September 15, 2020
Since the late 1970s, a soft-plastic crayfish has played a critical role in the repertoire of Midwest finesse anglers.
The first one was the Guido Bug, which Dion Hibdon of Versailles, Missouri, crafted for his school’s science project in 1977. Shortly after Dion created the first one, it was modified a tad, and several members of his family began handcrafting scores of them. And the late and great Guido Hibdon, who was Dion’s father and one of the forefathers of Midwest finesse fishing, gradually introduced it to the angling world during his days as a stellar fishing guide and a spectacular bass-tournament angler.
The Hibdons discovered that it was categorically impossible and unnecessary to create a soft-plastic lure that possesses all of the anatomical features of a real crayfish. Therefore, the Guido Bug was an abstract rendition of a crayfish.
Since those formative years of Midwest finesse fishing, untold numbers of fishing-tackle manufacturers have created a variety of soft-plastic crayfish for power and finesse anglers to use. And even the most elaborate ones do not exhibit all of the anatomical features of a real crayfish.
Rabid Baits of Poultney, Vermont, has recently created an artful and delicate soft-plastic crayfish. It is called the Rabid Craw, which the folks at Rabid Baits describe as being “the ultimate ned rig” or Midwest finesse rig.
We talked Bob Scott Jr, who is one of Rabid Baits’ three owners, about the Rabid Craw, and he mailed us some samples to work with and examine.
Here is what we discovered about it.
Straightaway, what radically differentiates the Rabid Craw in our eyes from the other soft-plastic crayfish is its chela. The chela is what anglers call a claw, and it is located at the end of the cheliped, which is the appendage that extends from the front of the crayfish’s thorax. Some anatomists have described the cheliped as a walking leg. The Rabid Craw’s two chelae or claws consist of delicate nuggets of rabbit fur rather than a soft-plastic rendition of a crayfish’s claws. And the folks at Rabid Baits note that these fur claws exhibit unique and alluring pulsations.
Rabid Claw is advertised as being three inches long. But our measurements, which include the lengths of the two rabbit-fur chelae, indicate that it is 3 ½ inches long.
Its abdomen is thirteen-sixteenths of an inch long. Its dorsal and ventral areas are identical. It has five tergums or segments, and they are cylinder shaped. The epidermis of each tergum is smooth.
The first tergum, which is adjacent to the junction of the abdomen and cephalothorax, has a width of three-eighths of an inch and a circumference of 1 1/8 inches.
The dimensions of the other four tergums or segments become slightly larger as they progress to the end of the abdomen.
The fifth or last tergum has a width of seven-sixteenths of an inch and a circumference of 1 3/8 inches. The tip of this tergum is flat, and it has a slight indentation, which is where Midwest finesse anglers will insert the hook and bait keeper of a mushroom-style jig.
Thus, it needs to be noted that the Rabid Craw’s abdomen is devoid of the telson and uropods that adorn the abdomen of a real crayfish.
The cephalothorax, which includes it head and thorax, is 1 1/8 inches long. Radiating from each side of the thorax are four tiny walking legs and the cheliped and its chela. The biggest of the four tiny walking leg is one-half on an inch long, and the shortest is three-sixteenths of an inch long. The distance from the side of the thorax to the tip of the chela or rabbit fur is 2 1/16 inches. The rabbit fur is hand tied and embedded into the cheliped. The rabbit fur is 1 ½ inches long.
The dorsal area of the of the cephalothorax is endowed with two tiny eyes and an abstract rendition of a rostrum. It doesn’t possess the cephalic groove of a real crayfish. Therefore, its epidermis is smooth.
The cephalothorax’s ventral area is endowed with a V-shaped indentation that is about five-eighths of an inch long and about a quarter of an inch wide at its widest spot. Each side of the V-shaped indentation is adorned with three segments that form a ridge.
At the cephalothorax’s widest spot, it is seven-sixteenths of an inch wide with a circumference of 1 ½ inches, and this area is situated at about three-quarters of an inch from the tip of Rabid Craw’s head.
The head is devoid of the four antennae that embellish a real crayfish. But when the rabbit fur on the Rabid Craw’s chelipeds undulate and quiver, the tremblings and flutterings of the antennae are not missed in our human eyes.
It is manufactured in the following hues: Black and Blue, Green Pumpkin Black, Monster Red, Mossy Blue, St. Lawrence, and Sexy Craw.
A package of four costs $5.99.
- Here is a link to Rabid Baits’ website: https://www.rabidbaits.com/product-page/rabid-craw.
- Midwest finesse anglers will affix the Rabid Craw to a small mushroom-style jig with an exposed hook. The jigs will range in size from as small as 1/64-ounce to as large as 3/32-ounce. They will present this rig to their black-bass quarries by using all six of the standard Midwest finesse retrieves or slight variations of those retrieves. Here is the link to our Midwest Finesse column that explains how to execute those retrieves: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/six-midwest-finesse-retrieves/153946.
- In the weeks to come, we will publish gear guides about the Darter and Goby.
- Here is the link to our Midwest Finesse gear guide about Rabid Bait’s Shaker Worm: https://www.in-fisherman.com/editorial/shaker-worm/378795.