Illawarra Flyfishers Club

Crazy Charlie


Photos and Text by Andrew Susani and Andrew Wheeler

Hook Mustad 34007 size 6
Thread 6/0 or 3/0 White or colour to match body
Body 40lb mono or larva lace (about 12cm long)
Eyes Chrome bead chain (pictured) or lead dumbbell
Flash Comes Alive, Krystal Flash or Flashabou
Wing Hi-Vis, Calk Tail or Kinkyfibre

This fly was originally tied for bonefish and was named after a guide in the Bahamas. Rather than being a close imitation of anything, it is designed to be a suggestive pattern which can be used as a shrimp, prawn, crab or small baitfish bouncing along the bottom. This fly catches fish all over the world, and is probably the closest thing to a universal estuary pattern.

Tying Instructions

1. Start the thread at the eye of the hook. Make a layer of thread from the eye to about 6-7mm along the hook shank. Take the bead chain or dumbbell eyes and tie them down using figure-8 wraps so there is about 4mm between the eyes and the hook eye. 
2. Take the thread to the bend of the hook and tie in the 40lb mono. Wind the thread up to the dumbbell eyes.
3. Wind the mono around the shank to form a neat, tight body. When you get near the bead chain eyes, rotate the hook in the vice so the hook point is on top.
4. Wind the mono right up against the eyes, then, while holding the mono tag up vertically, take 10-15 solid thread wraps around the mono and hook shank to hold it down. Thick mono is very springy and will require a lot of wraps to hold it securely.
5. Clip off the tag end of the mono - because it is on the "inside" part of the fly, the wing will cover any excessive thread wraps and also the tag end of the mono ribbing. 
6. Cut a piece of your chosen wing material (Hi-Vis pictured) and tie it down in front of the eyes. The wing should only just extend past the hook bend by a few millimetres and it should be tied sparse - don't overdo it! Using sharp scissors, trim the wing to a taper.
7. Add a few strands of flash on top (or under the wing before it is tied in) and whip finish in front of the eyes. Varnish the head and the fly is complete.

Tips

You can tie in a small bunch of flash at the bend of the hook before you tie in the mono ribbing to make a fly with a little more flash. You can also wind a layer of gold, silver or pearl tinsel along the hook shank before winding over the mono ribbing to make a flashy belly section.

Soft natural materials like marabou and rabbit fur can also be used as winging material to give lifelike pulsations during the retrieve.

The fly works best when allowed to sink to the bottom, then retrieved with short, sharp strips with the odd pause to let it rest on the bottom. It is worth having this pattern tied in a variety of colours and eye weights - in shallow water you might be better off with small eyes that don't make much disturbance when landing whereas heavier lead eyes and sparsely tied flies will get down to the bottom quickly in deep water or areas with a strong current.