on the hook.  Finish it by tying the strip and chenille down at the head.

Not only does this strip give an impression of legs, but it also acts as a keel, assisting in keeping the fly riding hook-point up.

Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats

 

Tie the mono hookguard to the head, making sure you give it enough slack so that it will bend enough for the hook to set.

 Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats

Now bend the mono back and tie it down.  This keeps the weedguard from pulling loose.  Trim off the excess.

 

 

Tie in the mono eyes to the sides of the weedguard.  These not only give a crustacean appearance, but also act as secondary weedguards.

Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats

Build up a nice head so that the color of the thread shows.  It seems to catch the fish’s attention.  While building the head, I like to run some turns of the thread behind the mono eyes to help them stand up.

Whip finish and trim off the thread.

Apply cement not only to the head, but turn the fly over and put cement halfway out the claws.  This stiffens up the base of them, but leaves the “claw” to wiggle in the water.

The finished fly is very effective on our crab and shrimp eating fish, and I’m sure would be as effective on other shallow-water species. Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats

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Fly for fishing Florida's East Coast Flats