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Old 01-04-2006, 08:39 AM
josko josko is offline
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I've been with tying and fishing Merkins an bit, and it's occured to me that this fly is really designed to imitate a crab only during the descent to the bottom. If you look at it, it seems those in the know are relly tweaking the arrow body shape and the weighing to get the descent angle and speed just right. Once it gets to the bottom, that's it. It moves a bit in the current, but basically, it's not designed or meant to be stripped.
If the above is correct, then I'm starting to figure out this fly; if not, I still don't get it. Does this make sense to you?
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Old 01-04-2006, 09:08 AM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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I am pretty sure you have a lot more experience in these matters than me but I believe you are spot on from everything I have experienced/read. Unlike a baitfish or even shrimp etc...most crabs flee to the bottom and dig in to protect themselves relying on camouflage as their defense. I think it is in that regard that the merkin fly has been a successful pattern. Where I have more experience is with Stripers on the flats but most of us who sight fish have probably seen a fish spook when you over stripped a flounder/crab fly. Fish is expecting its prey to dig in and when itís right on top of it the prey tries to jump up and run. Just not natural.

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Old 01-04-2006, 10:15 AM
BigDave BigDave is offline
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I picked the brain of one of the best permit guides in Belize over a week and his feeling was that Permit would usually take the crab on the drop. He wanted us to strip the fly at mid-depth until the permit saw it and then stop/slow down, try to keep the line tight, and watch for a pickup.

I noticed the Permit generally lost interest in the fly once it hit the bottom and the few takes we did have were on the drop.

He actually had us using those "arrow" shape EP crabs but only on the deeper flats. They definitely sink a lot faster and have a more vertical profile on the drop. Maybe this is why the more streamlined patterns are coming from the Keys where they generally fish deeper flats?

Incidentally the bonefish had no interest in the crabs on the drop but would get all over them on the bottom. Go figure
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Old 01-05-2006, 05:55 AM
josko josko is offline
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Thanks guysd. This has really helped me understand what the merkin's all about.

Get them at
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Old 01-05-2006, 06:18 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Josko -

Case in point - virtually everyone clicked on that.
IFFF Certified THCI @ 2005
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and Founder, Worldwide Flyfishing Forum
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Old 01-09-2006, 02:27 PM
rosskess rosskess is offline
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For what its worth

I've been using a small Del's Merkin for bonefish for the past two years with more and more success. I don't use them up here except as a novelty. I've found that if you can get a bonefish to see it ON THE BOTTOM they will eat it. My method with it includes hoping the fish sees it either on the drop or swim within a foot or 2 of it when moving along. When this happens. I will move the fly 2-4 inches, no more- the lesserer the betterer. At this point the fish swims over the fly and stops they now have it in their mouth,every time so far.

Over Thanksgiving I was in the Bahamas. I was messing around at lunch and found some dime sizes tan crabs. When I approached these crabs they would run along the bottom and stop when they got to any kind of structure (including a piece of broken coral the size of a quarter. I saw numerous crabs do this same behavior. None of them "dug in." Simply stopping makes a lot of sense as digging makes noise and includes movement alerting both visual and auditory senses. Also, when these crabs stop they blend in and blend in well. for all those who think not much "noise" could be created by digging think that those tiny rattles people put in theit flies make noise and a palmered hackle supposedly makes noise going through the water.

Some of this stuff may seem a bit out there but it seems to be working.

On a totally different tact I met a guy who used to cast one into the wash on Nantucket when mole crabs were present and just let it basically wash up and down the breaking wave area. He said he caught a lot stripers that way.
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