Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sculpin Helmet (SH) McLuvin Carp Fly

The Sculpin Helmet (SH) McLuvin is an adaptation of McTage's McLuvin thought up by Eric Bebee at CATCH Fly Fishing.  As you may know I often use a tripod of bead-chain and a bead to create a headstand effect for my carp flies.  In late May Eric had the idea to replace the tripod on the McLuvin with the new Fish-Skull "Mini" sized sculpin helmets.  He sent me a few for testing and with the exception of asking for a hook change I liked them so much they are going directly onto my favorite carp flies list.

The head-stand attitude and swimming action is perfect but at first I was worried that they would be too heavy.  They ARE heavy, but this June/July I spent allot of time slow-wading knee and thigh deep water for pre and post-spawn tailers.  It turns out that the SH McLuvin is perfect for that, and I ended up fishing it almost exclusively for over a month.  I even broke them out on Lake MI and caught two nice carp on it there.  I had such a good month that there is no way I can keep this fly off my favorite carp fly list.  It even landed my first grass carp!

(click to enlarge)

This is NOT the fly that you want on the end of your like if you are fishing 8" deep flats.  Don't get me wrong, if you are fishing knee deep flats and bump into a shallow fish you can make it happen,

As a matter of fact I have already caught several carp in super shallow water with it using various indirect presentations but that is just not what nature intended for this fly.  Instead this fly should come to mind when you are fishing to to deep (knee to mid-thigh) tailers.

Now, in terms of the presentation this fly seems to be very noticeable to tailing carp.  I don't know if the head makes turbulence on the drop or if the broad flattened profile is more noticeable but the dinner plate seems to be bigger with this fly than normal.  For whatever reason I can make carp move further than I am used to for this fly.  I have repeatedly found that I can drop the fly 6 to 8" further away from tailing carp than I expect and still trigger a response.  Generally making carp move to your fly if they will is a good idea because it makes detecting the take easier.


RECIPE:  This is the recipe for an olive version which is what I have caught all the carp on so far.

  • Hook:  Size 6 CarpPro Gaper
  • Thread:  140 Denier, any color
  • Body:  Spirit River UV2 dubbing Scud Shrimp Olive. 
  • Tail:  Wapsi micro pine squirrel zonker, sculpin olive. 
  • Collar:  1 to 3 wraps of the same micro pine squirrel.
  • Head:  Fish-Skull mini sculpin helmet, olive.
I haven't fished it yet but a rust version seems reasonable (doesn't it always?) with rust pine squirrel, brown sculpin helmet and the "Scud Shrimp Fl Orange" UV2 dubbing. 


  1. Good collaboration on an already proven design. I wish I had more aggresive fish than I do where I fish most often. I like that fly-do have seasonal ponds I can use them in. I think the head is a large part of the success as I key in factor, perhaps.


    1. It does seem to have trigger properties of some kind. As do many laterally flattened profiles in my opinion.

  2. Excellent post! I hope to try one of these soon! Thanks for all of the info!

  3. I love the skulpin helmets. I use them on craw dads here in East Tennessee and they're deadly on carp, bass and browns..1 note...I got nailed in the back of the head by a crayfish with a skulpin helmet on it and it must have been going 30 freakin hurt...other than that..awesome tying accutrament..

    1. I hit myself with one a while back as well. A little heavier than I am used to throwing these days. Not so heavy I can't get used to it though. It freakin hurt me too.


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