Tying Crab Flies

You know, being from Philly, I almost titled this "Crab Fries"...but I was reluctant to because then I'd just start obsessing about Chickie's & Pete's.  Guess I'm obsessing anyway...

The real reason for this post was that now that I'm salty, or at least brackish, in my fly fishing pursuits, I figure I need to put some thought into tying saltwater flies.  My tying materials are definitely geared toward tiny little trout flies, so I'm kinda lost right now.  I can tie a Clouser minnow, but that's about it.

I was paging through the September/October issue of American Angler (you know, the same issue TFM's Cam Mortenson is in...), and I read a great article about Captain Gary Taylor, one of the world's top redfish fly fishing guides.  He suggests a couple of "go-to" flies in the article, and while I'm not going to give them all away here, one of them is a Merkin fly, or a crab imitation named after a pubic wig.  Not a new revelation, but always good for a 2nd grade giggle...as explained by Dr. Ed Southwick in the video below...

Here's a video on how to tie one that I found on YouTube.  The fly, not the wig, although I'm sure you could find one of those too...

So does anyone else out there tie crab flies?  What patterns do you like?  What materials should I stock up on?

What about eating crab fries?  Anybody else do that?  I could go for some right now...I miss those crinkle cut bastards.  Do you go with the white cheese sauce?  You kinda have to, right?


  1. For a minute there - just for a minute - I had this vision of a small winged insect that also had pincers like a crab. My worst nightmare. I'm glad to see we're talking fishing flies and fries. :)

    1. Considering that I live in Florida, would be surprised if there was a winged insect version as well...probably wouldn't be small though, none of the bugs are down here...

  2. Mike, I for one have it on good authority that you're never not a Philly guy. I can't lend anything useful to your quest for salt flies except go easy on the salt, doctors say too much is bad for you. And if you read this on Sunday before 2:00 PM mountain time...Go Broncos!

    1. I'm going to pretend like that Broncos / Eagles game never happened. OK?

  3. Kung-Fu Krab.

    A) it works.
    B) it has a funny name.

    1. Meets all of the criteria I'm looking for.

  4. The original Merkin was tied using Aunt Lydia's (antron) Rug Yarn. I've tied them for years. I use lead eyes rather than brass--the idea is to get it to the bottom right away. Good video, well explained.


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