Tuesday, November 25, 2014
This Alligator Gar trip, as well as the video, has been a long time coming. A lot of work and meticulous planning went into this adventure and I'm glad to say I achieved a bucket list goal of mine. I would like to sincerely thank all of my sponsors for this trip along with everyone who helped and encouraged me along with way. Without further ado I present to you one of my greatest tests of ability, will, and accomplishment....."Gargantuan".
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Tying My Favorite Crab Pattern
The reason I call this my favorite crab pattern is because I haven’t come up with a name for it yet. I have been fishing this crab for a year now and I have had incredible success. I have yet to have a Redfish refuse this fly pattern. Well, every Redfish I have made a GOOD cast to has not refused it. I will admit I have bonked a few on the head with it and they were not too pleased. Either way, this crab has caught me more Redfish than any other fly in my box, and it quickly went from “should I throw this…because it’s probably gonna fail like the others” to “Hey man tie this on, he WILL eat it.” This fly is a mashup of about 15 different patterns and it took about 12 prototypes before stumbling upon this combination. Give it a shot, and I’m confident it’ll be responsible for bringing a few flats species into your hands!
- Hook: Gamakatsu SC15 (or similar style hook) #1 – 2/0
- Orange Crystal Chenille or Estaz
- Medium or Large Lead Eyes (depending on the depth you fish)
- Pearl Palmer Chenille
- Mono Crab Eyes (I have a how to on making these in a previous post on the site)
- Craft Fur (Sand, Tan, Olive, or Orange to match the body)
- EP Fiber (same colors as the Craft Fur)
- Gold Krystal Flash
- 40# Mono (weed guard)
- 210 denier thread to match body color
Attach your led eyes right behind the eye of the hook, then attach your orange crystal chenille a little past the beginning of the bend of the hook. I usually do 3 tight wraps of crystal chenille.
Tie in your palmer chenille in front of the crystal chenille. Wrap 2-4 wraps close to one another so that the palmer chenille surrounds the crystal chenille.
Attach your crab eyes so that they lay down. I like to tie them in so that the eyes are just past the bend of the hook. It helps to tie these in so that the mono stem of the eyes is on the side of the hook. Cut the tag end right behind the lead eyes. (this will help even out the body)
Take a clump of craft fur about the width of a pencil and tie it in so it extends about 2 hook lengths past the bend of the hook. If you want to add bars to the fur, it is easiest to do so now.
Tie in a decent size clump of gold crystal flash (about 15 strands or so). You can pull out 5 strands and fold them over 3 times to save crystal flash. Cut them so they extend about ¾ of a hook length past the bend of the hook. It wouldn’t be a redfish fly without a little GOLD!
Take a clump of EP fiber about 3” long and about half the width of a pencil, DON’T USE TOO MUCH. If you use too much EP fiber, by the time you get to the eyes the fly will be too thick and won’t swim right. Tie the clump in figure 8 style as shown. Tie it in as if it were a pair of led eyes. Make sure you get it tight against the crystal flash tie in point so there aren’t any gaps. It helps to add a drop of glue to this tie in point, that way the EP fiber won’t pull out and it won’t twist on you.
Repeat step 6 all the way to the lead eyes of the hook. Tie in clumps of EP fiber one in front of the other until you reach the lead eyes. When you reach the lead eyes, capture about a 3” piece of 40# mono behind the eyes. Pass it over the eyes and through the eye of the hook. (this serves as the weed guard, this is an optional step)
I like to call this the rule of thumb. Trim the EP fiber off of each side so that it is symmetrical and circular. Trim so that the fly isn’t much smaller/larger than a quarter or in this case for me… the width of my thumb.
And you’re all done! You can trim the weed guard so when it lays down it just barely nicks the hook point. I sometimes dirty up the body of the fly with a brown sharpie just for effect. You can tie this fly in many colors, my favorites are Tan, Olive and Blue. It’s a fun and easy fly to tie and it doesn’t take too long. Most importantly… IT CATCHES FISH. Cast this fly in front of feeding fish, passing fish or use it as a search pattern. Swim it, hop it or drag it. It hasn’t seemed to matter to0 much for me, fish see it and fish EAT it.
Making Mono Eyes for Crab and Shrimp Flies
Crab Eyes. Do they make a difference in the fly for this fish? Who knows, but I know they look good and I know I always hated paying 5-10 bucks for a dozen 2” long pieces of monofilament. As it turns out… they are really simple to make, and in the long run you can save a ton of money depending on how many crab flies you tie!
- 40 pound test Monofilament
- Red Nail Polish (or whatever color you wish the base color of your eyes to be)
- Black Nail Polish
- Hard as Nails (Clear Nail Polish)
- Clear Cure Goo Thin or Loon UV cure Epoxy
- UV Curing Light
Place a small amount of your UV cure epoxy onto a sticky note or a piece of paper of some kind (just so it doesn’t get all over everything)
Dip the tip of your monofilament into the Epoxy and allow it to begin to drip off of the end of the mono. Right as it is about to drip, light it up with your UV light and it will harden up and form a solid ball on the end of the mono.
Take your red fingernail polish (or whatever color you chose) and brush the epoxy ball until it is fully covered in the color. Be sure to try and keep the polish only on the ball of epoxy and not down the mono. Let it dry.
Take your black fingernail polish and just barely brush the tip of the colored ball, making pseudo pupil just to contrast against the other color. Let it dry.
Take your clear nail polish and brush over the entire epoxy ball. This serves as the seal and keeps the colors from scrapping off and also removes any excess tackiness from the epoxy. It may help to do 2 coats just to make sure, but I usually don’t. It also gives the eyes a nice shine.
And that’s it! You can make up a bunch of these at a time and it actually helps to do each step with multiple different pieces instead of only making one at a time. That way you can make hundreds of these things in about 30 minutes! Quick, Easy and they come out looking just as good if not better than the production ones you buy. Also you can choose the colors! I like the red/black, chartreuse/black, pink/black and orange/black.