Borski’s Mangrove Critter by Jason Akl
Mangroves, in the simplest of terms, are broad-leaf evergreen trees that thrive in the transition zone where the land and sea come together. These dense thickets of trees are especially fond of brackish black water areas around fresh water seeps or river mouths. Mangrove marshes are particularly rich in aquatic life making them the perfect hunting grounds for large predatory fish. The roots of the mangroves are what make this environment so special for prey and predators alike. The roots grow out with runners that form entangled snares that are perfect for little critters to live and hide in.
This habitat is great for harboring many different species of bait fish, crabs, and shrimp. Although these Mangrove roots make perfect hiding places for all these many little critters they are regularly frequented by many species of predatory fish such as snappers, snook, barracuda, baby tarpon and permit looking for a easy meal.
Tim Borski’s amazing catch-all crab pattern is the perfect fly for chasing these ravenous mangrove species. The mangrove critter as it is called is a general crab imitation that can be fished weed-less around the root bottoms to get close to hunting fish. This simple wool, hackle and flash pattern is ideal for fishing these conditions seeing as it resembles natural forage, is light weight and easy to cast and came be retrieved in such a way as to make fish go wild.
To fish this fly simply cast this fly toward the back of the mangrove roots, and let it settle down in the water column to the fish’s level. Once the fly has reached the right level, strip the fly back towards yourself in an irregular fashion. If you reach a point where there is just sand beneath the fly allow it to drop to the bottom with a thud creating a cloud of sediment. Once the sediment settles resume striping and watching for a fish to dart out.
Fishing the mangroves can be very productive for a wide variety of exciting game fish. The best part of fishing these shallow clear water conditions is that you think you see all what is taking place underneath the water surface until a large snook or snapper sneaks out from beneath a root and slams your fly with reckless abandonment.
Materials Used in the Mangrove Critter
Hook: TMC Salt Water Hook Size 4
Thread : Uni-Thread Tan 6/0
Eyes: Puglisi Crab Eyes
Throat: Orange Dubbing
Body: Tan Sculpin Wool
Weight: Spirit River Deep Sea Lead
Hackle: Olive Grizzly Hackle
Start this fly by placing your hook upside down in the vice and securing it in place tightly. Attach the thread to the hook shank and advance the thread down the shank until you reach the point above the barb. At this point tie in a small clump of tan wool extending off the back of the hook shank on the top side of the hook shank tie in a pair of plastic eyes again extending of the back of the hook shank. Tie in a small piece of orange crystal chenille and take three turns around the hook shank. Tie off the chenille and clip the excess.
In front of the chenille tie in an olive grizzly hackle by its stem and wrap it around the hook shank a few times. Pull the hackle fibers to the top of the hook shank and wrap them in place with a few turns of threads. Form a loop with the thread and place small puffs of tan wool inside to be spun. Spin the wool into a bushy hackle and wrap it up the length of the hook shank. Trim it with you scissors to get a nice uniform look. Just behind the hook eye tie in a pair of lead eyes to add a little weight to the fly.
With a pantone marker color the top side of the wool hair olive and leave the bottom half of wool tan. Allow the marker to dry completely so that you do not smudge it on the rest of the body then whip finish the thread and cement the head.