Published Sep 16. 2012 - 11 years ago
Updated or edited Mar 17. 2018

Martin's Mundane Crazy Dane

A slight variation of an really old fly of mine, which again was a derivative of Bob Nauheim's famed Crazy Charlie. It's simple and really mundane, and simpler than the already very simple original!

Mundane Crazy Dane with GP - The red golden pheasant feathers form a nice red body
Mundane Crazy Dane with herl - If you want a darker body peacock herl is perfect for any saltwater fly
Mundane Crazy Danes
Martin Joergensen

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 - This Crazy Charlie is actually just as close to the Crazy Dane as it is the the original Crazy Charlie, which used calf tail or hackle for the wing, and not flash
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

Step 2 - start thread

Step 3 - eyes

Step 4 - secure

Step 5 - upside down

Step 6 - GP feathers

Step 7- strip

Step 8 - catch feathers

Step 9 - pull

Step 10 - tighten

Step 11 - trim butts

Step 12 - underwing done

Step 13 - thread forward

Step 14 - Krystal flash

Step 15 - fold over

Step 16 - cut open

Step 17 - measure length

Step 18 - tie in

Step 19 - fold back

Step 20 - tie down

Step 21 - wrapped

Step 22 - whip finish

Step 23 - trim thread

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
Pattern type: 
Warm saltwater fly
Martin Joergensen
Kamasan B170 size 6-4
Tying thread
Black 6/0
Bead chain or dumbbell depending on availability or desired weight (dumbbells are typically heavier)
A couple of red golden pheasant breast feathers long enough to just cover the hook point
Underwing (alternative)
A couple peacock herl
Four straws of pearl Krystal flash folded over 2-3 times to create a small bunch
Skill level/difficulty: 
Very easy
  • 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 1½ 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

Step 25 - done - The finished Mundane Crazy Dane
Martin Joergensen

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