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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Shades of shad and molecrabs #13274758 09/08/19 11:59 PM
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Bones72 Offline OP
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Did these up in anticipation of next years sandbass runs. I might be a little early. I kinda picture running two or three of them on a six or seven foot leader with clousers placed about twelve to eighteen inches apart on three feet or so of tippet. It would be sort of like the shad darts I remember back home.

[Linked Image]
Then there are these . Still trying to perfect a technique for doing them. The step are easy enough but there are variables working against doing the same thing every time. McFlyfoam can be the same length and width and still those fibers seem to go where they want. Any deviance in the pressure in the thread wraps or just how it is held to carve the shape out gives a variations. They are still fun even if time consuming. All steps go quick until its time to make the shape. You'd think that would go quick a few snips or cuts and there should be a crab. Its not a complex shape but it can get out of hand. I have a dozen or so new flies in the coffee can collection for recycle. I started dipping the ends of the chenille legs in fingernail polish to help with fraying. The larger
chenille seems to want to shed even when melted back.
What are ya'll tying?

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13274922 09/09/19 02:36 AM
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Those look good to me and almost certainly would catch fish. I am convinced all of my flies are perfect until I have to start trimming, then everything seems to go wrong at the same time. I have never tied up patterns like that using McFly Foam but I like using EP Fibers or Congo Hair. It seems to be fairly forgiving.

The Clousers look good as well. That is a lot of what I have been tying lately since I have been heading up to the Red River each weekend to chase striped bass. They are eating little bitty shad so these are being tied on size 6 and 8 hooks, and using beadchain since I am only fishing in a few feet of water. In addition the standard bucktail I have tied some up using black bear and brown bear, an idea I got from reading Drew Chicone's Salty Fly Tying newsletter. I also tied the bear Clousers using a new technique where none of the hair is tied in front of the eyes and then pulled back over them and tied down again. Instead, you tie the belly in along the shank of the hook behind the eyes and then tie the wing in front of the eyes like normal. Drew said this makes for a more durable fly. That remains to be seen but the striped bass like them. Also, after a few years of tying them, I think I am finally getting the hang of tying sparse Clousers. As the cliche goes, I now just take the amount of hair I think I need and then use half as much.

I also don't normally put flash in my Clousers but did on all of these. The traditional bucktail flies have Fly Tyers Dungeon Crystal Web in Polar Bear (which provides a really subtle flash), while the bear closers have krystal flash in olive (grizzly bear) and black (black bear).

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

I have also been tying up some Kreelex fly variants using Fly Tyers Dungeon Northern Flash. The one pictured is in his Sunfish color. Caught a few fish on them and they seem durable, but they foul quite a bit so some more tweaking may be required.

[Linked Image]

Finally, I tied up some of Alvin Dedeaux's Flip Flop Poppers. Tried them out for the first time over Labor Day and got a nice Bosque River spotted bass on one of the smaller ones (size 8 B10S). The larger ones are on a size 1 B10S.

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Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13274926 09/09/19 02:38 AM
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Didn't want to clog up my previous reply with this, so I am posting it in a new reply. I believe you mentioned him in another thread so you are probably aware of him, but Nick at Sandbar Flies has the best looking mole crab flies out there, plus he is a hell of a good dude even though his Tigers beat my Longhorns last night. In addition to the ones on his website, he also has a pattern called the Easy Fleasy that he has posted on Instagram but doesn't list on his site. Kind of a simplified version of his other mole crab patterns. I plan on tying some up soon. Here is a shot of it. There are some other pictures on his Instagram page.

[Linked Image]


Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13274951 09/09/19 03:22 AM
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Those are some good looking clousers. I have to get after #6 and #8 flies and some skinny ones too. Most of the stuff I have been ding up are in #2 and #4; mainly #4 and with a heavier dressing. I have seen the "high tie" method you talked about with the material all on the high riding side of the fly. Not sure about durability but it would make the fly a little more stable in my opinion, perhaps tracking better and certainly would aid in scooting across the bottom if that was called for. Kind of new to the warm and salt water game. I fly fished bass, bluegill, and pickerel growing up even caught spot, croaker, and bluefish but most of them came on store bought poppers or inventions of my own tied on bait hooks from stuff we hunted or sporadically balding family pets. For the past twenty years I have been where I could fish for trout and anything warm water was just tossed upscaled versions of those flies for the most part. I have tied Barr's Slumpbuster and Meat Whistle for warm water and trout though and they seem to have a good crossover almost like a wooly booger.

