Step-by-Step Photo Instructions on How to Tie “Tabou Daddy Crayfish” Fly
Tabou Daddy Crayfish Recipe:
Hook: 3x streamer hook. A size 12 is used in this example.
Weight: Lead wire
Head: Hareline Dubbin Rusty Brown Ice Dub
Pinchrs: A grizzly dyed brown rooster soft hackle with chick-a-bou pelt. (See step 3)
Legs: Grizzly dyed brown rooster soft hackle (Woolly Bugger style)
Eyes: 0.012" monofilament
Body: Hareline Dubbin Rusty
Making monofilament eyes is quite simple. Cut a piece of mono to 3 inches. Burn both ends with a lighter until the mono balls up and turns brown. Be careful as mono has a tendency to want to turn into a fireball and before you know it you’ll have nothing but a ball of burnt mono. The trick I have found to be most effective is to practice a few times before settling in on making sets of eyes. Get accustomed to how the mono burns and balls up. Don’t place the mono in the yellow part of the flame, place it in the blue part–the hottest part. Dab the mono in and out of the flame to prevent it turning into a raging fire ball. After a few practice tries, you’ll get the hang of it. Be sure to leave an inch or more of mono between the eyes. Once the burnt mono has cooled, dip the ends in black model paint and let dry overnight. I have found model paint to be quite durable and thick enough to form a perfect tear-drop shape around the burnt mono ends. Other paints may work well too, just ensure the paint isn’t too runny, as this will prevent a good tear-drop shape from forming.
Step Two: Preparing the Materials
Legs: From the sides of the pelt, you’ll find long hackles perfect for woolly buggers–these are soft hackle spade feathers. Pluck one to be used for the legs. Claws: Just above the chick-a-bou section of the pelt (middle of the pelt), you’ll find some chick-a-bou that isn’t quite fluffy like chick-a-bou and isn’t quite a spade feather. Pluck two of these to be used for claws. You can even use fluffy chick-a-bou feathers if you prefer. It really doesn’t matter. The point is to select two feathers that will simulate the claws nicely. Speed tying tips: As in all my patterns, I am a big advocate of preparing many materials in advance to speed the tying process. For this pattern, I tied the lead on a dozen hooks in advance, I made plenty of eyes the night before and plucked all the feathers I would need for the claws and legs.
Tie some lead wire the same diameter of the hook shank (or slightly larger) on the TOP of the hook. This acts as a “keel,” and ensures the crayfish will align with the hook point upwards in the water as it is retreived. Alternatively, you can wrap the lead wire around the hook for more weight.
Using the Ice Dub, dub a fairly large sized ball of dubbing at the intersection of the straight shank and bend of the hook. This helps splay the claws and eyes outward.
Just behind the dubbing, tie in one of the claw feathers so that it splays slightly upward away from the hook point at about a 45-degree angle. If the feather has a curvature, ensure the curve is going outward.
Tie in the other claw feather on the other side of the dubbing ball.
Just behind the dubbing, tie in both eyes so they point downward and extend just past the bend of the hook. Use the dubbing ball to help splay the eyes to the left and to the right.
Just behind the dubbing, tie in the spade feather by the butt.
Dub the entire length of the hook shank with the Ice Dub. Create a tapered body by dubbing from thickest to thinnest as you dub to the hook eye.
Palmer the spade hackle to the hook eye and tie off. Try to palmer the entire feather on the hook shank.
Trim all the hackle from the hook point side of the hook. This is the top of the fly, so we won’t need leggy hackle there.
Now, trim the hackle completely from the back half of the fly, leaving 2-3 palmers of hackle remaining to create the legs.
Notice how the claws and eyes along with the tapered shape of the body make these crayfish look realistic. The palmered hackle when trimmed, also gives a nice segmentation look that a real crayfish has.