Martin's Mundane Crazy Dane

Published Oct 18th 2012

A slight variation of an really old fly of mine, which again was a derivative of Bob Nauheim's famed Crazy Charlie


Mundane Crazy Danes

I tied this fly many years ago, and have dug it out again because it's a good and very easy fly to tie - and it produced fish back then and can do so again in its mundane version - which is actually very much like the original...

A Crazy Charlie derivative
It is essentially a Crazy Charlie variation, and I won't try to hide that fact. That classic bonefish fly has been the inspiration of a ton of flies, and when I tied the first Crazy Dane it was also inspired by Bob Nauheim's fantastic fly. On the other hand you will never be able to tie a fly with eyes and an upside down wing, that won't be declared a copy of Bob's original fly.

Crazy Charlie derivative

The Crazy Charlie is a suggestive pattern that was originally supposed to imitate a glass minnow, but has been tied and fished as shrimp and crab imitations as well.
But I wanted something that was just a glassy and really simple, pelagic baitfish.
Back then I tied it on a larger and thinner hook, I left out the tail but kept the body using tinsel and larva lace in stead of the mono used on the Crazy Charlie, and I tied flash on top of the wing rather than the calf tail or hackle wing that was found on Nauheim's original, which was called the Nasty Charlie when tied with hackles or the Crazy Charlie when tied with calf tail.

Same, same, but different
For the latest generation of the Crazy Dane I haven't actually changed much compared to the first ones I tied more than 10 years ago, which already played very well with the idea of simplifying patterns to become mundane. I have left out the body. It looks good on the original, but loosing it has only changed the fly a bit.
I have also scaled down the hook and now use the Kamasan B175 that I have vowed to use in my mundane flies, but a larger and just as accessible B170 would get it closer to the first ones I tied many years ago. For this pattern I want the weight, so B175 it is and a size 6 is fine for the size of fly I need the most.

Wing options
I used the ever present golden pheasant for the first flies I tied. That was what I had, and it added exactly that bit of color that I wanted to suggest gills, intestines or just a dash of arbitrary red.
In some later variations of this pattern I have opted for the just as useful peacock herl, which in my eyes adds to almost any saltwater fly and is a natural choice for this type of fly. I simply pluck a couple of herls in bits to get the right length of wing.
If you want, you can easily exchange the GP feather or herl for some kind of hair, Arctic fox, bucktail or what you have or like. Hackle fibers can also do, chickabou or even marabou.
In keeping with the simplicity original Crazy Dane I stick to the GP 90% of the time.

Step 1 -hook - Mount the hook in the vise
Step 1 -hook
Step 2 - start thread - Start the thread right behind the hook eye
Step 2 - start thread
Step 3 - eyes - Tie in the dumbbell or bead chain eyes on top of the shank. Leave a little space
Step 3 - eyes
Step 4 - secure - Secure the eyes with a few tight criss-cross wraps
Step 4 - secure
Step 5 - upside down - Tun the hook over in the vise
Step 5 - upside down
Step 6 - GP feathers - Take a couple of small golden pheasant breast feathers
Step 6 - GP feathers
Step 7- strip - Strip off the soft barbs
Step 7- strip
Step 8 - catch feathers - Take a couple of loose turns over the feathers right behind the eyes
Step 8 - catch feathers
Step 9 - pull - Pull the feather to gather the fibers and get the right length
Step 9 - pull
Step 10 - tighten - Make some tighter wraps to secure the feathers
Step 10 - tighten
Step 11 - trim butts - Cut off the excess feather butts close to the wraps
Step 11 - trim butts
Step 12 - underwing done - The underwing is ready
Step 12 - underwing done
Step 13 - thread forward - take the thread forward covering the butts
Step 13 - thread forward
Step 14 - Krystal flash - Take some pearl or clear Krystal flash
Step 14 - Krystal flash
Step 15 - fold over - You need 3-4 straws folded over
Step 15 - fold over
Step 16 - cut open - Cut the loops open
Step 16 - cut open
Step 17 - measure length - The flash is about 3 times hook length
Step 17 - measure length
Step 18 - tie in - Tie in the flash centrally over the front of the eyes
Step 18 - tie in
Step 19 - fold back - Fold back the front of the flash
Step 19 - fold back
Step 20 - tie down - Take the thread under the eyes and tie down the flash behind them
Step 20 - tie down
Step 21 - wrapped - Take few turns behind the eyes to secure the flash and then wrap it under the eyes to the front, making a few finishing turns
Step 21 - wrapped
Step 22 - whip finish - Whip finish in front of the eyes
Step 22 - whip finish
Step 23 - trim thread - Trim off the thread
Step 23 - trim thread
Step 24 - varnish - Varnish over the eyes and thread both on top and bottom of the fly
Step 24 - varnish
Fishing the fly
My original was made for fishing in open and deeper water.
I still tie some Crazy Danes, especially now where I fish from a pontoon boat all the time and cast over deeper water as well as trolling flies more often, just as I did back when I developed the Crazy Dane for my belly boat fishing in open, clear water.

