I know that many saltwater species eat crabs and that crab flies are becoming more popular. I have a lot of problems casting weighted crab patterns, especially when standing on the deck of a flats boat with just a small amount of line and leader outside the rod tip. Do you have any suggestions?
-Jim Shires, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
You should consider a number of things. If you make a conventional backcast with a weighted fly on the end of your line, a tangled mess often occurs. Standard flies on floating lines tend to slow near the end of the backcast, but weighted flies and lines do not they continue to speed rapidly away from the target. The abrupt change of direction between the backcast and the forward cast creates the mess. To solve that problem, make a backcast with a wide, open loop so there is no abrupt change in direction.
It is difficult to get a heavy fly or line into action quickly. You need at least a 9-weight rod (a 10-weight may be even better) and a line with a short heavy front taper, such as a saltwater or tarpon taper. The line should weigh at least one size heavier than the rod. Because you have so little line outside the tip, a heavier line will help you load the rod for the cast. Use the shortest leader that will do the job. It is surprising how much this will help you make a quick, accurate cast.