Monday, January 31, 2011

Beating The “Dinner Plate Paradox” For Tailing Carp

The dinner plate paradox is the conflict of requirements to get a tailing carp to eat a fly.  First of all you have to get the fly on the bottom into the feeding zone or the “dinner plate”.  This zone can range from several inches to several feet around the carps head.  At the same time if you actually land your fly in that zone it frequently becomes the Ahh-Shit zone as the carp runs in terror.  To make matters worst the feeding zone and Ahh-Shit zone are often about the same size!

Friday, January 28, 2011

CARPTORIOUS: Boom-Boom Firepower, 2 for 4

I wasn't even supposed to be out fishing today.  I had a Dad's day at Zack's school until 9:30.  It was fun and he loves that stuff.  When I got home to go to work my wife reminded me it was going to be 60degrees today and that I should take the day off and go fishing.  What can I say, she is a bad influence!  Or a great influence since I went 2 for 4! (Sorry, no pics, I forgot my camera)

Friday, January 21, 2011

CARPTORIOUS: Gonna need a bigger net

I am a truly lucky man in that I get every other Friday off from work.  When things work out those are fishing days.  Today worked out.  Today worked out just fine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

McTage's Primordial Carp-Stew

Updated December 2013

The Primordial Carp Stew has been one of my most productive carp flies since I originally wrote about it almost three years ago.  The laterally flattened profile seems to appeal to carp and the rub-a-dub body has great action.

Primordial Carp-Stew carp fly

How good is the action?  Take a look:

In 2011 I was using three basic color combinations:  A rust, olive and grey.  In the years since I have found the olive and rust to be the most productive.  In particular the olive seems to be very flexible and it seems to be mistaken for many food sources including crayfish, leaches and even larger nymphs.

I have also worked out a couple of other color combinations that have seen limited service.  In particular black and yellow have caught a carp or two.

Tying Video:

Standard Recipe:

  • Hook: Gamakatsu SL-45 size 6 and 8 
  • Thread: 140 denier Ultra Thread 
  • Eyes: 1/8" Dazzle Eyes, Black 
  • Weight: 8 wraps of .025" lead 
  • Body: Swishers Rub-A-Dub applied in a dubbing loop. 
  • Accent Collar: A contrasing color dubbing between the Rub-A-Dub and eyes 
  • Tail: 4 nymph sized sili legs splayed 
  • Belly: 4 flexi-floss strands Beard: Rabbit hair from a rabbit strip 

Color Combos: The Olive and Rust are my go-to color combos but I have had success with several.

  • RUST - Rust is a standard carp color in general and seems to work better in the summer. 
    • Fl orange thread Orange Rub-A-Dub body 
    • Bright orange collar 
    • Rust beard 
    • Light brown nymph sili-legs 
    • Orange / Black MFC Speckled Sexi-legs (a flexi-floss) 
  • OLIVE - Seems to work better in spring and fall. 
    • Black thread 
    • Olive Rub-A-Dub body 
    • Whitlock's squirrel SLF collar
    • Dark olive beard 
    • Light olive nymph sili-legs 
    • Olive / Black MFC Speckled Sexi-legs (a flexi-floss) 
  • YELLOW - Has excellent visibility for both the carp and the angler in slightly stained water. 
    • Olive thread 
    • Yellow Rub-A-Dub body
    • Whitlock's squirrel SLF collar 
    • Golden olive beard 
    • Light olive nymph sili-legs 
    • Yellow / Black MFC Speckled Sexi-legs (a flexi-floss) 
  • BLACK - I frequently use black flies in extremely off-color water 
    • Black thread 
    • Black Rub-A-Dub body Olive dubbed collar with some flash 
    • Black beard 
    • Dark olive nymph sili-legs 
    • Olive / Black MFC Speckled Sexi-legs (a flexi-floss) 

  • WEIGHT: The standard design is heavily weighted for medium depths and / or current. In shallow and still-water situations I will fish a variant with 3 to 5 wraps of lead and small stainless steel bead-chain.
  • BELLY: In the past I have used the same sili-legs used to make the tail to make the belly. Unfortunately the belly takes a beating hitting the water and this has proven to not be a durable option. I have also tried various rubber sheeting materials with similar results. I now use flexi-floss due to its ridiculous strength.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

CARPTORIOUS: A Successful Winter Quickie

Yesterday I became the proud new owner of some SIMMS headwater waders.  I have been putting it off, but my old ones are 7 years old and leak in the crotch.  Which isn't a big deal until you get in over your crotch and then you are cold in areas that just should NOT get cold.  What carp fears a man with shrinkage?

