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Tying The Covid Crab

By Clark Smyth

During this unique time in our nation's history, most of us are at home. Those of us that are fly-fishermen are sorting flies, readying gear or, in many cases, tying flies. To that end, here is a new pattern Angling Destinations' Clark Smyth has been working on since the pandemic started in late January. The fly was first used while Clark was at the Yucatan's La Pescadora Lodge in March. Clark and Hank (AD's office manager), along with the other members of the group Clark was hosting, had departed before the s*#t had hit the fan here in the states and returned the day before all flights were cancelled from Mexico to the States. As such, the fly was referred to as the Covid Crab on their trip and the name has stuck... politically correct or not.   

How do we know the fly works? Glad you asked that question because we have empirical evidence. The data was collected in the following manner: Clark was fishing with Alf Fischer. It was Alf's turn and his shot so when a school of permit was spotted, Alf and the guide jumped out of the panga to approach the fish on foot. Alf had made one cast before the school of permit saw Alf and his guide. Upon spotting them, the school veered toward the panga and out of Alf's range. Clark quickly grabbed his rod and made a cast. The permit gobbled Clark's fly and it was game on. 

It was at this moment the "Covid Crab" made its maiden voyage traveling at hyper-speed through the flats of the Yucatan. Clark said the fly used in Mexico was almost indentical to the one pictured and described below: a tan crab with chartreuse thread and white legs slow stripped on 8 foot intermediate tip line.

Here then is the how to tie the "Covid Crab" (note: this fly is a variation of the "Alphlexo Crab" made famous by our friends at Alphonse Fishing Company and originally used by AD anglers who pioneered the Seychelles in the mid-90's.):

STEP 1.  Gamakatsu Size 1/0 SL12S or similar salt-water hook, 140D tan and 140D hot-orange thread.

STEP 2.  Medium sized dumbbell eye tied just above hook point.

STEP 3.  Second dumbbell eye in front of first, leaving room at the hook-eye.

STEP 4.  Chocklett's 1/4” body tube (tan pictured) about 1.5 times shank of hook in length.

STEP 5.  Tie in a third of the way down bend of hook and whip finish.

STEP 6.  Add orange thread dam to half way down the hook bend and glue in place (keeps body from slipping).


STEP 7.  Push the front end of body tubing to hook-eye, tie off with original thread color and whip finish.


STEP 8.  Firmly shape body tubing into crab carapace shape.

STEP 9.  Add eyes by poking monofilament through body tubing, glue eyes in place, trim excess mono (or situate for weed guard).

STEPS 10 & 11.  Use bobbin threader to pull micro chenille legs through body tubing (blue legs were dyed with Kool-Aid).

STEP 12.  All three legs in place, glue them in place.

STEP 13.  Use threader to pull a tuft of EP Fibers through body tubing.

STEP 14.  Cut excess from back end to free bobbin threader.

STEP 15.  Trim crab’s beard and glue in place.

STEP 16.  Color claws and use a flame to taper chenille tips... and now it's ready to go!

Be it Belize, Cuba, Mexico, Bahamas or anywhere else permit fin through the shallows, the Covid Crab is not only ready to go, but, unlike it's side-swimming South African counterpart, swims with its eyes on the predator and backs away - just as many crabs do when threatened.