Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Zimmerman’s Backstabber Carp Fly

Some flies are standards.  Go-to flies that everybody uses.  Flies like the Wooly-Bugger for Trout and the Clouser Minnow for Smallmouth.  Flies that tie easy and imitate many different forms of prey at the same time.  These flies depend on profile, color and action more than fine detail.  They cross-over for multiple species (including carp) and across broad ranges of conditions. 

Jay Zimmerman’s Backstabber (his blog) will probably become one of the standard carp flies.  You could argue that the Backstabber is the best all-round carp pattern currently available commercially so perhaps it already is.  I would probably advise anybody just starting out fly-carpin to start with this pattern.

:  The Backstabber ties quickly and easily.  Adding the hackle in front of the eyes sometimes annoys me a little but that is my problem.  As you may be able to tell from the picture I am hackle challenged..

Adaptability:  When it comes to consistency, color availability, expense and ease of use marabou and dubbing stand out as two of the best materials.  The Backstabber scales easily to different sizes.  I have not decided how well it tunes for different weights. 

Four species have grabbed a Backstabber for me so far (Smallmouth, Bluegill, Carp and Barred Surf Perch J ).  I am certain it can and will catch many more.

I tend to reach for this fly in still-water but others report success in running water as well.

Profile and action:  The Backstabber combines a carp-appealing generic profile, a hook-up attitude and excellent action.  On the strip or under current the fly compresses slightly into a reverse tear-drop profile that triggers carp.  On the pause it expands out to give a pulsating action.  On the drop the marabou flutters and dances but still lets the fly get to the bottom relatively quickly.  The final product creates a pattern that fishes well for a variety of presentations and conditions. 

The Backstabber gives a decent impression of a fleeing or diving crayfish in the rust color, but personally I think that it really imitates the almost extinct i-dont-really-give-a-shit-it-works bug.      

Directions:  The excellent U-Tube video says it all, but you don’t have to stick with just the standard weights / color combos they give.  For example, all black and all olive both work.  Sometimes I also substitute a bright orange dubbing on the rust pattern. 

I use this fly from size 6 through 10, usually with the 1/8” Dazzle-Eyes.  I have not played with different weights yet and when I want to get deep fast or play in current I just go with a different fly.  The black / olive combo in size 10 with just 2 small marabou tips and 1/8” eyes really produces in my favorite ponds.


  1. Thanks for posting this McTage. Kinda reminds me of the Primordial Carp-Stew. I'm going to throw both of 'em at the carp here on my home water in Georgia this year.

  2. The Backstabber was defenitely an influence on the carp-stew. How much longer until things get going in Georgia? Cant be that far off?

  3. Dig this tie, though I have yet to catch a fish on it...we will change that on you run to OR. I haven't given it a fair shake. Like to fish the carp stew and backstabber this year.

  4. Thats always the hard part...taking the time to build confindence in a new fly when you have dozens in your box you know will work. If I ever get caught up on flies maybe I will mail you some stews.

  5. Yep,you're right McTage. Won't be long down here in GA. Saw several dark shadows on the carp flats when I drove by them this weekend.


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