background

Monday, March 4, 2013

Crayfish Fly Patterns

Confession....I have only used crayfish fly patterns a couple of times.  The first time, a large fish broke me off just a few seconds after the hook-set.  Crayfish are a great food source when fish can find them, so I keep looking for better patterns to tie...with plans of eventually fishing them.

Last week I was searching the web for fly patterns for Largemouth Bass, and I ran across a pattern that REALLY caught my eye.  Although the colors are different, as near as I could determine that pattern is called May's Clearwater Crayfish.  I couldn't find a recipe or tying instructions, only pictures on the Orvis website, where they are sold.  Here's a screen capture of the one that I saw in a video that originally caught my eye (its the one on the far right):

The Orvis website shows this:


I did the best I could with trying to figure out how to tie the pattern, and made some material substitutions.

Although the pictures appeared to use a 60-degree jig hook, I used Mustad 32756 90-degree jig hooks.  The first one I tied on a #4 hook.  I made my own eyes for these.  On this one, I used Turkey as the carapace.
Really doesn't look much like the original.  Hey, it was a first attempt!  :)

Next, I tied one on a #1 Mustad 32756 90-degree jig hooks (#4 and #1 were the only sizes I had).  For this one, I used brown Furry Foam for the carapace:

I tied up a 3rd one, also on the #1 hook, and once again I used Turkey for the carapace:

I compared the last two:
I like them both.  The Fuzzy Fur is easier to work with, and a softer feel for the fish.  But I like the mottled color of the Turkey carapace.

Here's a comparison of those crayfish (which as you may have noticed do NOT have claws, but are still unmistakably crayfish), and some of Missouriflies.com "Rough Dub Crayfish" that I tied (if they don't look good, its my fault).  My Rough Dub's are smaller in overall size than my May's Clearwater's.  The Rough Dubs also have claws, and are MUCH quicker to tie.  I like them, too.


I'd still like to figure out how to tie them so they look like the one on the right side of the 3rd picture in this post.  For now, I like the May's Clearwater AND the Rough Dub crayfish patterns....so I guess I will keep tying a few of both.  And then hopefully I can try them out on the fish later this year!

10 comments:

  1. Very nice ties for experimentation. In his book "Trout Foods and their Imitations", Dave Whitlock recommends tying crayfish without the claws, because they would be an easier meal for predatory fish. You should check out Whitlock's "Near Nuff Crayfish" pattern if you haven't seen it before. It has claws, but not terribly large claws. Dave came up with that pattern long before he wrote the book I mentioned above. I admit that I have only caught a few fish on true crayfish patterns. However, I've caught a whole bunch of fish (both bass and trout) on over-sized woolly buggers in crayfish colors (rusty brown) with sili legs. I would assume that's what the fish think they're eating when they go after that type of bugger.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am with you, I greatly underutilize crayfish patterns as well. I really like the 3rd pattern you tied. Probably my favorite out of the bunch.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That was great for the effort, the search. the results! i am of the maybe mistaken opinion that very realistic imitations give the fish too much to see, where as a rough imitation gives the fish just enough and no negative options. I'm very interested in how you do with these! Those with Furry Foam are ones i'd use I'm sure.

    Gregg

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very nice patterns. I like the Crazydad myself.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Gregg,
    I really do believe there is great merit in your statement about avoiding ultra-realistic patterns. Folks have suggested to me to just keep it simple by using a Woolly Bugger in a crayfish color.
    Its just that the pattern that caught my eye looked like it would really be fun to fish. Maybe I just fell for the marketing of one of those patterns that catch more anglers than fish? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love realistic patterns, don't get me wrong. I was struck long ago in an article by Ted Trueblood who was out catching his friends in one of our lakes on his Otter Shrimp, simplicity in itself. His friends were using typical shell back creations. His explanation was that there were no negatives to his fly, in essense just a simple silhouette. Still, your flies are something I'd like to know their success on.

      Gregg

      Delete
  6. I highly recommend you look up a crawdad pattern called "creek crawler." Ive been using it for a couple years now and it has become my go to river fly. I even landed a large flathead with it below saylorville last summer. It really is a blast to fish with.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Its really great to see your blog on fishing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Dave,

    I really like the looks of that crayfish patten on the right side of your main blog screen. I don't know the name; just says "crayfish pattern". Looks great. I hope it fishes as well as it looks!

    I just tied up some crayfish patterns this winter. I have never fished one, though. The one I tied is called Kevin's Simple Crab. It is VERY impressionistic, but looks like it fishes well. Seems like a practical pattern as there is not a lot to it, is a pretty quick tie. Guide Kevin Feenstra from the west side of Michigan came up with it. I'm sure a google search will show a picture. I may post some pics of mine tied during this never ending winter.

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, Dave! Yeah, that crayfish you are referring too...lets call it my version of a May's Clearwater Crayfish. I didn't have a recipe, so just tried to do my best based on a picture I'd found.
      I kind of like to tie crayfish patterns...they are somewhat complicated, but look COOL. I have rarely fished them, however. Probably because with the effort involved in tying one, I hate the thought of losing one on a snag! :)

      Delete