Those poppers you did look real good. I have some big surface sliders I did for pike in Colorado with a rabbit zonker tail like your using. How do you like that? Does it drag the fly down?

Thanks for passing along that shot of the "Easy Fleasy". Now to figure out the materials that go into that joker. I really like the Vlaho flies. His sandflea patterns look like they could crawl away. Really dig his hard shell sand flea and the mallard flank one is awesome looking.

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13274970 09/09/19 08:41 AM
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Nice ties there McKinneyLonghorn. I’ve seen a few of your flies in person and they are great. That Easy Fleasy looks like another winner. Drew Chicone’s ties are always interesting and look really good.

I tied up a few more borski sliders in tan. Saturday morning, the Speckled trout, mostly 13-15” with a few better, in the surf couldn’t get enough of them and with a bluefish and a couple of ladyfish in the mix, the last couple I had got pretty beat up. Seems like a had a little stash of Borski Sliders someplace, but I can’t seem to find any in tan.

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Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13275098 09/09/19 01:15 PM
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I really need to get over my aversion to spinning deer hair and get some belly hair and do some. Are you using Fararr blend for the tail?

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13275151 09/09/19 02:12 PM
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Tail is craft fur, Rainy's extra select in this case. I haven't tried the Steve Farrar Blend on a Borski Slider.

I do the tail, after securing the dumbbells, in three steps. First is a small portion of craft fur secured in, then 4 strands of thin crystal type flash, then another slightly healthier portion of craft fur over the flash.. Ends up with a cross section and profile I like better and the flash is mostly buried in the craft fur, another characteristic I like these flies to have. Grizzly hackle wrapped forward of the tail to the dumbbell. I don't like the giant grizzly hackle, but my whiting barred grizzly is about out of the smaller feathers.

When I flip the fly over in the vise after securing in the grizzly hackle, I put one not even pencil, maybe a half a pencil, diameter clump of deer belly or body hair just behind the dumbbell. That doesn't get spun and I cut most of the base portion of the hair away so that it extends a little past the hook bend and point. I want the thread to hit the clump about an 1/8 inch before the skin side end, just enough to capture all of it. put 5 or 6 hard turns around the hook to secure, all over the previous wrap. The 1/8" part will flare up and the deer hair tips will flare a bit, but it's definitely not a massive amount of material. I push the tiny flared up base end back and wrap tight with the tying thread to bend it back even more.

Only one more clump of deer hair goes on the hook, this time in front of the dumbbell. This clump is a little bigger than the previous one. I don't stack it or comb it, just cut of a little of the basal portion off and some of the tip portion off. It ends up being a 3/4" aligned pencil sized portion of hair without tips or some of the base, but even on both ends. I wrap the thread mid portion and around the hook shank so that it flares and spins, second wrap will cause the whole clump to rotate around the hook shank and even out some. then I wrap it hard over the same thread wrap plane a few times to tighten it all down. Wrap the thread just behind the hook eye several times and whip finish twice. I often have to carefully razor or use my fingers to pluck away a few stray deer hair fibers that want to crowd and get forward of the hook eye.

I put on no glue or any other thing, but just use the sharpie to mark the tail. No glue gets used on the dumbbell to secure either. No glue on this fly. I have put on a little UV in the field to do an on the water repair. Sometimes, the teeth of the fish will loosen the thread around the hook eye area.

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13275355 09/09/19 05:04 PM
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Thanks for the tutorial. I may give it a go later; I found some body hair in rust I had for a project years ago and some yellowish olive I used to use on stimulators to add some color to the wing. I definitely have the grizzly hackle I figure a hackle sized for a #8 through a #12 hook would work. I have three capes and two necks that I have depleted of all the #22-#14 feathers.

Not a fan of gluing things up either. I do use a little Sally Hansen's on some heads but absolutely hate to use CA glues. I think the fish can smell that stuff and, at least for me, a mess to work with.

