Smallmouth Flies: Near Nuff Crayfish

More on this later, but I recently rewatched Dave Whitlock’s video on tying and fishing his NearNuff Sculpin and NearNuff Crayfish. Dave’s tying videos are top notch, and those two flies are my go-to patterns for smallmouth and trout in the Ozarks.

s7_321863_008_01My smallmouth boxes are looking pretty sparse these days after years of virtually no fly-tying, so I started in on some tonight. Got six bodies started on size 6 Near Nuff Crayfish. Need to get some brown paint to cover the lead eyes before I dress them. Will do both of those things tomorrow. Enjoyed tying something I can actually see with my aging eyes (damned trout flies!).

After years of tying on a Renzetti Traveler, I’m back with Dyna-King. I recently picked up a Dyna-King Squire, which sadly is being discontinued (but I got it for 25% on a closeout deal). It’s not true rotary, but I can live with that, because my preferred right-hand tying position (I’m a lefty) just doesn’t work well with the Traveler. Plus, I really love the jaws on the Dyna-Kings.

Was fishing at Roaring River State Park today, and we observed a big crayfish with one claw missing. The relevant thing to this pattern we noticed was that the tips of the pincers on the remaining claw were bright orange-pink, just like Dave recommends painting the tips of the claws on this pattern. He’s dead right.

Roaring River and The Boy’s first flyfishing trip

Absolutely nothing beats spending time outside with your kids. Today, I took The Boy up to Roaring River State Park near Cassville, Missouri, for his first flyfishing live-fire exercise. He’s really enjoyed fishing the last few times we’ve gone, and I haven’t pushed the flyfishing on him at all. Rather, I’ve let him come to it on his own terms after fishing with a spincast rig for the last couple of years. But, he’s been practicing in the yard with his yarn-equipped practice rod for the last couple of months. He did pretty well today. Papa was proud. He needs to work on not dropping his backcast (don’t we all?), but overall, he did well, and he put the fly more or less where he intended most of the time. Plus, we got to see some great negative examples of how (not to) cast.

Roaring River is pretty easy to fish. It’s sorta like fishing in a parking lot. Was pretty windy today, and that resulted in some weird drifts. No fish were caught, but he still declared it his “best fishing experience ever!” So, that was good.

one-clawed-crayfishWe also took time to poke around in the water (and look up occasionally — and we saw four bald eagles today), where we saw this big crayfish that was missing one of his claws. He was actively crawling around in a slow pool that also had quite a few sculpin in it. The trout seemed uninterested. Hell, the rubber stocker trout in there (RR has one of Missouri’s rainbow trout hatcheries) might not even know that crayfish and sculpin are food, they’re so used to Trout Chow pellets.

It was a great day, and I was thrilled that he had a great time, even if no fish were molested. It was a nice warm day for January (high was about 60F), and it was great to be outside with my son. I’m looking forward to many more days on the water with him.