I was wandering around, totally unsupervised by the Basswife, in Gander Mountain the other day and saw the Crappie section. I was struck by the fact that there were a wide variety of plastics specifically targeted for this species. They are small, interesting and, most of all, fishable on a fly rig.
In the picture below, you can see three on the left compared to the infamous "trout magnet" and, in the picture on the right, I show a plastic crawfish compared to a tied crawfish.
For smallies, I think these small plastics will be killers. We use plastics on spin gear to go after them right now. All this does is downsize the plastics to be launchable from a fly rod. Just bump these along the bottom and I know you will attract the attend of a few bronzebacks.
But, what about trout? If the trout magnet works - and it does - why shouldn't these other patterns work? When I compare the crawfish traditional fly pattern to the plastic, the plastic is cheaper by a factor of 10. That crawfish fly cost about 3 bucks. You can get 10 or more of the small plastics for about the same price, or less. Pop a small hook in the plastic, weight it with a split shot and I think you are ready to fish. In the picture on the right, I used the same hooks that come with the trout magnets.
I'll let you know how it works out when the weather warms and I can get back out.
But - be careful if you try this. The few fly fishing only locations in Maryland specifically prohibit:
"Specifically prohibited are the use of molded replicas of insects, earthworms, fish eggs, fish or any invertebrate or vertebrate either singly or in combination with other materials, or other lures commonly described as spinners, spoons, or plugs made of metal, plastic, wood, rubber or similar substance or a combination of these."
The regs make a distinction between Artificial Flies and Artificial Lures. The fly is a distinct subset:
Artificial Fly – A lure constructed by winding natural or synthetic material such as feathers, fur, hair, tinsel, thread, plastic, cork, or rubber on or about the hook, and designed to be cast by means of a fly rod.
Artificial Lure – Following is a partial list of items considered artificial lures: spinners, spoons, plugs and molded facsimiles of worms, insects and fish. For the purposes of these regulations, artificial flies and streamers are considered to be artificial lures.
Virginia has a more inclusive, less restrictive definition that would allow these to be used anywhere:
"Artificial lure shall include manufactured or handmade flies, spinners, plugs, spoons, and facsimilies of live animals, but shall not be construed to include artifically produced organic baits and fish eggs that are intended to be ingested. Artificial lure with single hook shall mean any single point lure (with no multiple point hooks)."
Southern Pro Crappie Critters $ 1.49
These critters resemble a multi-legged insect and feature an active twin tail. Available in the ten enticing colors shown below. Length: 2.0". Comes in 10 or 100 packs.
Please allow 3 to 10 days for shipment Click to Buy