Steelhead Fishing In Oregon, Flats Crab Flies, Echo Fiberglass Spey And Switch Rods

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Steelhead Fishing In Oregon
While the East coast and Northern Midwest are suffering from snow and freezing weather, the West Coast of the United States languishes in spring time temperatures of 40-50 degrees and sunshine or light rain. Steelhead runs have been solid, from the Willamette Valley to the Oregon Coast. Fishing in the southern Washington has been equally as good. Runs are yet to peak for the season, and will get stronger through the next two months. Big flies presented with Skagit lines have been productive. The other day at the boat launch, a guy showed me a picture of a Spring Chinook he caught with his fly rod last Tuesday. That is the earliest Spring Chinook I ever remember hearing about. We know several excellent Spey Guides who have openings on their February & March calendars, if you want to get in on the action.
 
Flats Crab Flies

Bauer's Flats Crab, Olive

Bonefish Bitters, Olive

Defiant Crab, Olive

Money Crab, Tan

Bauer's Flats Crab, Tan

Bonefish Critter, Borski's

Defiant Crab, Tan

Natural Crab, Green

Bonefish Bitters, Amber

Cathy's Fleeing Crab

Merkin Crab

Natural Crab, Tan

Bonefish Bitters, Hermit Crab

Defiant Crab, Brown

Money Crab, Olive

Rag Head Crab
Crabs are found in all of the Ocean's waters from the coldest arctic to the warmest tropics. In some places, they live most of their lives on land, only going to the water to hydrate or procreate. Crabs live in the shallowest tidal pools, and the deepest Ocean trenches. Some live in the bright sunlight and others never see light from the sun. Crabs are incredibly adaptable, and they come in many colors, forms, and textures. They could be regarded as the insects of saltwater.
Of course the thing that anglers find interesting about crabs is that they taste good to certain dynamic sport fish. Crab are actually fairly easy to imitate with flies, both from the standpoint of design and presentation. Crabs are very mobile, and they are actively foraging much of the time. They are often exposed to feeding fish, so fish are aware of them, and are actively watching for them. Certain shallow water species of fish, such as Permit, Redfish, and Bonefish are continually on the hunt for crabs. These species of fish are equipped with boney crushers in their mouths, specifically for eating hard-shell organisms- such as crabs.
In shallow water a crabs main defense against predator fish is to remain out of sight. As soon as a crab senses a patrolling fish it normally does one of two things, it hides against the bottom using its natural camouflage, or burrows into the bottom. Then it stays very still until the danger passes.
A normal presentation with a crab fly is to spot a feeding fish and then present the fly in front of the fish's nose. Often the fish will attack as soon as the fly lands, so no retrieve of the fly is required. Or if the fly lands farther from the fish, give it one short strip and leave it set until the fish finds it. When setting the hook with a crab fly, do not raise the rod tip until after the set. Instead "strip-set" by giving the line a sharp pull to bury the hook.
Crabs inhabit many different depths of water, so every angler should carry an assortment of crab patterns in several different weights so that different water depths can be fished efficiently. Be sure to saturate fuzzy flies with water before you cast, so that they will sink properly. A dry fly tends to float.

Olive Crab

Tan Crab

Hermit Crab

Tree Crab

Bauer's Flats Crab, Olive
Bauer's Flats Crab Olive
The first time I heard of Will Bauer was in the early 1980's in Southern Belize. Will was already a legend with the flats guides working out of Pacencia. Will's main interest were permit, and permit were (still are) plentiful on the flats around Placencia. Will fished with the famous Westby brothers and Derrick Muschamp.
At certain times there are large populations of small olive crabs on the Belizian flats, and permit seem to prefer them to most other foods. Will designed his permit fly to resemble those crabs. His Flats Crab has been a legendary success.
 
Item Description Size Price To Top
SW074OL06 Bauer's Flats Crab, Olive 6 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended

Bauer's Flats Crab, Tan
Bauer's Flats Crab, Tan
Crabs are designed to exploit specific habitats. The bottom of many tropical flats are made up of ground up coral. The specific color and texture of the ocean bottom is often dictated by the velocity of tidal flows. Usually the lightest colored bottoms occur where the softest currents allow fine silts to collect or where wave action keeps dead coral scoured clean. Both type of bottoms are attractive to permits, bonefish, and jacks, all of which will eat crabs. Generally, light colored critters seek light colored bottoms.
Will Bauer figured that out years ago, and tied some of his Flats Crabs to match these fishy places.
 
