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The Velcro Crab
By Jeff Pierce - AKA "Dr. Fish"

The Velcro Crab is another simple fly to tie that is very effective on a wide range of species and is ultra durable. I have Velcro Crab's in my fly box that have caught over 40 fish and still look great.

Materials List: Velcro Crab

    Hook: Mustad Signature All Around hook from a size 2 to 4/0 (S71S SS). The Mustad Signature Circle Streamer (C71S SS) is also a very good hook for this pattern..

    Thread: Danville Flymaster Plus in White.

    Body: Loop Velcro.

    Legs: Rubber legs / Silly Legs cut to length and knotted.

    Claws: Rubber Band cut to length and knotted.

    Eye's: 50lb monofilament cut and burned.

    Head: Rabbit strip in Red

Tying the Velcro Crab

    1. Start behind the eye and wrap a base of thread back to the start of the bend.

    2. Tie in a small clump of tan PolyBear or Antron or Sea Fibers extending out past the bend the shank length.

    3. Tie in a small clump of tan PolyBear or Antron or Sea Fibers extending out past the eye the shank length.

    4A. Double over a piece of adhesive backed loop Velcro. Trim a piece that when opened up appears to be a flattened 8.

    4B. Peel back the adhesive backing and stick the Velcro to the hook shank.

    5. Now it is time to prepare the guts and add them to the body.

    Legs - Cut 4 pieces of rubber legs to a length of 1 inch. Tie a single overhand knot in each piece just slightly off center.

    Claws - Cut 2 pieces of rubberband to a length of 1 inch. Tie an overhand knot in each piece so that the knot is about 1/3 of an inch from one end. Trim the shorter leg to look like a pincher. You can use markers to color the claws to match the local species.

    Eyes - Cut a couple 1-inch pieces of 40lb or 50lb monofilament. Use a lighter to burn one end of each piece to form an eye. Use a pair of pliers to form a 90-degree elbow inch from the other end. This will help hold the eyes in the body better.

    6. Ever order stuffed crab at a restaurant? Well, now it's time to stuff your own. Place the legs into the adhesive. Place 2 legs on each side of the crab, next to the hook shank. Position the legs so that the legs will angle down. Now you can add the claws and then the eyes. I like to add a little PolyBear, Antron or Sea Fibers between the eyes to act as the mouthparts.

    If you are trying to imitate a Blue Crab you can add one extra set of legs on body on the opposite side of the hook shank. These legs are the swimmers so wide rubberband can be used effectively.

    You can also insert a rattle at this time if you wish. This had proven very effective when targeting Redfish in stained water.

    7. Peel the rest of the adhesive backing off and fold over the top of the Velcro body and press firmly.

    8. Use markers to color the crab so that it closely resembles the crabs in the area you will be fishing the fly. You will be surprised just how finicky the fish can be, refusing crab flies that are not colored exactly like the local prey species.

Fishing Suggestions:

The Velcro Crab is a very effective pattern for many saltwater species as well as a few freshwater species. I have had great success with the Velcro Crab on Tarpon, Bonefish, Permit, Cobia, Dolphin, Triple Tail, Bluefish, Striped Bass, Redfish, Jack Crevalle, Snook and well as others.

This is primarily a cast and wait fly. Better than 90% of the time I'm fishing the VC I cast the fly and let it sink without any action. The fish will take it on the sink or as it rests on the bottom. Stripping the fly will often spook the fish. If you watch how a crab reacts to an approaching fish you will see just what you need to do. Generally, if a crab is moving along the bottom and it spots an approaching predator it will freeze and attempt to blend into the bottom. If that fails to work, it usually stands its ground and tries to defend itself.

So, if a fish approaches your fly it's best to let it sit or give it a very, very slight strip, just enough to move the crab a tiny bit. If you strip the fly too much or at the wrong time it may appear to the fish that the crab is coming at them and this will spook them as this is not normal crab behavior.

If a fish passes by or over the VC without reacting I have triggered some strikes with a couple short, quick strips. This has been especially effective with Striped Bass. This can also trigger a strike after a fish inspects the fly and refuses it. Just be sure to wait to strip the fly until the fish has turned off the fly, not while they are looking at it.

I've had great luck with this fly-casting around shrimp boats that are culling catch. Jack Crevalle, Redfish, False Albacore, King Mackerel, Tuna and Sharks till all take the fly under these conditions. Casting the VC to a piece of floating debris is also effective for Tripletail and Dolphin. Whatever species you target with the VC you will be very happy with just how well it holds up. It's nearly impossible to destroy the fly.

Tie up a few for your next saltwater outing and be ready for some action. Happy tying! ~ Jeff Pierce

About Jeff Pierce:

Jeff Pierce, AKA "Dr. Fish" is the Sales Manager of Fly-Fishing Products for O. Mustad & Son and Partridge of Redditch. When not in the office, he can be found chasing fish wherever possible. Whether it's Sailfish off Borneo, Payara in Brazil or Brook Trout in the Adirondack Mountains, you can bet that Jeff is no doubt casting flies as something that will bend a rod.


For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.


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