A few years ago, a fellow guide and I both had the day off and decided to go after big brown trout on streamers. It was mid May and the water temp was about 60. It was also a little high and dirty... perfect! I decided to try a new streamer/crayfish pattern I had tied up the night before and within just a few casts we were on fish like CRAZY.... but they weren't trout, they were smallmouth bass... fine with me, I love smallies! Since then, the Copper Craw has become one of my favorite bass flies, especially when the water is under 70 degrees. I fish it on a 200 grain sinking line right on the bottom with short, crayfish like twitches. Try it out, it's a simple tie and the bass really go after it.
Step 1: Start with a Daiichi 2461 Size 1 hook clamped in your vise as shown. Using white GSP 100 thread, lash in 4 to 6 bead chain eyes on the top of the hook. I nearly always use 6, but they are easy to trim off in the field if it's too much weight. (By clamping the hook as shown you will be able to put more pressure on the thread without bending the hook).
Step 2: Advance thread to the rear of the hook and tie in a barred 1/8" rabbit strip as shown. Olive/black is shown, but white/olive works great as well.
Step 3: Advance thread to front of hook, just behind the bead chain. Wind the rabbit strip forward and tie off. Trim the tail off so it extends approx. 1-1/2" beyond the hook bend.
Step 4: Prepare a large yellow or white mallard flank by stripping the rear feathers off and tie in by the tip just behind the bead chain.
Step 5: Wind the mallard flank collar around 3-4 times and tie off.
Step 6: Tie in a generous amount of copper flashabou just behind the bead chain, matching the length of the tail.
Step 7: Fold the flashabou over the bead chain eyes and lash down on the underside of the fly as shown. Trim flashabou to the same length as the tail. Advance thread to the front of the bead chain eyes and whip finish.
Matt Zudweg guides for Feenstra Guide Service on Michigan's Muskegon River and also owns BoneYard Fly Gear. www.boneyardflygear.com