Bastard Crab

Published Sep 12th 2011

Yet another impressionistic crab pattern that includes materials providing a lot of movement.


Crab Bastard

An Aaron Adams design. Sample in photo was tied by Aaron on a size 4 34007 hook and measures horizontally 21/8" in length from hook eye to tip of tail and Sili Legs; carapace measures 3/4" in width. Fly rides hook-point up.

Tying notes: Aaron ties the tail full rather than sparse and makes the marabou extend beyond the bend by slightly more than the length of the hook shank. To build the body, he rolls a bunch of EP Fibers between his fingers into a strand the diameter of a piece of yarn, which he cuts into shorter pieces to then apply to the spine of the shank with crosswise tying wraps, just as on a standard Merkin. Tie in the first Sili Leg on the hook-point side of the hook shank, after applying the second strand of EP Fibers. The legs should not be oriented sideways, Merkin-style, but should be entirely on the hook point side. He does this by folding each Sili Leg in half over the standing thread and making a few wraps of the thread over the V formed by the Sili Leg where it meets the hook shank.

Location notes: Light to medium-light bottoms in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys.

Fishing notes: Aaron says, "I've had great success when using this pattern for cruising and feeding fish in knee-deep or deeper water. When cast close enough for the fish to see the fly drop, the fly is often eaten as it drops to the bottom. If the fly needs to be given some action, I find that a quick strip followed by a freefall works well, with the fly typically eaten on the freefall."

Prey notes: Yet another impressionistic crab pattern that includes materials providing a lot of movement. Crabs and other crustaceans have a high caloric content, so they offer a big bang for the buck for bonefish.

On the flats

Anecdotes: Aaron says, "I call this fly the Bastard Crab because it is my bastardization of a great pattern I picked up from Greg Vincent, who runs H2O Bonefishing on Grand Bahama Island. Greg is a fantastic fly tier, and ties some great (and great looking) flies. I used one of his crab patterns on a trip there in June 2008, and came home and tied my version from memory - not as nice a fly as Greg's, but the bastardized version is also very effective."

Bastard Crab
TypeWarm saltwater fly
Aaron Adams
Target species

HookMustad 34007; size 2, 4, 6
ThreadFluorescent (Gotcha) pink Danville Flat Waxed Nylon 3/0
Eyes Bead chain or barbell sized to hook size (extra-small for 6, small for 4, medium for 2)
Tail Clump of tan marabou (more is better than less)
BodyTan EP Fibers
Legs/wingSand/orange flake Sili Legs
HeadWrapped thread

Aaron Adams holds a master's degree and PhD in marine science and has studied marine fishes and their habitats for his entire professional career. He is director of operations for the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, as well as a senior scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory. His research interests include juvenile habitat identification; juvenile survival, diet, and movements; impacts of human-caused habitat alterations; juvenile-to-adult life stage connections; adult movement patterns; and age and growth. Aaron began fishing at the age of four, and he says he has never looked back. The line between his fishing and his research blurred a long time ago, so each influences the other. He says he's been fortunate to be able to pack a fly rod on trips to many parts of the Caribbean and that he chases bonefish and other flats species every chance he gets. He is the author of Fly Fisherman's Guide to Saltwater Prey and Fisherman's Coast.

The book

This is an extract from Dick Brown's book Bonefish Fly Patterns, reviewed on this site as well as many other places with accolade.
You can read the review here, buy the book here and read much more about Dick Brown on his own web site.

Reprinted from Bonefish Fly Patterns, 2nd Edition by Dick Brown, © 2011.
Published by Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, Guilford, CT.

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