Email a Friend Andersonís McCrab
By Jason Akl

This life-like antelope hair crab pattern brought about a revolution in new and effective permit patterns to hit the saltwater fly fishing world. Originally designed by George Anderson, one of America's best-known fly fishing experts and owner of the world-renowned Yellowstone Angler in Livingston, Montana; the McCrab is a relatively simple pattern that uses special materials to repeated dupe permit into biting.

Permits are the ultimate trophy species for fly anglers. They are strikingly beautiful and live in places where the water and sky are hard to tell apart. These fish have acute eye sight and refined hearing combined with the urge to be constantly on the move. They are unpredictable in mood and direction. Permit are bottom feeders and even though much of the food consumption happens in shallow crystal clear waters, they are very hard to observe due to their cautious behavior. It is a very well known fact that permit feed on crabs and it is this dietary delicacy that Andersonís McCrab counts on to fool these finicky fish.

The McCrab fly pattern has a few key features that allow it to accurately imitate real live mud crabs. First the pattern incorporates a set of lead eyes into its construction to cause it to act like a crab digging in to hide when it is stripped along the bottom. The antelope hair used for the body of the fly provides special buoyancy to this pattern to help it flutter for a second or two when stripped by the angler. The spun hair also helps to simulate the hard spiny texture of crabs shell in the fishís mouth, giving anglers a few extra precious seconds to set the hook. Lastly the rubber legs and the coloration of the pattern add to the overall fishy feel to the fly.

To fish this pattern cast the fly ahead of tailing permit and let it fall and rest on the bottom. If no fish immediately pursue the fly strip the pattern in with short strips of line allowing the fly to erratically touch down with the bottom and kick up debris. If the permit comes over for a closer look, and happens to pick up the fly quickly set the hook. If not, hold still and don't try to retrieve your fly until the permit is well past it.

Permit are among the most challenging of fly rod game fish found anywhere in the world. If you are fortunate enough to get the chance to fish for these finicky critters take a chance and fish a few McCrabís it might just be the fly that helps put a bend or two in your fly rod.

Tie this fly is hook sizes 4-1/0.
Andersonís McCrab
Step 1 1. Start this fly by placing your hook upside down in the vice and securing it in place tightly. Attach the thread to the hook shank and advance the thread down the shank until you reach the point above the barb. At this point tie in 4 strands of pearl crystal flash and fold the tag ends over so that they extend off the back of the hook with the other 4 pearl strands. On top of the flash tie in a small bunch of tan marabou so that all the tips are even. Onto the sides of the tail tie in one hackle tip so that it blends in with the tail fibers.
Andersonís McCrab
Step 2 2. Clip and clean a small pencil sized portion of antelope hair and spin it on to the hook shank. Stack three bunches of antelope hair then tie in a set of elastic legs (2 rearwards one towards the front).
Andersonís McCrab
Step 3 3. Spin another large bunch of antelope hair then tie in one of the mono eyes. Again spin one bunch of antelope hair and then tie in another mono eye. Spin one more bunch of antelope hair and tie in the last set of elastic legs. Continue spinning antelope hair until you reach just behind the hook eye (In this photo it is hard to see the legs since they are shorter then the antelope hair.)
Andersonís McCrab
Step 4 4. Tie in the weighted dumbbell eyes at the rear of the hook eye and whip-finish the thread. With a sharp set of scissors clip the top and the bottom of the fly flat. Curve the outer hairs of the fly to form the circular shape of the crab shell. While cutting the antelope hair be careful not to clip off any of the elastic legs. With the black pantone marker color a set of black dots onto the top side of the fly.

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Click photos to enlarge
Andersonís McCrab
Products for this fly:
Tiemco TMC 811S Hooks
Danville's 3/0 Monocord, Waxed
Wapsi Select Marabou Plumes (12 Piece)
Krystal Flash
Whiting Hen Capes - Silver
Wapsi Lead Bar-Bell Eyes
Wapsi Selected Exotic Hair
Wapsi Sili-Legs
Wapsi Prisma Marker Pen
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