Tag Archives: blake leblanc

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d try to get Blake to send me a SBS of the crawfish pattern that I’ve had success with and wouldn’t you know the man came through. See his instructions below if you want to tie up a really effective crawfish fly that various species of bass and sunfish love:

This fly is a variant of the Crayfish X tied by Dron Lee. There wasn’t an SBS on his site and I liked how it looked so I tied it how I assumed it was tied. You can find more patterns by Mr. Lee here:


  • Eagle Claw 410 Jig size 2
  • Lead Dumbbell Eyes sized to match hook and sink rate
  • Spanflex
  • Sow Bug Dubbing
  • Fox Squirrel Zonkers
  • Mono Eyes
  • Furry Foam

Tie dumbbell eyes in at the front of the hook right at the bend. This helps to ensure that the fly falls hook point up and will allow space to whip finish later in the process.

Tie in the antennae and wrap to a point around the bend.

Make a small ball of dubbing right behind the antennae. This is to help splay out the claws and eyes.

Cut two zonker strips to length. These were 1” of hide that ended up being 1.5” in total length. Wrap them all the way up to the dubbing ball.

Pull each zonker strip out and hit the base with some UV resin (or super glue). Probably not a necessary step but I think it reduces fouling and also makes the claws spread out when the fly is sitting on the bottom.

Tie in some mono eyes on either side of the hook. I like to tie them so that they lay right above the claws to further reduce fouling. I make my own by heating up some 50 pound mono and then dipping it in some powder paint. I will then run it through the lighter again to smooth out the powder if needed. The final step is to use a cauterizing tool to bend them how you want them. You don’t have to actually touch the mono with the tool. Just get it close and the mono will bend towards the heat. Takes some practice to not melt other materials but makes setting the eyes in position pretty easy.

Dub the body to the hook point, tie in a leg on either side, then finish the area off by using figure 8 wraps to set the legs in a position you like. I prefer to add some dubbing before tying in the legs so that I’m not trying to build bulk in the area while having to deal with the legs. Build the bulk, tie in the legs, cover the tie-in.

Bring thread to the hook eye and dub back to the hook point.

Cut a piece of furry foam that is the size of the hook gap, cut a point on one end, and put it on the hook.

Place the hook back into the vise and tie the foam in somewhere near the point. Dub the tie in point to show some segmentation in the body, then dub your way to a point in the middle between the hook eye and first body segment. Repeat the process to right behind the hook eye.

Finish dubbing the final tie-in and whip finish between the hook eye and the furry foam. Trim the foam to form the tail.

I like to brush out the bottom of the fly with a dubbing brush.

Finished Fly

 Blake has his own version of a paddle clip belt and he has shared with us how he made it below. The only similarity with the one I initially made is the fact that it holds a paddle. He made his own clip out of PVC and used a lashing strap for the belt. Both versions work as designed and we’ve found them to be extremely helpful when stand up kayak fishing. Not satisfied, he went a step further and made one similar to the Dawgknots belt out of braided paracord. He showed us how to do that as well.

Materials will be listed as they are used in the steps below.

Step 1. Start off with a 4” piece of 1 ¼” PVC pipe. If your paddle has a thin handle, you may be able to get away with 1” pipe, but the bigger diameter is more universal. I also make marks on the top and bottom of the printing on the pipe (it’s just an estimation that is a little narrower than the diameter of your paddle handle).


Step 2. Using a hacksaw (I tried a Dremel tool, but it had too much power and I ended up messing it up), cut along the lines that you drew. Use some sandpaper to smooth out any rough or sharp edges. I used 100 grit. Test the clip on your paddle to make sure that it snaps over and that it’s not too tight that it won’t fit in or too loose that the paddle falls out.


Step 3. Take your strap (purchased at Walmart in the camping section for $2 and change) and place it along the back of the PVC. Use a marker to put a dot on the PVC on the top and bottom of the strap ½” from each end of the PVC. Use a drill to make a hole at all the spots that you made




Step 4. Connect the edges of the holes and then use your hacksaw to cut out the material in between the holes. Sand all edges smooth.




Step 5. Cut a piece of 3mm craft foam (purchased in sheets at Hobby Lobby) and use some contact cement to attach it between the two slots. You may have to use some thicker/thinner foam to suit your paddle, but 3mm seems to be pretty versatile.


Step 6. String your strap through the holes in the clip. I like to clip it onto the paddle and let the cement set.




The paddle clip belt will work perfectly as is. However, if you are anything like me and can’t leave “well enough” alone, then check out the next few steps on adding a braid onto the strap.


Step 7. The first thing to do is to make a jig out of a spare piece of wood. The jig I used is 20” from end of metal ring (purchased at West Marine) to the end of the female end of the clip (use the male end and some extra strap to secure the clip and ring to the jig.)


Step 8. I purchased the Paracord at Lowe’s. It came in 50’ length of 550lb strength (think it was around $10). To make a 20” braid, you’re going to need 25’ of cord. String the cord through the ring. Then string both strands through the female clip, then back through the ring from the bottom to the top.