Item Description Size Price To Top
SW074TN06 Bauer's Flats Crab, Tan 6 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended

Bonefish Bitters, Amber
Bonefish Bitters, Amber
This small crab fly was invented at Turneffe Flats Lodge on the Turneffe Atoll, Belize, by Craig Mathews. Originally it was called Pop's Bonefish Bitters after the popular guide, Pops Cabral. These flies are made with weighted heads that are constructed from hot glue to imitate the carapace of a tiny crab. Bonefish are plentiful on Turneffe Atoll, but like most fish that live next to popular lodges, they see a fair amount of traffic, and are pretty wise and hard to catch. Very small flies are the rule there. The most popular size Bitters is #8. Bitters work everywhere we have fished for bonefish. Certain places such as Bahamas and Cuba, the fish readily eat #6 Bitters. Select your fly to match the color of the bottom.
Item Description Size Price To Top
18268 Bonefish Bitters, Amber 6 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended
18269 Bonefish Bitters, Amber 8 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended

Bonefish Bitters, Hermit Crab
Bonefish Bitters, Hermit Crab
Hermit crabs are a favorite food for both Bonefish and Permit. Most species have long, spirally curved abdomens, which are soft, unlike the hard, calcified abdomens seen in related crustaceans. The vulnerable abdomen is protected from predators by a salvaged empty seashell carried by the hermit crab, into which its whole body can retract. Most frequently hermit crabs use the shells of sea snails. Most Hermit Crabs spend a lot of their time on dry land above the wave zone. They do spend a lot of time in the water at a young age, where they are eagerly sought after by predatory fish. Fish your Bitters fly very slowly. Cast in front of cruising fish and let it set still on the bottom, or crawl it very, very slowly.
Item Description Size Price To Top
18208 Bonefish Bitters, Hermit Crab 6 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended
18209 Bonefish Bitters, Hermit Crab 8 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended

Bonefish Bitters, Olive
Bonefish Bitters, Olive
This small crab fly was invented at Turneffe Flats Lodge on the Turneffe Atoll, Belize. The Bitters flies have a head constructed from hot glue, which is prone to melt and disfigure- if left exposed in a fly box in the hot tropical sun. Don't leave your box of Bitters lying on the deck of the boat, or your flies might end up stuck together. It is better to put that box in the shade or in a protected compartment in the boat. Olive is a prime color for flies that are fished on vegetated flats. Many crabs are colored to match their surroundings.
Item Description Size Price To Top
18206 Bonefish Bitters, Olive 6 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended
18207 Bonefish Bitters, Olive 8 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended

Bonefish Critter, Borski's
Bonefish Critter
As tied by: Tim Borski
Great for bonefish in most habitats. Imitates the small crabs Bones love. Fish with a strip-and-stop retrieve. Bonefish often hit on the stop, so keep your line tight. Originally designed for Bonefish and Permit, the Bonefish Critter has morphed into a great all around pattern. Has also been proven to be a productive fly for other species, such as Redfish. These flies are tied with lead eyes and a mono weed guard. Be sure to wet this fly before using by holding it under water and squeezing it a couple of times.
Item Description Size Price To Top
15328 Bonefish Critter, Borski's 2 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended
15329 Bonefish Critter, Borski's 4 3-for $10.50 Sale Ended

Cathy’s Fleeing Crab
It might sound like a strange time to design a new fly pattern, but we were stuck in Hurricane Mitch in a boarded up Holiday Inn Express in Cancun, Mexico, for three days. There wasn’t much to do except watch the weather, read, and tie flies. Most of the crabs that we had observed throughout the Yucatan coastline were tan in color, and if frightened would aggressively flee. I had a few packs of tan L&L Hi Viz wing material with me and an assortment of sili-legs, so I started experimenting with a few crab-like profiles. Later after the hurricane passed we were back at Boca Paila fishing lodge in the Yucatan and there were permit everywhere- schools of them. Apparently the storm had flushed them out to sea and they were returning to the lagoons and most importantly- were feeding. I had opportunities to try the two or three of the new patterns that I came up with while in Cancun and settled on what today we call Cathy’s Fleeing Crab. I’ve caught permit in Los Roques, Venezuela; the Bahamas; and the Yucatan, Mexico through Belize. It’s my go-to fly whenever I’m in permit country.
Cathy Beck

Item Description Price To Top
7045 Cathy's Fleeing Crab, SIZE 4 3-for $16.59 Sale Ended
7046 Cathy's Fleeing Crab, SIZE 6 3-for $16.59 Sale Ended

Defiant Crab, Hochners's
Defiant Crab, Olive Defiant Crab, Tan Defiant Crab, Brown Fly Box Deal
Defiant Crab, Olive
As tied by: Lex Hochner (Houston, TX)

