Saltwater Fly Fishing In The United Kingdom

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Carl's Crab .

This is a fairly easy way to make crab patterns that doesn't include a whole lot of tying. Its more like model making!

What you'll need.

  • Black or brown thread 6/0 or similar.
  • Epoxy (I use Z-Poxy becasue I can get it in large amounts)
  • Paper and felt tip pens
  • Grizzled hackles
  • Heavy dumbell eyes
  • Old fly line (I'm using Rio T14 sinking line here for extra weight, but any will do)
  • Mustad 34007 hooks in size 1 or 1/0 (depending on size of crab tied)
  • Cocktail sticks (for mixing Epoxy)
  • Superglue

To start off, we need to get artistic. If you plan on making these it pays to make them 10 at a time so it's a lot less work. If you plan on making more than that it mak help to make a little cardboard template so you get your shells the same size each time.

Step 1

Take your template and draw 10 shell shapes (carapace) on the paper and colour them in as required.
NB. I usually do 5 light and 5 dark and fish the dark patterns over light ground and light patterns over dark ground. Let your inagination run wild with this! You can leave blank paper patches as a white fleck.

Step 2

Mix enough 5 minute epoxy to do all 10 shells to a thickness of about 2mm Using a cocktail stick, fill in the outline and centre to about 2 mm deep and let them set. The shape the epoxy takes is the shape of the shell so be careful but work quickly enough so the Epoxy doesn't go off before you finish.


Cut out the shells you've made around the outside of the Epoxy and place to one side.

Step 4

Start thre thread on the hook (hook right way up) and tie Dumbells on the top of the shank at the front.

Step 5

Take three pieces of fly line running line (the thin stuff) and cut 3 pieces to about 6 to 10 cm long. Bend each piece to the shapes above and lay out as shown.

Step 6

Glue each piece in place leaving at least the width of the hook shank between them (important!) Its usually easier to set them up and then apply the glue once they are in place. one spot usually does it. Only glue them in the centre.

Step 7

Take a matching pair of grizzled hackle points and pluck out the tips leaving a claw shaped end on each. measure them up to the hook and strip the barbules off and tie in so then are about 3 cm long.

Step 8

Turn the hook over and tie in so they are at 90 degrees and in the centre of the hook shank with the point of the hook on the top.

Step 9

Take your finished shell and legs and superglue it to the hook so the hook shank is between the middle and back legs.Tuck the Claws under the front legs so they point out straight. (this is why you only glue the legs in the middle)

Step 10

Place the hook with the glued on shell on the bottom of the shank and mix some more epoxy. Have a spare piece of foam handy so you can place them in it to dry as you do the next if you are doing 10 at a time. Cover the entire bottom of the shell in epoxy going right to the edge of the shell and getting in between the legs. No need to build it up too high, just make sure it's covered. Let it dry.

Step 11

The profile of the finished crab, from the side, should look like this. Trim the legs to the right proportion. The longer you leave them the less the crab will spin in the air when casting. Fish the fly on a sinker along the bottom for best results or tie it without dumbells of you want to fish it dead drift in rough water. either way it is easy to cast.

Step 12

And that's it, you have crabs!

Happy tying and if you have any problems, We're in the Forum
Tight loops.


Carl Hutchinson


Carl Hutchinson is a qualified instructor with the EFFA and FFFUSA and runs saltwater fly fishing Mullet with He is a member of the 55 yard club and current Roxtons International Saltwater Fly Casting Champion and has fished extensively in many saltwater locations and specialises in saltwater fly fishing for Salmon in Canada.





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