Pheasant Craw

Hook: 4x long 2x heavy straight eye size 4-8 bent bend back style
Antenna: tan crazy legs w/sparkle
Eyes: bead chain, antique bronze
Body: medium brown chenille over lead wire
Shell: ringneck pheasant rooster shoulder feather coated with poly urethane
claws: ringneck pheasant rooster neck feather coated with poly urethane
Hackle: ringneck pheasant rooster flank feather
Ribbing: fine copper wire
Tail: ringneck pheasant neck feather


Pheasant Craw

Preparation for this fly begins with preparing the coated feathers. Select the feathers for the claws. Strip all the down off the steam and clip out the tip, forming a claw shape. For the shell feather, strip the down off the stem. Then coat all three feathers with poly urethane or head cement and allow them to dry.

Shape the hook by using a pair of pliers to bend the shank back about 30 degrees away from the bend 1 1/2 hook gaps back from the eye to form the bend back shape.

Place the hook in the vice. Begin the fly by tying in the crazy legs. Tie them in at the bend so they curve up (the fly rides hook point up). Next, tie in the chenille and then tie in the bead chain eyes one wrap of chenille back. Wrap the chenille forward and around the eyes. Hold the chenille with two wraps of thread, just behind the eyes.

Rotate the fly to hook up and tie in the shell feather. Adjust for length so the end of the stem reaches the hook eye. Choose a pheasant flank feather for a hackle and strip the barbs off the inside curve of the stem. Leave just a few barbs at the tip and use those to tie in the feather tip first, shiny side down, curve up. Wrap the chenille forward to the bend and hold in place with 2 wraps. Wrap the hackle forward in three evenly spaced wraps and tie off. Tie in the copper wire. Tie in two pieces of lead wire, parallel to the hook shank on each side from the bend to the eye. Leave enough room at the eye for the head. This forms a wide flat body and gives weight below the shank to make the fly ride like a fleeing crawfish in defense mode.

Choose a neck feather as the tail, do not glue this feather or it will not allow the fly to swim. Trim the feather at the end of the stem, perpendicular to the stem. Strip barbs off to size the feather to 1 hook gap. Tie in the feather shiny side up above the eye. The feather covers the hook eye, but is flexible enough to be moved to tie the fly onto the leader. Wrap the chenille forward and tie off. Pull the shell feather forward to the eye, pushing the hackle down under it. Hold the feather in place and tie it to the body with four wraps of copper wire. Tie off and trim the copper wire. Trim the feather tip off just behind the head (it is not tied off with thread, just the wire). Form a smooth head and whip finish. Be careful not to force the tail feather into the hook eye.

On the water you can trim or remove the claws if fish snub the fly. An injured craw is a better meal than a fully armed one. You can use different colors of chenille, but brown is pretty standard. I like to go with smaller claws but you can “match the hatch” to size them to the crawfish in your area. This can also be tied as an immature lobster pattern for San Diego Bay.

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