Written by: Lex Hochner
"As is the case on a patented basis with
all “stacked” synthetic fiber crab fly patterns, the Defiant Crab is a variation upon a theme of Del Brown’s Merkin Crab. The Defiant Crab was primarily designed as a permit pattern, but it has also been highly successful in taking bonefish and redfish. Aside from the realistic marriage of materials, the aspect of this fly, which sets it apart from other crab patterns', is the unique body trimming method. When at rest between strips, this pattern “stands up” in a defensive posture simulating the same tactics employed by a natural crab, (center illustration above). The Defiant Crab has morphed and been “tweaked” over a period of four years.
The end results is a reliable, but simple design, which unfortunately is time consuming to tie."
Added by: Mark Bachmann

The Olive Crab is one of the most reliable Permit Fly types on the southern end of the Belize Reef, arguably home to some of the best permit fly fishing in the world. Here size-6 will often out produce size-4, and you will want both. Small olive crab flies are Bonefish candy around bottoms with structure, such as grass or coral. (Continued in: Defiant Crab Tan)
Item Description Size Price To Top
19853 Defiant Crab, Olive 2 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended
19854 Defiant Crab, Olive 4 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended
19855 Defiant Crab, Olive 6 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended

Defiant Crab, Tan
As tied by: Lex Hochner (Houston, TX)

Written by: Lex Hochner
"As per the fly’s effectiveness on permit, I personally have borne witness to over three dozen hook-ups in the Caribbean watershed. The pattern has also taken permit in the Bahamas as well as Cuba. I am also proud to say, that on two occasions, friends of mine have popped their permit cherry using this fly. The numerous flats guides who have seen and used this pattern, to the men who love what it does in the water. (The following is very, very important): The correct way to fish this fly is with medium speed strips commencing at the stripping guide of the rod and continuing to the reel seat with the immediate repetition of this exercise with as little lag time as possible between strips. The vast majority of flats anglers make the fatal error of employing three inch “bunny-hop” strips, which when factoring into the equation
an almost constant wind component, effectively insures the angler of not being in “contact” with his/her fly."
Added by: Mark Bachmann

Wind direction makes a huge difference in any fly presentation, and a taught leader is usually preferable to a slack one when fishing the flats...for the reasons mentioned above. The Defiant Crab pattern can mimic prey that is running for its life in a defensive posture, which can happen in areas where there is little sea bed structure to hide in. Many of these kinds of bottoms are light colored. The Defiant Crab sinks quickly despite its bulky appearance, and the drop-it on-their-nose routine can work well, especially on tailing fish or Permit that are following Rays or mudding Bonefish. (Continued in: Defiant Crab Brown)
Item Description Size Price To Top
19856 Defiant Crab, Tan 2 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended
19857 Defiant Crab, Tan 4 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended
19858 Defiant Crab, Tan 6 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended

Defiant Crab, Brown
As tied by: Lex Hochner (Houston, TX)

Written by: Lex Hochner
"Permit are notorious for their ability of taking a fly and spitting it out before the angler feels the take. Therein lies the source of many a permit fisherman’s lament, “God, he tipped up on the fly and I can’t believe he didn’t eat”.
In many cases the fish did eat, but the angler was not aware of the event due to faulty presentation mechanics. "Educated Bonefish" and Redfish need to be fished over using the exact same tactics. As far as a success story attributable to the Defiant Crab: during the course of three days spent in the Yucatan at Boca Paila, I watched my son hook eight and land five permit- the largest being just a shade under twenty pounds.
Many anglers have fallen in love with this fly, and have used it in different locations and under varied conditions, with a great deal of success."
Added by: Mark Bachmann

There are several types of fish that live in the shallow talc bottom lagoons that border the western Caribbean. Many of these ancient places incorporate hundreds of acres of water that is only inches deep. Often silt has collected for hundreds or even thousands of years and the bottom is like stepping into a vat of freshly mixed, knee-deep mortar. Wading any distance is exhausting. Most of these lagoons are surrounded by, or interspersed with patches of mangroves. Daily tidal fluctuations are usually less than a foot, so even the finest particles tend to stay put. An extra foot of water can make a huge difference in places where at low tide the depth is only eight inches. A fairly large Permit can move around, making very little disturbance in twenty inches of water. To the unpracticed eye these shallow open-water lagoons appear lifeless. A guide with special eyesight and boat handling skills is required. Patient examination often reveals patrolling Permit, some times in schools, but often as singles. Calm days are usually easiest to sight fish, but require stealthier casting than the wind-blown days, when the lagoons can turn to chocolate milk. Jack Crevalle and Groupers can also be found in these lagoons and they also eat crabs. Here crabs tend to burrow rather than run. Drop your fly four to six feet ahead of a cruising permit and when it gets two feet from the fly, give it a couple of sharp twitches like a crab backing down into the mud. Once again a line and leader with minimal slack is of major importance. Many brownish crabs live in this soft mud. Head-on shots are best.
Item Description Size Price To Top
19850 Defiant Crab, Brown 2 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended
19851 Defiant Crab, Brown 4 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended
19852 Defiant Crab, Brown 6 3-for $22.50 Sale Ended

