January 19, 2020
By Ned Kehde
We have noted many times that a soft-plastic crayfish has played a significant role in the repertoire of Midwest finesse anglers since 1977, which was when Dion Hibdon of Versailles, Missouri, crafted the first one for his school’s science project.
Since then, the tackle industry has manufactured scores of soft-plastic crayfish. And in 2017, Kelly Barefoot of Raleigh, North Carolina, who is the proprietor of Catch Outdoors BITE! and a much-heralded lure designer, created one that he calls the Craw Jr., which looks to be an ideal one for Midwest finesse anglers to affix to a small mushroom-style jig.
Barefoot sent us several of them to work with and thoroughly examine.
Here is what we discovered about the Craw Jr.:
Barefoot’s rendition of a crayfish is much more lifelike than the abstract one that Dion created, which ultimately became the Guido Bug. In other words, the Craw Jr. exhibits many of the anatomical features of a real crayfish.
It is 2 15/16 inches long.
Its cephalothorax section is eleven-sixteenths of an inch long. This section is endowed with a head, rostrum, mouth, mandible, eyes, carapace, cephalic grove, and five walking legs.
The head is a half of an inch long.
The tip of the head is endowed with two antennae. Each antenna is seven-eighths of an inch long. The dorsal area of the antennae is segmented and convex. The ventral area is flat with a smooth epidermis.
The tip of the head is devoid of the antennules that grace a real crayfish’s head.
The head’s V-shaped rostrum is five-sixteenths of an inch long. An eye is situated on each side of the rostrum.
The head’s dorsal area has a smooth epidermis.
At its mouth and mandible, there is a cavity that is three-eighths of an inch deep or long and a quarter of an inch wide. This is where an angler can insert a pair of steel ball bearings in a vacuum-sealed glass chamber or some scent.
A large walking leg radiates from each side of the cephalothorax near the junction of the head and thorax. Each leg is 1 1/4 inches long, and it possesses a cheliped, which anglers call a claw. Each claw is three-quarters of an inch long and five-sixteenths of an inch wide at its widest spot. The epidermis of these legs and claws is smooth.
Four small walking legs branch out from each side of the cephalothorax. Each leg is jointed, round, and nine-sixteenths of an inch long.
Between the second and third small walking legs, the cephalothorax possesses a circumference of about 1 3/8 inches and a width of seven-sixteenths of an inch.
The dorsal area of the cephalothorax is convex with a smooth epidermis. It is covered by the carapace, which is engraved with the cephalic grove.
The cephalothorax’s ventral is flat and segmented. And those segments are joined to the eight tiny walking legs and two large walking legs.
The abdomen is 1 3/16 inches long. The first three-eighths of an inch of the abdomen has four segments. Near the junction of the abdomen and the cephalothorax, the circumference is 1 3/16 inches, and it is three-eighths of an inch wide. The next segment, which is five-eighths of an inch long, contains eight well-divided segments, and some anglers might describe this segment as possessing a ring-worm motif.
The abdomen is devoid of swimmerets. But one-fourth of an inch from the junction of the abdomen and cephalothorax is a small, flat, thin, and triangular-shaped appendage that spreads out from the side of the abdomen.
The abdomen’s dorsal section has a convex shape. Its ventral is flat.
Its tail has a semi-dome shape, and it is devoid of the uropods and telson that grace a real crayfish’s tail. It is three-sixteenths of an inch long and one-quarter of an inch wide at its widest spot. The epidermis is smooth. Its ventral is flat.
The Craw Jr. is manufactured in the following hues: Black and Blue, Delta Craw, Green Pumpkin, Mudbug, and White.
It is exceptionally buoyant and not impregnated with salt or scent. And when the Craw Jr. is affixed to a small mushroom-style jig, its buoyancy and flat ventral area will accentuate its ability to glide when Midwest finesse anglers employ their swim-glide-and-shake presentation.
A package of eight costs $4.99.