So what's so good about the ballpeen craw? Well first off it catches fish but that's in itself isn't that special, the clawdad, nearnuff crayfish, fighting craw and any number of others catch fish. A great deal of my smallie fishing around Tokyo is sight fishing and the way the ballpeen craw gets eaten is different from the busier patterns. There's a confidence about the eat, and this is largely true of carp and barbel too. Possibly it's because the fish see a lot of soft plastics and jigs with hundreds of legs and swirly claws, but it probably also has something to do with the Berkley study- yes there are rubber legs coming out the back, but they are all cut the same length and are shrouded with dubbing which makes them move largely as a single cohesive piece.
Catching fish isn't enough though,for me there are other considerations. Namely tying time, durability, cost and availability of materials. the ballpeen craw ticks all these boxes.
Unlike most crawfish patterns it has very few tying steps -5 in total- making it nice and quick . The materials are cheap and readily available, aside from hook and thread all you need are bead chain, rubber legs, some crystal flash and a long fiber dubbing. When properly tied, it's tough ideal for fishing around rock walls and structure, pilings, concrete around dams, flood defenses and will last many many fish. It always lands the right way up. It's just great. The only downside is that it might be marginally snaggier on rip rap than some other patterns, but not that much, It could be fixed by cutting off the extra bead on either side, but that would reduce its stability sitting in current.
I fancy it'll make a great flats fly, a nice each way bet that looks crabby enough to cast and sit but also shrimpy enough to move. I'll be sticking some on saltwater hooks in the box before the next trip to the airport flat or if I manage down to Okinawa this year.
Hook: Kamasan B175 Size 6 (original TMC 3769 size 6)
Thread: 6/0 Uni to match colour scheme
Weight: Medium bead chain
Tail flash: Crystal flash Legs: SIlli legs
Body - rear1/3: SLF blend (Whitlock's blends are good)
Body - front 2/3: Craw dub Make the body in a dubbing loop