This month’s pattern is one I developed for estuary cod along the rocky walls of the various canal developments and harbours in Southern Queensland and the Nerang River. As its name suggests, it is a quick-to-tie crab pattern.
Although I have only tested it on the local scene, it does show promise for northern species such as permit, as well as others that favour crabs such as venus tuskfish. Many of the crab patterns are fairly involved to tie but the Quickie Crab is the easiest I have ever attempted.
My initial tying of this pattern was done with the loop side of Velcro fasteners, which had been coloured with waterproof markers so they were no longer white. Occasionally you can find these in black. Although I have never had a lot of luck with black crab patterns, I am sure in some areas they are a hit with the resident species.
Crab Coins are now available from some fly tying material suppliers and these are the same as Velcro dots, which now come pre-coloured for ease of use. The tan colour used here is my favourite but they are also available in black, and in two sizes, 5/8” and 7/8”.
The legs on my Quickie Crab are Antron yarn as this is a soft material, which allows them to waft in the water, imitating the moving legs of a crab. The weighted eye is not in the actual spot that a crab’s eye would be; instead the eye is used as a weight for the fly to promote a good action as it is stripped.
I have used orange thread to affix it to the hook shank, as this colour is similar to roe, which is often attached to the crab’s body.
The claws are made from thin strips of zonker (rabbit fur) with the hair cut from the leather, leaving just the small tuft of fur at the end to imitate a pincer. This material will also waft in the current, making the crab appear active. Another option for the claw is to use Scud Back or a similar latex-type material, which could be shaped to a profile similar to a claw.
The usual way to strip crab patterns is with a single, short strip, which sees the crab rise a little off the bottom (sideways) and then settle on the bottom again (due to the weighted eye). The Quickie Crab has a lot of movement in the water due to the softness of the materials used, so it can even be drawn across the bottom with a slow single strip. This will make it move sideways across the bottom like a real crab, stirring up puffs of mud and silt as it does.
If you get follows with this retrieve but the fish are a bit hesitant to strike (as often happens with flathead on the shallow flats), give the Quickie Crab one or two quick, short strips, which will imitate the movement of a startled or fleeing crab.
(1) Put the hook in the vice and attach the thread with a jamb knot (or similar) just behind the eye of the hook. Take your weighted eye and attach it to the top of the hook shank with a series of figure eights until it is securely fastened. Whip-finish the thread, cutting away the remainder. Add a little vinyl cement to make the tie more durable.
(2) Take some short lengths of the Antron yarn and half hitch it around the hook shank as shown. The ends of the Antron should be tied in a granny knot and a little vinyl cement added to prevent them fraying. The entire six legs can be affixed with three strands of Antron yarn (four legs will be facing one way and two the other).
(3) Take a single Crab Coin and attach it to the bottom of the hook shank as shown. It is self-adhesive and will stick to the shank and Antron legs. Arrange the legs approximately as shown and lightly press the yarn legs onto the adhesive section of the Crab Coin to hold them in place.
(4) Cut the hair from a 2cm length of zonker hide, just leaving a few millimetres of unshaved skin on each end. This should be on the end of the skin where the hair is facing forward (as shown in the image). Stick the hide section of the zonker to the Crab Coin with the non-hair side of the hide facing you and the hair facing away from you.
(5) Make sure all the legs and claws are arranged evenly and then take another Crab Coin and affix it to the other one with both adhesive sides together. Push them together securely all around the Crab Coin. If you want to produce an extra durable fly then you can add some five-minute epoxy between the two crab coins before sticking them together.
(6) When turned over (as it will sit in the water) the full visual effect of the Quickie Crab can be appreciated. You can use a waterproof marker to create a mottled effect on the back of the crab if you like.
While crab patterns aren’t commonly used in Southern Queensland, in some situations they work very well. Any location where small crabs live is a likely spot to try the Quickie Crab as these are the areas where predatory fish are most likely to hunt and eat crabs.
HOOK: Gamakatsu SL12S 2/0
EYE: Real Eye large black
THREAD: Flat-waxed nylon orange
LEGS: Antron Yarn olive
CLAWS: Zonker Strip fiery brown (trimmed)
BODY: Crab Coins 7/8” tan x 2
FINISH: Vinyl CementReads: 631