Could it be Crabs? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Could it be Crabs?

07-03-2002, 01:06 PM
A few questions about crab hatches:

When do they occur?
How big are they?
Do they Float, swim?
What is the best tactic to imitate these little buggers?

A couple of weeks ago I found the same thing Lefty described in another thread. Load of stipers in ~4-6' of water just hanging around. While paddling along an area the size of a large room would spook all at once but remain in the area. It's as if they were hanging in the upper foot of the water column and diving like a submarine, not a sudden thrash more of a smooth decent to the bottom. I'd give 'em a couple minutes and start casting to them, they'd spook again.

Could have just been resting after putting on the feed bag or hanging in the current feeding selectively on something but I haven't seen this slow spook behavior before. Comments?

07-03-2002, 01:31 PM

I had a similar experience off the West Monomoy flats last season. These guys (30 - 40 inches a piece) were hanging in pods of 3 to 6 with their tails in the air. Only thing was they were over about 15 ft of water! It was very hard to see what was holding their interest - very little movement - pretty much ingnored all offerings. We figured they were just "hoovering up" some small stuff - there were tiny green critters in the water - may have been crab larva. This is definitely crab season - even down here in CT. A friend took a 30 incher last week-end locally and found it full of dollar sized green crabs when he cleaned it.

07-04-2002, 07:03 AM
I have my thoughts on the crab hatch, but you should contact Gil Berke of Outermost Excursions (sponsor link) for in-depth knowledge of the bayside lady crab hatch. Another great resource is Steve Robbins who is one of the first guys I've hear of fishing crabs for stripers, well before you saw most flats flingers trying them. It was upon reading his notes while living in Seattle that I came to try crabs myself on the flats, and they used to be automatic. Now that everyone throws them, the fish are wiser to them.

As far as sunbathing fish, seen then often. If you lay off as far as you can and make a subtle cast they will take a fly. Keep a good distance, once you are on top of them they will change their mood, which was already off. Ironically, I've done best with a banger, slider or gurgler in these conditions.

Never seen the deep-water headstands though, but I sure love the shallow water kind!

07-04-2002, 07:17 AM
Around RI the crab hatch is in fulll swing and what the stripers are doing is cruising slowly till they find a concentration of the eraser sized crabs(blue dun colored) swimming in the surface film then the fish just slurp them in. Most of the time if the fish are holding in current they can be taken by dead drifting a small floating shrimp pattern. Trying for the cruising fish is like fishing for bonita or albies 'causse they show here and there. What I do if the small shrimp fails is to try an eel pattern or a large deerhair headed slider.There are no guarantees. Ron

07-06-2002, 09:16 AM
Thanks for the great advice guys, I'll give it a shot once this wind lays down.

07-06-2002, 10:23 PM
Hi Jim,

I just read of an interesting and new discovery to me. Stripers are gorging themselves on 1/4 to 1/2 in diameter, Horseshoe crabs. This is according to the findings within some stripers during a recent marine biologists survey on Cape Cod.

July is an important month for horseshoe crabs as the eggs laid in late spring are hatching.

Guess it's time to hit the vises. :hehe:

Perhaps we could get a picture posted of one of those little horseshoe crabs for reference.

Good Tyin and Good Fishin,


07-09-2002, 03:08 PM
That's wild :eek: I'd have never even considered those as a juve.
I've recently seen something that looked like black 1/4 shrimp swarming like crazy on sandy beaches. They don't look like horseshoe crabs but not really like grass shrimp either. Come to think of it last year around this time they were in heavy in the same area, some of them would stick to my waders, they flipped like a shrimp but were much more dark in coloration and did not have any antenae.
I'm going to tie up something like peacock herl wrapped on a #8 and see if anything harrasses it.

07-09-2002, 03:51 PM
I did some initial hunting around the web for a picture of the horeshoe crab larvae and came up with lots of interesting info:-

These critters are deservedly celebrated - check this out ...... includes lifecycle and cool pics / line drawings for tying ideas

07-09-2002, 05:44 PM
Jim - I never really thought that much about horseshoe crabs either, other than just how many can get it on with my boots at one time anyway. :hehe:

There are lots of choices on the menu for the stripers here, some of them I really haven't considered too much like the horseshoe crab.
It's interesting to see all the different things they are eating and just when and where.

Adrian - Great find on the horseshoe crab site, it doesn't get much better than that. Great drawings on life cycle and habitat. I'm looking forward to some new fly creations to try.


07-10-2002, 08:43 AM
There is no worse feeling than standing waste deep at night when suddenly you feel one creeping up on your boot. Damn thats creepy. That totaly skeeves me out! I know they are trying to have hot monkey love with my foot. I feel so cheap and used after:hehe: