a couple thoughts . . .
first, as for the "why bother with crab flies . . . ?" issue: based on my experiences on the flats, they are potent patterns, particularly for bigger bones, bigger stripes, and obviously permit. learning to fish them (where, when, how) is a fantastic skill to have if you're a flats fisher.
second, I think most folks don't know how to fish these flies which results in a negative perception. The references to not fishing them with too much movement (as described in above posts) are sound advice. I call it "hardselling" . . . just won't work.
third, I think a lot of crab flies are taken - ESPECIALLY with bones - and rejected, but never detected by the angler. Many strikes on crabs are entirely visual (this ties into the subtle twitch / hop softsell strategy). How many times have you gotten a mashed up pattern back from a bone (hook flattened to the side, etc), but never felt a thing?
fourth, unlike baitfish flies - which we want fish to eat right away - the longer a fish looks over a crab fly, the more likely it will take it. I know, this sounds odd, but most game just doesn't crash a crab fly. Do whatever it takes to hold the fish's attention (the subtle approach) and eventually it will eat.
last, don't bother with bottom-working crab flies if there is too much current - stick with the shrimp (baitfish for stripers). Crabs niether hold nor swing in currents - it's really tough to fish them effectively in these conditions (use lots of slack line to eliminate drag if you do).
Last edited by alan caolo; 09-25-2006 at 12:47 PM.