Feather Leg Crab
  |  First Published: November 2011

Go to any estuary in any part of Australia, go to the waters edge flip over a log or small rock and you are going to find crabs.

They are the staple diet for many estuary species along with yabbies and shrimps.

In Victorian and Tasmanian estuaries you have the southern black bream who likes nothing better than to munch on the odd errant crustacean, hence the big dog like teeth on the larger specimens. I have seen schools of bream working a shoreline nudging aside rocks and then pouncing on the little critters that scurry from beneath it.

Look in any wizened old bream anglers’ bait container and you will always see crab. Because they know that the crab is going to catch them the larger fish, the small pickers will go for the easier to tackle foods like shrimp and worm.

The southern black bream is a much sought after species for the soft plastics and hardbodied lure brigade, and with good reason because they are a fantastic light tackle species.

So why not try them with a crab fly on a lightweight fly outfit. They will challenge the pulling power of a feisty Tongariro River rainbow any day. Now big bream are no gimme at any time and are often very unpredictable. One day they can be marauding smash and grab bandits and the next nibble away like a church mouse on a crumb of cheese.

I have two preferred spots to use this fly, the first is shallow sandy areas with broken patches of weed and rock, and the second are the rocky banks and break walls found on many estuaries.

In the sandy areas cast the crab to the areas between the weed and rock, let the fly settle then slowly retrieve with a figure eight with the occasional short strip, you will be able to polaroid the bream as they dash from the cover of the weed and rocks to hammer or gently pluck the fly depending on their temperament on the day.

On the rocky shores I like to cast the fly to the edge of the rocks or structure and let it slowly sink, often it will be snatched before it gets near the bottom. If the water clarity allows you can polaroid as you retrieve the fly and make it scurry over the top of rocks much the same as the real thing, a bream in the mood will find this irresistible.

Now having done the hard part and managed to hook yourself a big blue nose on your very delicate and light outfit with a fine fluoro carbon tippet at say 2kg. We’ll all I can say is good luck because you’re in for one hell of a battle, because an angry bream is a formidable opponent.


HOOK:Gamakatsu O’shaughnessy #6-10
THREAD:Olive brown 6/-
BODY: Olive foam and Velcro dot
EYES:Plastic label tags
LEGS:Sili or juicy legs olive.
NIPPERS:Pheasant church window feather
WEIGHT:Lead taper and heavy lead wire.

Place finished crabs in a container and stop them fighting.

Reads: 1642

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