This 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!
Website Created by Keith Kalbfleisch
Tying Captain Keith’s Crustacean Fly
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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
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.
Do both strips:
Tie 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.