These flies should be fished on a sinking or at least intermediate line. The fly doesn't weigh much and is easy to cast even on a light rod. You may think that sinks pretty slowly, but thanks to being as sparse and slim as it is, it penetrates the water easily and does get down.
I also simply troll the fly while sailing. It's very visible and can attract fish on a fair distance even in unclear water. Pulling the fly fast through the water or trolling it, induced some surprisingly violent and wonderful strikes back when I started using it.

It's supposed to fish upside down and will if it's tied as prescribed. It sinks with the hook point up thanks to the placement of the "wing" and won't snag easily if you strike weed or rocks on the bottom.

Martin's Mundane Crazy Dane
TypeCold saltwater fly
Martin Joergensen
Year of origin
Very easy

HookKamasan B170 size 6-4
Tying threadBlack 6/0
EyesBead chain or dumbbell depending on availability or desired weight (dumbbells are typically heavier)
UnderwingA couple of red golden pheasant breast feathers long enough to just cover the hook point
Underwing (alternative)A couple peacock herl
OverwingFour straws of pearl Krystal flash folded over 2-3 times to create a small bunch

Tying instructions
  • Start the thread just behind the hook eye
  • Form a base for the eyes
  • Tie in the eyes on top of the hook shank leaving some space up to the hook eye
  • Turn the hook upside down in the vise
  • Take the thread to just behind the eyes
  • GP version
    • Strip the soft barbs off a couple of red golden pheasant breast feathers
    • Lay the feathers together aligning the tips
    • Take a couple of loose turns over the stems to hold them flat against the underside of the hook shank (now top of the upside down hook)
    • Pull the stems until the barbs have a suitable length and gather to a small round bunch just reaching into the hook bend
    • Take a couple more tight turns of thread to secure the feathers and flare them a bit
    • Trim the surplus stems and barbs
  • Herl version
    • Take a couple of peacock herl and simply rip off the stiff base
    • Rip the rest of the herl into 3-4 piece each depending on length
    • Align the tips and tie in just behind the eyes so that the tipe just reach into the hook bend
    • Trim the surplus herl
  • Take the thread to the front of the eyes covering the underwing butts
  • Fold over 3-4 straws of Krystal Flash one or two times to get about double the wing length
  • The final overwing should be about 1 times the hook length
  • Cut the ends open. The wing doesn't have to be very even
  • Take one end of the bunch in each hand and catch the thread, pulling the bunch into the latest thread turn
  • Pull the bunch to the top of the hook shank under the thread and secure with a couple of wraps
  • Bend back the front part and tie down both parts behind the eyes
  • Wrap over the flash and maybe form a small head in front of the eyes. I don't mind a bit of flash being visible over the eyes
  • Whip finish and cut thread
  • Varnish over eyes and thread

More Mundane
These are the articles in the Mundane series:

Your flies?
Do you have new patterns that follow similar rules or ides for flies that fit the Mundane principle?
Let us know. Contact Martin through mail and your fly can become a part of the Mundane Fly Project. You can read more about submitting patterns in this article.


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