Step 9. Even out the tips of the cord and pull all the slack from between the clips and ring. The first not of the braid is a simple overhand knot


Step 10. Looking at your first overhand knot, you will notice that one cord comes out of the bottom of the knot and the other comes out of the top. Always start with the cord coming out of the bottom. Bring the bottom cord over and across the top.


Step 11. Bring the top cord over the bottom cord, under the strands, and through the loop made by the bottom cord. Pull tight.




Step 12. Repeat the steps 10 and 11. Pull tight.




Step 13. Repeat the steps all the way down the strands to the clip.




Step 14. String the tag ends through the clip with one going each way so that you end up with a tag on either side of the clip.


Step 15. Use a leather puller (I used a tire plug tool, but a baseball glove leather puller would work better as it is not open on the end) to pull one tag end under one knot on the braid. After it’s pulled through, do your best to tighten up the knot that you just went under.



Step 16. Keep threading the tag end under the knots until you are confident that it is secure. I went under 5 on either side. Trim the tag end and tuck it under one of the knots. One side done.



Step 17. Do the same on the other side. The braid is complete. Now you have 25’ of unknotted cord to use if you should ever need it. I will just take a while to undo the braid



Step 18. With one side of the strap attached to the male end of the clip, thread the strap through the ring at the end of the braid. I like to tape off the strap so that it does not slide in the ring. Sew/glue/knot the strap at the ring. I chose to sew it.



Step 19. Measure the amount of strap that you will need to fit the belt around your waist and trim it. String the strap through the paddle clip, through the male end of the clip, then sew the tag end so that it can’t pull back through.


That gives you a completed paddle clip belt that has helped me catch many reds while sight fishing. Hope it works out for you.




Blake recently fashioned up a rod holder for his truck bed that should work better than, well, nothing at all. He documented the process and was nice enough to share it with us. His workflow is below:

I have broken a few rods in the back of the truck when it’s loaded with ice chests, kayaks, seats, and gear. To solve this broken rod problem, I moved the rods in the cab on the passenger side with the butts on the floor and the tips near the roof in the extra cab. This works, but I have three issues with this method of transport. The first issue is the fact that the hooks tend to catch into my seats. The second is that the passenger wasn’t comfortable and was always worried about hooking themselves. The third was the noise made by rods clanging and popping corks rattling. So, I set out to design a rod holder for my truck bed that would hold the rods out of the way when the truck is fully loaded. I didn’t like how any of the aftermarket rod racks pointed the rod up in the air above the top of the cab. I’m almost positive that I would go under a low clearance area and snap them all. Here is the design that I came up with. Haven’t tested it a whole lot, but I have driven with it fully loaded without issue.


Tip: As with all pvc projects, it’s best not to glue anything until you are sure everything fits.

– 1 ¼ “ pvc

– 4 end caps

– 2 female to female 90 degree elbows

– 2 female to male 90 degree elbows

– 2 eye bolts and nuts

– 2 bolts, washers, lock washers and nuts.

– Berkley rod holder

– JB water weld

– Exterior textured spray paint.

I decided to build the rod holder using the two over head rack mounting brackets located on the side of the truck bed.




I mounted two of the end caps in the bottom of the bracket. This helped to take some of the play out of the bottom of the rod holder. I had to modify the caps to get them in the bracket. I used a dremel and a hacksaw. I used the bolts, lock washers, washers and nut to mount them. It was kind of tricky, but I was able to worm my hand up the side panels of the truck bed to get the washers and nuts on the bottom side of the bolts.




Measure two lengths of pvc to fit into the modified end caps and extend out of the bracket and above the rails of the truck bed. Then mount the 90 degree elbow.



Now that the bracket is done, it’s time to start on the rod holder. I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures, but it should still be pretty self explanatory. Mount the M-F 90 elbow to one end of the pvc pipe. Then mount the rod holder to the length of pvc pipe. I initially used the wood screws that came with the rod holder and later changed them to short bolts and nuts for more security. Once the rod holder is mounted, the other cap can be fitted on the bottom. The reason for the holes in the elbows is to lock the rod holder arms in whatever position I want them in (I use the eye bolts and nuts for this).





Once everything fits, it’s time for some gluing and finish work. I wanted to make these things appear as if they were welded and sprayed to match the sprayed bed liner that I have in my truck bed. I started by filling all the cracks with jb water weld. There may be better options for this, but I liked the fact that it is waterproof, sandable and paintable. Didn’t get a shot of it all puttied up, but I went around the whole rod holder and all the pvc connection areas. After a day of setting, I used an electric sander to sand it down to look like it was welded.



The final thing to do was spray paint it to look like the bed liner. Again, there may be a better paint for this, but it is what I had on hand. I bought some of the sprayable plastidip to try also. It just peeled off. One thing I like about the set up is that I can put it in three different positions to suit whatever circumstances that I am dealing with. See the final product below. One thing that isn’t included in the photos is that I used a hex head bolt to secure the rod holder in through the hole in the side wall of the truck bed (see earlier picture of inside of the truck bed). The hex head replaced the bungie cord that is in the pictures below.

Option 1. Tailgate down. Kayaks on other side of the truck bed.



Option 2. Tailgate up. I use the holder in this position when I don’t have the kayaks



Option 3. Tailgate up. Truck bed full of stuff. Going camping or something like that.





Hope it works out for you . Enjoy.