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How to Tie Crayfish/Crawdads
Jeremy Huntís Hybrid Crayfish
Recipe: Hook: Di-Riki 700b size 4,6 Thread: 6/0 Uni- thread color to match body Mandibles: Spanflex SX4 color to match body Antennae: Sili legs (speckled flake) Claws: Barred squirrel (Wapsi product) Shellback: Swiss straw Body: SLF (Dave Whitlock) The crayfish color blends Legs: Grizzly Hen saddle Rib: UTC wire size (BR) Tail: Swiss straw Weight: .25 lead wire
Secure the lead on the bottom portion of the hook shank. I do about twelve wraps of .25.
Tie your thread at the bend of the hook and do enough turns to get the thread started. Cut the tag end off.
Cut two strands of span flex and tie them in at the bend of the hook. Notice how long mine are. You can trim the excess off or tie it in around the hook shank. I like to cut mine off. Make sure the antennas are cut even at the tips.
This is an easy technique to learn if you donít know it already. It doesn't show you how to do the step so I will try to explian it. Fold the sili legs around the thread. Youíre going to hold the bobbin with the other hand and the hand holding sili legs youíre going to hold it while turning the bobbin around the shank. Keep tension as you go around with the bobbin (thread). By making that first turn around you will see the sili legs slide down the thread as you make the turn. The sili legs are going to be on top of the hook shank once you've made a complete turn with your thread. You will be able to adjust them once you tie them in. You will notice that they are sticking straight up . Go ahead and wind on top of them once you have tied them in. This will force them to lay back with the spanflex.
Cut a strand of swiss straw to the length of one fold on the cord. Poke one end of the swiss straw through the hook point. Make sure that when you poke this through the swiss straw youíre at the end of the swiss straw. If you poke it in the middle of the swiss straw you will not have enough for the shell back that goes across the whole fly. You also will have a tail hanging off the back with the same piece. This step is kind of complicated at first. Since you donít have a lot of excess swiss straw to tie in around the shank after you poke it in the hook point, I have noticed that you have to make sure with the first wrap that it grabs all the swiss straw when you go to tie it in.
If youíre going to add eyes now is the time to do so. I donít mess with them so I skip this step all together. Now dub a little ball of SLF dubbing around the thread. You donít need a lot, just enough to make the pinchers flare out when you tie them in.
You will need to cut two pinchers the same length using squirrel. This is a newer material, but you can find this in shops now.
Tie in the squirrel strips right behind the little ball of dubbing make sure that you really tie them in securely and butt them up to the ball so you get that flare from the pinchers.
Split the barbs evenly on each side of the feather at the tip section of the grizzly hen saddle and tie it in with the tip end of the feather hanging concave to be palmered up to form the legs later. Note when tying the feather in make sure not to wrap any of the barbs that form the legs when you start to wind the feather forward. Tie in the feather where you split it.
Once you tie in the feather and it is hanging off the back, form the dubbing loop. You will need to make a fairly good loop because you will need a lot of dubbing to fill in the loop. I like to make the loop about three to four inches long. And you will fill that whole loop with dubbing. Make sure you donít put too much in one area. You will need to spread it out evenly.
Spin the dubbing with some kind of dubbing twister. Once you got the loop tight and dubbing secure, tie it around to form a small to big and back to small tapered effect. Tie it along the whole half of the shank until you get to the first bend in the hook. Which is the middle section of the hook. That is key to the fly. That is your main reference point to proportioning the fly correctly. Palmar the hen saddle forward to create the legs. I do about four to five turns until I get to the middle of that first bend on the hook.
Cut a piece of wire. Tie it in at the bend in the middle. After you have tied in the wire go ahead and advance the thread up to the other half of the shank where you see all the lead wire and tie that in. Build thread dams on each side of the wire so it doesnít slide or move, make sure that you donít push your lead to close to the eye or you will not have any room for the swiss straw to be folded over and tied in. Always Leave a space of metal showing between the lead and the eye. Advance your thread back to the middle where you see the bend.
Grab the swiss straw, fold it over, and tie it at the bend in the center of the hook. You only need to tie it down with two to three turns. If you tie anymore you definitly start to see your thread wraps on the outside of the straw.
Fold the swiss straw back after you make your two or three wraps. Go ahead and dub the fly up and make a smooth even body all the way up to the eye.
Fold the swiss straw over the dubbed body and tie it down at the front of the eye.
Wrap the wire up until you get to the eye and tie it off. Do about six to seven turns of wire and you should be at the eye. If youíre not itís because you wrapped the wire to tight to the next wrap. Make your angle bigger and that will fix the problem.
I donít like to use scissors to cut the wire. Make sure you use dull or bad ones. Or you can move the wire back and forth fast and it will break off from the heat of moving it. It will make a clean break with no tag end hanging. Fold the swiss straw over and tie it off. Whip finish the fly.
With some curved scissors cut the swiss straw to make the tail the right length. Brush the bubbing out along the tail part.
Note: I epoxy the whole swiss straw to make a nice shell back plus a durable fly that will not tear apart. I also like to brush out the dubbing on the under side with a dubbing brush (if you have a gun cleaner wire brush that works the best).
Finish Product!! Notice the dubbing and how it looks brushed out.