Fly TyingLocal Knowledge

Indigenous Inspiration: Florida Crab Patterns


Call it “matching the hatch” or what you will, sticking close to local fly patterns will always yield reasonable results. A good majority of “tailing” fish like to pick up crustaceans off the bottom, especially in skinny water (on the flats or in the shallows).

Pictured above is a Baby Blue Crab, very similar to those which populate Biscayne Bay and all of South Florida. Biscayne Bay is a sizable body of water offering the best fishery imaginable. Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Redfish, Seatrout, Ladyfish, Baracudda, shark, and various types of Jacks are only a few of the species found in Biscayne that will take a fly. When it comes to fishing crab patterns, Permit, Bonefish, and Redfish find them irresistible.

Fishing crab patterns can be tricky. A seasoned saltwater fly-fisherman will tell you, there’s a fine line for making a solid cast for an approaching fish. For some fish, casting a crab pattern two feet of its nose will get the best results. For others, casting a crab pattern six feet in front of their swim path will be more effective. It’s important to remember, a crab’s natural environment is on the bottom. Fly-fishing the crab pattern on the bottom will get you closer to striking fish. Keep in mind, crabs also twitch and for the most part move slowly (smaller strips of fly-line).

Many fly-fishing experts argue the color of a fly pattern isn’t as important as moving a crab fly properly – meaning a fish is spooked more by a crab not moving the way that is should versus a crab with odd coloring.


Below are two simulations of a local Blue Crab. Namely a Merkin Crab: Pink & Blue and a Cracked Merkin Crab Fleeing: Biscayne Blue. Build your own version of a Blue Crab – the possibilities are endless. Take a look at Fly Mastery’s crab patterns to help inspire your fly tying creativity.

Questions or comments? Please feel free to reply to our posts – We will be glad to offer additional advice or information if needed.

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