Merkin Crab
Merkin Crab Permit Fly
Del Brown is credited with originating the Merkin Permit Fly. He is also credited with landing 513 Permit with it, and acknowledged to be the greatest Permit fly fisher of all time. Del Brown (deceased in 2003) held three Permit World Records, which still stand: a 9 3/4 pound Permit on 2-pound tippet, a 24-pound Permit on 4-pound tippet, and a 41-pound Permit on 8-pound test.
The Merkin is the most popular Permit fly- world wide. Smaller size Merkins have also landed good numbers of large Bonefish as well.
The most popular way to fish a Merkin fly is to cast very close to a tailing Permit and let the fly settle very cloe to his nose. Your line must
be kept tight and straight to feel a strike. If the Permit doesn't respond to the sitting fly, give it a couple of twitches to make it look like a crab digging into the bottom to find cover.
Item Description Size Price To Top
15406 Del Brown's Merkin Permit Crab 1/0 3-for $18.59 Sale Ended
15407 Del Brown's Merkin Permit Crab 2 3-for $18.59 Sale Ended
15400 Del Brown's Merkin Permit Crab 4 3-for $18.59 Sale Ended

Money Crab, Olive
Money Crab, Olive
Money Crabs are ultra-realistic, lightly weighted patterns that are made to be fished in fairly shallow water.
Item Description Size Price To Top
SW072OL06 Money Crab, Olive 6 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended

Money Crab, Tan
Money Crab, Tan
Money Crabs are very adaptable with felt markers, and can be any color you want them. Obviously, for lighter or brighter colored crabs, you should start with his light colored fly. For darker colored alterations, start with the olive fly.
 
Item Description Size Price To Top
SW072TN04 Money Crab, Tan 4 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended

Natural Crab, Green
Natural Crab, Green
These flies are unweighted and are made to fish very shallow water, or to hover suspended in deeper water. We have found the green Natural Crab to be very effective where Bonefish are cruising in shallow water over turtle grass flats.
This was one of our most productive flies when we fished Jardines de la Reina, in Cuba- where turtle grass flats were extensive. Our tactic was simple: Cast the fly and let it land several feet ahead of a pod of cruising bonefish, let it set still until the fish were a foot or two from the fly, then give the fly a slight twitch to make it look like a crab trying to hide deeper in the grass. Nearly every time, we were
rewarded with a strike. The Natural Crab was the only fly we had that would do the job. This is because each fly is equipped with a special monofilament weed guard, and because it would hover in a couple of inches of water it was nearly weedless. Other flies were simply too heavy. The coloration is perfect. The only downfall is that these flies are somewhat fragile, and tend to come apart after three or four fish. We tried to ad more binder goo, but it made the flies too heavy to fish in the shallow water. Take many with you.
Item Description Size Price To Top
06842-02 Natural Crab, Green 2 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended
06842-06 Natural Crab, Green 6 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended

Natural Crab, Tan

Natural Crab, Tan
Like the Natural Crab, Green above, the Natural Crab, Tan is made of lightweight deer hair and hackle tips. It is equipped with a special monofilament weed guard. Natural Crabs are made to be fished in extremely shallow water. The tan version of the Natural Crab is best in sandy areas where the bottom is very light colored.

They may also be fished in deeper water as suspended-swimming crabs, such as around wrecks, or drop-offs. In this situation a clear sinking line is often employed, or a faster sinking shooting head system will get results in deeper water.

 
Item Description Size Price To Top
06843-02 Natural Crab, Tan 6 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended
06843-06 Natural Crab, Tan 2 3-for $11.85 Sale Ended

Rag Head Crab
A great fly for lighter colored flats. Bonefish, Permit, Redfish, Snook, Jacks and Snappers have all been caught with this fly.
 
