Yabba Yabba Hey!

Tying realistic patterns is an exercises in observation

Although I don’t fish with 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.

024 Morphology of a crayfish.jpg

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.

Cover the hook shank with a foundation of tying thread
Tie in a bunch of bucktail 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 whipings 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 whipings with varnish
When tying in the claws the ends of the E-Z body tubing can be flattend with flat nosed plieres first
Now you can tie up all the walking legs. Befor 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 faceing 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
Spinn 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

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