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13277452 09/11/19 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Bones72
Those poppers you did look real good. I have some big surface sliders I did for pike in Colorado with a rabbit zonker tail like your using. How do you like that? Does it drag the fly down?


When I first tied these up the foam head was too tall so the fly laid over on its side instead of retrieving how it was supposed to. This time with the proportions better the fly fishes nicely. I have heard the zonker tail helps the fly ride correctly since it lowers the center of gravity. When I was fishing these in the clear water of the Bosque River the tail looked amazing in the current. Out of the water it all just laid down and looked lifeless, but as soon as it was in the water it came to life and was waving nicely even when the fly was stationary. I imagine the tail hanging down and doing its thing will help attract fish.

Also, Borski sliders are near the top of my list of flies I want to experiment with next. I am pretty good at spinning and stacking deer hair (less so with trimming) so I think I should be able to handle them, just need to mess around with them and see.

Last edited by McKinneyLonghorn; 09/11/19 03:43 PM.
Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13277514 09/11/19 04:20 PM
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Good tips about the proportions on the top water poppers. Proportions on a fly seem to be make or break decisions. I know this from my own mistakes on material proportions.

I think on the Borski Sliders, they might be like clousers where less is more. There might be a tendency to use too much of everything, deer hair, craft fur, flash. These are about as full as I dare. I use the old fashioned super thin double sided razor to trim the deer hair. They are very flexible and can be shaped into a convex shape to help trim the Borski Slider deer hair around the head. The razors Astra brand come wrapped in paper and melt through deer hair and human tissue, so be careful.

Spinning deer hair seems to be about the right amount of pressure on the tying thread at the appropriate time. I've watched several YouTube videos on it. It's something that just took me a little doing to get the hang of. The hard thing on the Borski Slider are the small SL-45 gamakatsu bonefish hooks. There isn't much room to work with so it's tough to end up with reasonably clean ties. I'd go crazy trying to make these look all the same like if I was commercially tying.

I just take my time trimming since I'm not a commercial production tier. I might come back to one and do a little more trimming later. They will still work pretty well after a series of fish work them over with hardly anything left of the deer hair, as long as the tail is mostly intact and a bit of hair remains. It helps with keeping the hackle on with a few turns of the tying thread around the hackle area after its been wrapped around the hook. Otherwise, the hackle will likely be the first thing to go on the fly when toothy fish hit it.

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13280917 09/14/19 09:32 PM
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Not shad or molecrab related, but finding a spot not too far from home that holds lots of carp has reenergized my quest to catch my first on the fly. Tied up some of Matt Bennett's Carp-it Bombs on a size 8 Allen barbless carp hook.

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Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13281617 09/15/19 05:22 PM
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Those look way cool. Not into carp though. Hooked plenty of the bugle-mouthed trout on various sections of the South Platte. Nothing like thinking you a got a world record brown just to realize its a giant goldfish. Then there were the Whitefish on the Westslope drainages to challenge your rod. I bet those would fish good for creek bass too.

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13281769 09/15/19 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Bones72
Those look way cool. Not into carp though. Hooked plenty of the bugle-mouthed trout on various sections of the South Platte. Nothing like thinking you a got a world record brown just to realize its a giant goldfish. Then there were the Whitefish on the Westslope drainages to challenge your rod. I bet those would fish good for creek bass too.


I bought some Carp-It Bombs from Matt last year and have caught bass on them but never cast them at carp. He has a video on YouTube of how to tie them so I figured I would give them a shot.

Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13281926 09/15/19 09:39 PM
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A lot of the water I fish the main forage is little bitty baitfish. Tied up these kreelex flies on a size 10 B10S using two colors of fly Tyers Dungeon Northern Flash. The color on the left is Yellow Stripe Shad, which was created after I reached out to the site’s owner and asked if he could make something that resembled a sexy shad crankbait color. From the time I sent the email until it was available on the website was less than 36 hours. Can’t beat that for customer service. The other color is called Olive/Orange.

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Re: Shades of shad and molecrabs [Re: Bones72] #13282324 09/16/19 10:12 AM
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wow that is very cool and those are some good looking flies.

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