Two of my favorite flies for creek and river fishing are the Mardi Craw from Living Waters in Round Rock and the Rio Getter from Matt Bennett. I like coming up with my own fly patterns so I wanted to create something that could be used interchangeably with these flies. So this past spring I set out to come up with something unique. After fishing it on two different trips to the Hill Country (covering seven different rivers) and several trips to the Paluxy, I pretty much have all the kinks worked out and am ready to share it.
I am naming it the Hill Country Craw since that is where I first caught fish on it. The body and tail of the fly is based on the tying technique that you use for the Tabou Caddis, a great caddis emerger that is not only fun to tie, but is also the first fly I ever caught a trout on during a trip to Estes Park, Colorado in 2015. Tying the Hill Country Craw is pretty simple, but for a better explanation of the tail and body technique, you can watch Tim Flagler's video of the Tabou Caddis
Jig hook (size 10-14)
Slotted tungsten bead (sized to hook)
Small ultra wire
Whiting Coq de Leon or Brahma Hen Soft Hackle with Chickabou
Senyo Fusion Foil LegsStep 1
Pick a piece of the Chickabou from the pelt and tie it in at the rear of the hook, leaving a very short tail. Do not trim off the excess. Step 2
Staying at the rear of the hook, tie in the rubber legs, leaving two legs on each side of the hook. Also tie in the wire at the rear of the hook and then tie it all the way up the shank of the hook, leaving the thread right behind the tungsten bead. I really like the Fusion Foil Legs (in both the copper/green and copper/red) since they add a bit of flash to otherwise drab flies. Step 3
Using hackle pliers, grab the end of the Chickabou feather and gently twist he feather into a loose rope. Palmer this up the hook shank, tying off behind the head. Next, palmer the wire up the book shank and tie off. The feather is not super tough, and without the wire the flies tended to not be very durable. It will look a bit messy but that is OK. Step 4
Select a soft hackle and tie it in behind the bead and wrap it like you would a traditional soft hackle. Whip finish the fly and cut the thread. Step 5
I like to trim the rubber legs where they are just a bit longer than the tail. I think this makes it more likely that the fish will eat the fly versus just nipping at the legs.
I have tied this fly in five different colors so far and during my trip to the Hill Country two weeks ago I caught fish on each color. I tie it in sizes 10-14 and find sizes 12 and 14 are probably the best producers. Additionally, the Chickabou feathers from Brahma hens are not really long enough to tie a size 10, but work great for the smaller sizes. The soft hackles on the Coq de Leon pelts are a bit large for the size 12 and 14 hooks but if you use this technique
you can make it work. Clockwise from bottom left, with the color names used by Whiting:
Coq de Leon Speckled Chartreuse (size 10), Brahma Tan (size 14), CDL Speckled Brown (size 10), CDL Speckled Orange (size 10, Brahma Golden Olive (size 12). I have some Brahma Mottled Gray and CDL Speckled Salmon to experiment with next, but I haven't tied with them yet.
In my trips I have caught numerous species of sunfish, Guadalupe bass, largemouth bass and Rios so I think this fly is a keeper. I typically have been fishing it with slow strips and hops along the bottom, but have also tried swinging it in the current like you would a traditional trout soft hackle and it works that way as well.
Also, during the recent trip the fishing on Friday was canceled due to the massive cold front that blew threw. Wet wading with air temps in the low 40s, 30 mph winds and rain didn't sound too fun. Anyway, since I was trapped at my campsite at South Llano River State Park and had my fly tying gear with me, I came up with something else new at the request of my father who was accompanying me on the trip. This one hasn't been fished much yet (I haven't used it at all) but my dad did catch some spotted bass, bluegill and longear on it yesterday. Since he caught the fish in Ten Mile Creek, we have dubbed the fly the Ten Mile Creek Critter. It may still undergo some modifications (I am thinking a version with a soft hackle between the dubbed body and hotspot would look great) but it does catch fish in its current form. Materials used on the fly below:
Jig hook (size 14)
2.8mm black slotted tungsten bead
Brown 10/0 thread
Brassie ultra wire - Chartreuse
SLF dubbing - Sculpin Golden Brown
Haretron Dubbing - Burnt Orange
Micro Grizzly Rubber Legs - Root Beer
Whiting Coq de Leon Rooster Cape (for the tail)
Tying it is is pretty simple. Tie in the tail fibers and wire at the rear of the hook, then dub a thin body and palmer the wire up. Tie in the rubber legs behind the bead and dub in a hotspot to add flash and push the rubber legs back.