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Looking for a crab popper pattern

Jared DJared D Fernandina Beach Posts: 399 Deckhand
Hey all,
The Redfish are popping swimming crabs in the creeks right before our flood tides.

I have some small poppers I can throw, but I want to tie up something else.

Anyone have a good floating crab pattern that gives some sort of popping action I can use as a template?

I have a couple ideas and will be happy to post up after I make them if anyone is interested.

Thanks in advance.


  • Jared DJared D Fernandina Beach Posts: 399 Deckhand
    Well, here is what I came up with.
    It is a variety of what we call a marsh bug.
    This is a rough draft but I needed something for tomorrow's flood.
    All comments are accepted.

    Hopefully I have a pic of it in the corner of a Red's mouth tomorrow.

    Here are the crab patterns I will use for tailers on the flats.

    And purple/ black crab
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 4,467 Captain
    Just lose the lead eyes on either of the last two patterns shown.... and keep them moving so they don't sink...
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • saltydancindavesaltydancindave Posts: 1,255 Officer
    Crab popper pattern tie looks like a mini gurgler with splayed eyes & claws. Maybe a small tarpon toad that they eat as crabs with 2 claws instead of a marabou tail along with some foam lip tied in to push & pop the water in front of mono eyes & body...........?
  • brysonbryson Posts: 13 Deckhand
    lemaymiami wrote: »
    Just lose the lead eyes on either of the last two patterns shown.... and keep them moving so they don't sink...

    That's what I was going to suggest -- just an unweighted crab. You could use deer hair, or maybe even tie in a tiny piece of foam to match the weight of the hook so it's more of a "suspending" fly that you don't have to move as much. Let us know how you do!
    1994 Hewes Redfisher 18, 2004 Yamaha 150 VMAX
    Malibu X-Factor Kayak
  • Jared DJared D Fernandina Beach Posts: 399 Deckhand
    Great tips.
    The one pictured above was put in front of two reds that were slurping. One never saw it.... the other swam right up to it and stopped, nose an inch away.
    I then gave it the slightest twitch which spooked the red away.

    I have decided to try one similar to this only smaller and to do as recommended... make a normal crab without the dumbbell eyes.
    May even make the legs and claws of foam to aid in floatation.

    Did catch one 21" red on a purple crab tailing and saw three other tailers..... one other was hooked and freed before my buddy could land it. Total of one for 8 for the day.
  • Jared DJared D Fernandina Beach Posts: 399 Deckhand
    Here is a couple that I just made. I made them on size 4 hooks since the Reds seem to be keyed in on small crabs.
    The one with purple is semi buoyant... it sinks about an inch every second or two.
    The other has a second piece of foam under the shell and floats.

    No popping action, but they seem to breathe well in the water.
  • Permit RatPermit Rat Posts: 2,283 Captain
    IMO, you might not want a popping action. In fact, it's possible that one poster spooked the red with his "popping" presentation, if that is in fact what he did. The reason is that natural crabs in the wild, don't "pop." Rather they usually scull along the surface, often right after molting....at least that's when I used to scoop up a lot of soft shells for the table.

    That said, I have never seen redfish slurping crabs off the surface. But many of us have seen permit do this, usually at the bottom of the outgoing tide when the current is almost nil. It also helps to have a certain amount of seaweed floating in the current and the best by far is sargasso, blown in from offshore. If you've ever scooped up a mass of this weed and shaken it out in a bucket, you might see it is rife with tiny shrimp and crabs, all a dull yellow in color, to aid in camouflage. Permit hold ("float") in the current and slurp these crustaceans as they float over.

    So I designed a fly that would take these fish. It is tied on a #2 or #4 hook and is basically an unweighted all yellow Permit Rat that is trimmed flat on top and bottom, such that it simply flares out on the sides. Since it is basically the same silhouette on both sides, it doesn't matter if the fly lands hook up or hook down. It's sort of reminiscent of a crab, I guess. Anyway, it works.

    But my retrieve is almost nothing. I cast ahead of the fish and let the fly drift on the surface, down toward the fish, and then just give the fly the slightest twitch, to call attention to it. If the permit follows, I start a very slow hand-twist retrieve and hopefully he'll come up and slurp it in.

    But in this redfish situation, it appears you'd do better by imitating the natural. And again, IMO, anytime you do that, you have to use a lifelike retrieve as well. So I'm going to side with the poster who suggested a simple unweighted crab pattern (but perhaps smaller....it would depend on the size of the naturals they're keying in on)....and then try my retrieve on them.....see if it works. I hope it helps you and good luck.
  • Jared DJared D Fernandina Beach Posts: 399 Deckhand
    Great advice Rick! It is really weird to watch them do the slurp.
    It is almost like a tarpon roll in that it is very slow and controlled, and bubbles come up after they are done. They swim along the top of little feedercreeks and then stick their heads out of the water up so high their eyes are out of the water. You hear the very audible slurp and then the slide back down tail first.
    I thought this was some freak phenomenon that occurred only in our one area, but when I posted on our local forum (NE Florida General) everyone knew what I was talking about.
    I fished a spot 70 miles south of where I normally fish last Wed, and saw the same behavior.
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