Crabs live on the bottom; we all know that. So its no surprise that most crab flies are heavily weighted. In fact some are even a bear to cast. But, hey you want the crab fly to get down fast. Right? But does that mean an unweighted crab fly is no good? Hardly.
When fishing in skinny water for “tailing” redfish (or bonefish) you’ll likely need an unweighted crab fly. Why? The fly has to land silently or you’ll spook the fish. And a weighted crab fly invariably lands with a “kerplunk”. What about the sink rate you ask? Given the water is apt to be no more that knee deep, you simply give the unweighted fly a second to settle before starting your retrieve. Not a problem. If you’re fishing in water between knee and thigh deep, you add a bead-chain eye or a small lead-eye to speed up the descent. But avoid a very heavy fly, unless you can lead a cruising fish by at least five feet or more.
I’m going to use this fly on “tailing reds”. It rides a size 2# hook with no added weight. The tail is Craft Fur Select. The body is Woolly Chenille. It has black “EP” mono crab eyes. Since “reds” often “tail” in turtle grass, I’ve added a 30lb mono weed guard to avoid getting snagged up at the last moment. I hate when that happens.
Yes, the fly has rubber legs too. (Don’t leave home without them.) In the past, I attached rubber legs back by the bend of the fly. Now I always tie them in towards the eye, for two reasons. This spreads the legs and allows for more action. (Sounds like a sex flick) Second, after a fish or two the legs tend to break off. Tied in at the eye, they are easy to replace.
Lastly, I’ve deliberately make this fly to look both crab and shrimp-like. In other words its more impressionistic, than realistic. In the end I’ll let the fish decide.