In this week’s “How to Tie” video feature, Charlie Craven ties one of the top producing saltwater crab patterns in history, Del’s Merkin Crab.

Learn About This Fly:

Difficulty: Intermediate

The Merkin Crab is one of the most notorious saltwater crab patterns in history. Traditionally, permit anglers swore by them and never went fishing without a wide variety in their fly boxes. In the most recent years, the Alphlexo Crab has gotten tons of attention for its productivity, but the history does not lie. Del’s Merkin Crab, or what many refer to simply as the Merkin Crab, is a pattern that every saltwater flats angler should carry with them.

When tying this pattern, it will be important to go slow when creating the body with EP fibers or yarn. Rushing this step may make the body either too sparse or too dense, and it is very important to find the middle ground. Follow the video instructions on segmentation of the strands, then after a few you will know exactly how much you will need. Adding a weed guard to Del’s Merkin is a personal choice, and one that may be smart if fishing for species such as striped bass in New England where there is a high quantity of aquatic vegetation.

Whether in the Florida Keys, Seychelles, or striped bass flats of Cape Cod, this pattern will entice fish. Before the Alphlexo Crab, Del’s Merkin was at the top of the food chain and for good reason. No matter the location, if your target species has a diet with crabs then this pattern will produce fish. Del’s Merkin Crab is a tried and true saltwater pattern and certainly one that no flats angler should be without on the water.



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