At any rate that had me itching to try them out.  Yesterday was a no-go, Zack and I had more important things to do with the rapidly receding snow but Sunday worked out nicely.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Case Study: Shopping with Circulators

Regardless of your experience level the cruising carp can be one of the most baffling and frustrating patterns to fish.  They are very common, mysterious and frequently passive to the point of appearing brain-dead.  Once you understand a subset of cruising carp called circulating carp though, things can move from frustrating to fun.

This summer I had a chance to really get down and dirty on one lake for a three week period during post-spawn in early summer.  One of the dominate behaviors for that entire period was cruising carp (with some spawning mixed in) that were actually circulating carp.  And these circulating carp were actually changing modes in a somewhat predictable pattern.  Since I had the opportunity to put allot of time on the water I was able to really study them and figure out quite a bit. 

Below is a sketch of an interesting section of water on this lake. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jamie's Krazy Carper Carp Fly

So far it seems like the people enjoy flies and winter catch reports - in that order.  Power to the people and all that - this is the revolution.  Unfortunately it IS winter and despite what went down Friday (still smiling) real-time fish stories will be slim for another month or two!  So another fly it is. 

I originally started tying flies because if you wanted to fish the Salmon / Steelhead of the great lakes it was either start tying or go broke.  You can easily lose 100 flies in a trip.  That means you come to value the quality of a good "Guide Fly".  Or "Quick and Dirties" as we called them.  Some friends once showed up on the river with hooks wrapped with pipe-cleaners.  The Pipe-Cleaner Twins as they became known would have loved Jaime's Krazy Carper.  Quick, easy and very effective. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Diversify Your Carp Pattern Portfolio: Seek and Destroy

When I can find it my favorite carp is an aggresive carp.  By that I mean a carp that takes hard and aggresively on the strip.  Coaxing a tailing carp to slurp up a perfect presentation or charge a foot forward and pick up a twitched fly IS extremely gratifying...but so is getting your shit hammered on the strip.
Enter the most ultra aggresive carp feeding pattern.  "Seek and Destroy".  And yes Metallica should be ringing through your skull right now.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Freakish Beaver, Construction Blues and a Mutant Winter Carp

It was a crazy day fishing the Denver Urban South Platte.  I started too early so I went to check out a new spot.  As I was creeping down the bank looking for signs of life the world exploded behind me.  I nearly fell in I was so startled.  Out of the underbrush lumbered a HUGE beaver with about a quarter of his fur looking ready to fall out.  In downtown Denver!  We are talking at least 30lb.  The tail was about a foot wide and two feet long.

This is the second beaver I have seen on the S.Platte.  The other one was a couple miles upstream and about half his size. 

A couple years back somebody found one dead that they claimed had to be upwards of 80lbs.  After seeing this guy it doesn't sound like such a stretch.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

McTage's MMF Clouser (Clouser Foxee Redd Minnow Variant)

What makes a fly a new fly worthy of a new name and identity? That is a difficult question. I have always called this fly the MMF (short for Magical Mutha _____). In truth it is a variant on Clouser’s Foxee Redd Minnow but call it what you want.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome to the Revolution Part 1: Lessons in Fly Fishing Humility

I am the 4th generation in a very specialized fly fishing family.  My family has had a cabin near some of the best small high country trout streams in Colorado for over 60 years.  As a result the local trout tremble at our name.  On his home turf Grandpa could paste anybody.  The man had a renegade and he knew what to do with it. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Diversify Your Fly Fishing for Carp Portfolio: Bank Fixated

A human tendency is to make single or limited observations of behavior and then generalize.  This is the foundation of many prejudices within our society.  Fly fishing for carp is all about establishing patterns in fish behavior and then taking advantage of those patterns.  When we generalize too much it hurts our ability to understand a complex portfolio of patterns.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

McTage's Primordial-Crust Carp Fly

Welcome to Fly-Carpin.  Lets start with a Carp-Fly!  The moment I found Swisher's Rub a Dub I knew it and a dubbing loop where destined for carp fame.  The end result did quite well for me this fall triggering aggressive takes from otherwise passive fish. An interesting side-effect of using the rabbit strip and  slili legs pulled forward to flatten the profile is a slight spoon-like flutter on the drop.

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