As in Marty McFly of Back to the Future fame, as in a crab tied with McFly Foam… It’s just that simple.
We’ll start right off with the recipe/tying notes.
Hook: Gamakatsu SC15, size 2
Thread: White flat-waxed nylon
Eyes: medium bead chain
Tailing: Sili legs, splayed a little, color at tiers discretion
Body: McFlyFoam, spun a bit almost as if your were doing an egg pattern and trimmed to shape
Tying notes: Tie in bead chain eyes, advance thread to rear of hook and tie in 5-7 sili-legs of your choosing. Tie in clumps of McFlyFoam again in colors of your choosing, whip finish and trim to shape with scissors. I like to make them very small – diameter about half that of a dime, and sometimes just a bit elongated rather than perfectly round. Pick up various bits of clippings and butt-fluff from the floor and place in little ceramic hand-made bowl (see Installment 2 section on Bonefish Stew dubbing blend…)
Obviously not an original, but a hybrid of a fleeing crab (legs extending beyond hook bend) I saw in Dick Brown’s book, and what I think is called a Rainy’s crab which introduced me to the use of egg yarn/McFly foam for the body. They are actually pretty quick to tie, albeit the haircut can take a bit. And I have to be honest, one of the reasons I tie the legs out back is because it makes everything easier, and I love easier…. The legs can be left a little longer, and thereby wiggle a bit more, and best of all, when trimming the body to shape, I don’t have to worry about unintentionally clipping them off! And how would a fish know which side of the hook the legs should be on? So really, it just becomes a fun session of picking different colors until I get something that pleases my eye and is applicable for the location I’ll be visiting.
Here is one thing I’ve found odd when I've shown guides a crab fly. Most of them tend to turn up their noses at them… see Scott's post on this here. And if I do manage to sneak one onto my tippet, as soon as it is discovered, they start looking for a reason to get me to change. I could throw a gotcha right on the nose of a half dozen fish that clearly snub it before I hear a word from the guy with the push pole. But sure as hell, the first time I cheese a cast and land Marty in the next zip code such that there is no damn way the fish had any idea that it was around, I’ll hear it from the guy back on the platform, “…he refused it, I think we oughtta change da fly…”
|Crabs… elaborate, time costuming to tie, and noisy to present!|
But when some of those fish want a crab fly, man oh man, do they ever want it. On my first trip to Crooked, my brother, Clinton and I had waded thru a shallow creek into a big bay. There was a fish up real shallow, I mean half his back was out of the water and he was just slowly cruising along. Clinton’s attention was diverted to untangling his feet from my brother’s fly-line, and as I was off about 50 yards to their side, I took the opportunity to turn my back to them, pull my hat a little lower, and surreptitiously tie on a crab. As it turned out, the fish came within my casting range first, and I pitched him the crab. It landed softly about 10 feet in front of him, and given how shallow it was, I figured he’d never see it. But damn, he charged that fly like he hadn’t eaten in months. I mean just a full on, water spraying in all directions, jacked up, lit up, bums rush, eruption of a bonefish… When the pointy thing found his lips, it became a full on, water spraying in all directions, jacked up, lit up, full-tilt boogie for God and country right on out the Bight of Acklins. It was the first time, maybe the only time, I’ve ever seen a bonefish take a fly in a way that I would characterize as “violent”, if not a little disturbing. And that suggested something - maybe a crab fly is worth throwing occasionally.
This one, with its intentionally small diameter and use of McFly Foam, lands much more quietly than a lot of other crab flies I’ve tied, to the point I would actually give it some hard consideration in a spooky tailers situation. We shall see next week. I don’t care if Kenny sniffs indignantly when I tie it on, I’m still going to throw it man. Marty needs to stand up to Biff and get the girl. If not, that’s okay too, we’ll just park the DeLorean back at the fly bench and figure out a new design for guides to scorn in the future…