Item Description Size Price To Top
18177 Rag Head Crab 2 3-for $14.95 Sale Ended
Echo Fiberglass Spey And Switch Rods
Well who'd-a thunk it, fiberglass is making a come-back in the fly fishing scene, a kind of bridge in the gap between graphite & bamboo, a bit of nostalgia without a heavy price tag. Why are anglers buying fiberglass fly rods. The first thing they all say is, "fun". Fiberglass bends, stores, and releases energy different than graphite. The tempo is slower- because the glass is slightly less elastic than graphite. Is this a mechanical advantage...no, but that is the reason why we fly fish in the first place; to have more fun by giving the fish more advantage...otherwise we would be using gill nets or plastic worms, or live sand shrimp.
The Echo fiberglass rods are beautiful, and distinctive to look at. The company hit the nostalgic look dead-center. I know, because I grew up in the age of fiberglass, which stretched from about 1955-1975. If you had bought a custom made fiberglass rod built in 1974, it would have looked a lot like the new Echo Fiberglass rods. From what I remember about the rods of that era, the generation that is being made now cast significantly better. The newer glass blanks dampen better. Of course there were very few fiberglass Spey rods around in the 1970's, so comparisons are hard to make.
Because fiberglass is lower modulus than graphite, you will have to make your moves slower and smoother to get the best out of it. Because of this, glass will teach you some things about casting that could help your stroke when you return to your graphite rod.
Spey

NEW for 2015: Glass is back. Big time. All-new for 2015, we're stoked to introduce the ECHO GLASS TWO HAND, an expansion of our popular ECHO GLASS single hand series. Fiberglass Spey? Why? Good Question. Fiberglass recovers more slowly than graphite, giving the caster improved sensation of how the line is loading the rod. Enhanced feedback through the casting cycle results in a fun, effortless, bug launching. Sensitive tip for slinging surface patterns on a dry line, and plenty of "sneaky power" to catapult long, heavy sink tips with ultimate ease. ECHO GLASS TWO HAND rods are available in weights 6-8, ensuring you'll find a fit for your favorite fishery.

GLASS SPEY Rods feature:

  • Four piece travel design
  • Alignment dots for quick assembly
  • Matte chrome hardware
  • Classic up locking cork reel seat (down locking on the GL 8130)
  • Premium grade cork upper/lower handle with composite pivot knob
  • Classy golden caramel finish
  • Dark olive guide and accent wraps
  • Chrome snake guides
  • Ceramic ringed stripper guides
  • Cordura covered rod case and cloth rod sock
Switch

Switch-rodders rejoice...a decent dose of "soul" is headed your way! New for 2015, the ECHO GLASS SWITCH is perfect for anglers pining for the feedback lost with modern graphite rods. Sweet flex, smooth recovery, along with the power you need when casting sink tips or monster nymph rigs. Offered in weights 3-4 for trout, and 6-7 for steelhead/salmon, everyone can get their (two) hands on a soulful stick for any application.

GLASS SWITCH Rods feature:

  • Four piece travel design
  • Alignment dots for quick assembly
  • Matte chrome hardware
  • Classic up locking cork reel seat
  • Premium grade cork upper/lower handle with composite pivot knob
  • Classy golden caramel finish
  • Dark olive guide and accent wraps
  • Chrome snake guides
  • Ceramic ringed stripper guides
  • Cordura covered rod case and cloth rod sock
  • ECHO lifetime warranty
 
Item Description Price To Top
FG-6124 Echo Fiberglass Spey Rod, 12-foot, 4-inch, 6-weight, with case and sock $299.99 Sale Ended
FG-7129 Echo Fiberglass Spey Rod, 12-foot, 9-inch, 7-weight, with case and sock $299.99 Sale Ended
FG-8130 Echo Fiberglass Spey Rod, 13-foot, 8-weight, with case and sock $299.99 Sale Ended
FG-3106 Echo Fiberglass Switch Rod, 10-foot, 6-inch, 3-weight, with case and sock $279.99 Sale Ended
FG-4108 Echo Fiberglass Switch Rod, 10-foot, 8-inch, 4-weight, with case and sock $279.99 Sale Ended
FG-6110 Echo Fiberglass Switch Rod, 11-foot, 6-weight, with case and sock $279.99 Sale Ended
FG-7110 Echo Fiberglass Switch Rod, 11-foot, 7-weight, with case and sock $279.99 Sale Ended

The Fly Fishing Shop HOME. The Fly Fishing Shop, Welches, OR

1(800) 266-3971

P.O. Box 368 - 67296 East Hwy 26
Welches, Oregon 97067, USA
Voice: (503) 622-4607 or 1(800) 266-3971 FAX: (503) 622-5490
flyfish@flyfishusa.com

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We have been in business since April 21, 1981.

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