The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Crayfish Master class.

Although I don’t fish with super realistic patterns, I do enjoy tying them every now and then. If you are starting from scratch, as I did with this crayfish, it takes a little time to actually work out the fundamentals, scale, hook size, proportions, materials and techniques.

I always start with a morphology  image from the visual dictionary, this gives you the basic shape, scale, body segment and leg count. Once this is established I select the materials and then try and plan the correct order to put them together. This can be rather like building a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions, you get half way and realize that you have left something out! and have to start again.


But for those of you that would like to have a go, I have photographed each step of this pattern, trying not to miss anything out and explaining each stage as I go. Although it looks complicated, its not difficult, but does take some time. You can tie it in stages tie up the legs one day, the claws another etc. So give it a go!

If you have any questions post them in the comments box at the foot of the article and i will try and answer them ASAP.

Good luck.

Hook: Mustad S74SNP # 1

Tying thread: Dyneema

Beard: Buck Tail

Legs & claws: E-Z Body coated  in Bug Bond

Underbody: Dubbing

Eyes: EP Crab eyes

Body shell: Closed cell foam coated in Bug Bond

Tail: Three Cock ring neck pheasant neck feathers

Feelers: Stripped cock hackle stems


Cover the hook shank with a foundation of tying thread

Tie in a bunch of buck tail for the beard. This should be a mixture of natural brown and white

Take some E-Z body small and medium tubing and cut to length for the legs and claws

Holding the medium tubing and tying thread end in your left hand, make the first joint. Once this is done finish with a half hitch and remove the thread for the next joint. You can coat each joint with Bug Bond or varnish as you go

Bug Bond is perfect for coating the whippings on each joint

Once you have coated the claw with Bug Bond you can cut it to shape

Now move onto the next joint

Once you have made all the joints for the left claw you can now move onto the right one

I have made one claw a little larger than the other just to give it a more realistic feel

Make sure that when you tie in the first claw that the positioning and scale are correct. once its tied in coat the whippings with varnish

When tying in the claws the ends of the E-Z body tubing can be flattened with flat nosed pliers first

Now you can tie up all the walking legs. Before you do this seal the ends by burning them with a lighter, taking care they dont catch fire

Tie in the joints of all eight walking legs

When you start tying in the legs make sure that you position them correctly as realistic as possible

All eight legs in place, remember that the two rear legs should be facing backwards

Select two large brown cock hackles and strip off the fibers to make the antennas

Tie these in as shown. If they are too long they can be trimmed down later

Spin some dubbing onto the tying thread and start at the front and dubb in between the legs, making sure you get the right thickness and taper

Cut a piece of foam sheet for the exoskeleton. This can be measured against the hook for the correct size

Place the foam in the correct position and tie in the first segment between the third and fourth pairs of legs

From the underside this first segment should now be dubbed and the tying thread moved behind the rear legs

Now make the next segment over the foam

Dubb the next underbody segment while lifting the foam

Continue dubbing and tying the segments as in stage 23 until you are finished

The underbody should now look like this

From the neck of a pheasant skin select three church window hackles for the tail

Strip of the fibers at the base of the hackles

Tie in the first tail plate as shown

The second tail plate

And the third central and on top of the first two

You can now colour the crayfish with a waterproof felt pen

Take two crab eyes and trim the ends to a point. This will help attach them to the foam

First make two small holes for the eyes with a dubbing needle in the foam. Then dip the ends of the eyes in super glue and attach

Your crayfish should now look like this

You can now coat the whole crayfish with Bug Bond

The finished beast

3 responses

  1. Armando


    March 14, 2014 at 4:14 am

    • zekietumber

      No doubt about it = You are one of the BEST out there tying at Flies and then showing how it is done with such Great detail ,, THANKS , I love this site !! Zeke

      March 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm

  2. Pingback: Crayfish Master class | the5day fly fishing blog

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