Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Non-Slip Mono Loop Knot For Carp

As you may be aware I have been working on breaking the clinch knot habit for several years now.  If you do any research, any research at all, you quickly find out that the clinch knot is really the weakest commonly used fly connection but a wide margin.  Unfortunately I have been tying it since I was 12 and am very comfortable with it.  I can tie it rapidly and repeatedly and certainly get the maximum possible strength out of it but still wanted to change.

I tried the 16-20 knot for a while.  It was very strong when I got it right, but difficult to tie and very difficult to tie repeatedly.  I would either get a very very strong knot or a disaster.  I then tried the Double Davy Knot for a bit.  It was much easier to tie and once again tested very favorably in head to head strength competitions with the clinch, but I had similar issues with repeat-ability.  Neither knot managed to overcome my clinch comfort zone.

In all my research the Non-Slip Mono Loop kept popping up as an intriguing alternative.  Not only is it one of, and possibly even THE strongest fly connection knots, it has several other advantages because it is a loop knot.  I first learned of this knot from Captain Brian Horsely on the Outer Banks in North Carolina on one of the few guided trips I have ever taken and from Lefty Kreh's knot book.  It is yet another example of a knot that grew in popularity with saltwater guys that should be embraced in freshwater whenever you need light line for big fish.  In other words carp!

This time I have managed to get on the wagon and stay there.  The loop knot has been my go-to knot for carp for the past 6 months and I am extremely pleased with it's performance.  I am absolutely positive that this knot has saved me a carp or two or more.  Here is an instructional video in how to tie the Non-Slip Mono loop knot.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Sculpin Helmet McLuvin Tying Video

I have added a new Sculpin Helmet McLuvin tying video to YouTube.  This fly will be available from CATCH Fly Fishing in 2014.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Floods of 2013

I know folks are looking for a CarpSlam update.  Well, in short I got skunked.  Conditions were tough but I had my shots and didn't convert.  That is fly fishing for carp folks, especially on the South Platte.  Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you.  Fortunately my partner Chris Galvin caught one on a really difficult shot, so we didn't go home empty handed and I had a blast even without catching any carp.

Now on to some more interesting recent events.  As you may be aware we went straight from record high temps to record high rains in less than a week.  Floods are terrible things that ruin lives but they do have fascinating implications at times.  For example, who doesn't dream of catching fish out of their front street as a kid?  Well, call me obsessed but I always did.

Who knew? I should have just gone to downtown Aurora on my fishing day off! Instead I went to my favorite local lake just to "get out".

I was expecting impossible. I was expecting no fish and chocolate milk and no sun and perhaps even rain.  For crazy reasons of hydrology and localized weather beyond my understanding I was wrong and had everything I needed but good sun.

After a couple of hours patiently wading as slowly as I could stand it I had only gotten one good shot.  There were carp to be had, I just was not seeing them before they saw me.  Eventually though, my patience was rewarded when suddenly out of the depths of the darkness the clear image of a slowly cruising carp in ankle deep water appeared.  Fishing in cloudy light is like that. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. And then all of s suddenly you see a fish as clear as can be.   A quick lob and drag and drop later and that is how Fly-Carpin made it through the floods of 2013.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Carp Slam Mind Games

Is this my newest go-to carp fly for this years Carp Slam or just another poser proto-fly?  Wouldn't you like to know.

McLuvin Hybrid Carp Fly
McLuvin Hybrid Proto-Fly

Ahh Heck.  Who am I kidding.  Make no mistake - the McLuvin Hybrid will work and probably work well.  Development of it has been scheduled since the moment I discovered red pine squirrel several weeks ago but I think we all know what is going to be tied on the end of my line Saturday morning.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sculpin Helmet Bunny Carp Fly

As you may remember I took a trip to Lake MI with Miles (aka and Ty (aka Carp Aficionado) earlier this summer.  It was a great trip and we caught quite a few very very large carp.  The main two flies that we used were heavily weighted olive Jaime's Krazy Carpers and this small olive Sculpin Head Bunny fly.

The Sculpin Helmet Bunny (or SH Bunny) caught several very large carp in this trip but the one that stands out is this 34.5lb carp which was my new personal best by over 10lbs!

Large carp caught on a sculpin helmet bunny carp fly

Now, this fly uses the "small" FlyMen fishing company sculpin heads.  While they have a new size head "micro" that is a little more generally applicable, (see the SH McLuvin) these "small" sized heads result in a fly that would typically be much too heavy for carp in many parts of the country.  On the great lakes however, you can expect to be fishing at range on big flats to slowly cruising carp in seek and destroy mode.  That is what you are hoping for at any rate!

In that kind of scenario a heavy fly can often be very helpfull because once you spot a carp you usually don't have allot of time to make a cast and get the fly down close to the bottom. Additionally these fish are often aggresively on the prowl for meat and meat is what this fly represents.

Now, notice that this fly is NOT 3 or 4" or even 6" long.

When we where there really massive flies were not necessary or even helpful and the carp were not interested in expending too much energy chasing them down.  The gobies we were seeing on the flats (one of the primary carp forages on the Great Lakes) were small, olive and rather helpless.  As a result we caught one carp on a fly longer than 3", but everything else was on 1.5 to 2" long flies presented on a slow strip or twitch and even on a dead drop once or twice!

So, if you are going to Lake MI you might want to take a few of these.  As a matter of fact, I strongly suspect that this fly in a couple of different colors and lengths might be all you need much of the time!


  • Hook: Tiemco 760SP (Special Point) Size 4
  • Thread: Whatever - Thread is hidden.
  • Tail: Hareline Black Barred rabbit strips - Olive Variant
  • Body: Black Barred rabbit furr applied in a dubbing loop.
  • Head: Fishmen Fly Co Olive Sculpin Helmet, "small"

NOTE:  Notice how I did not label this fly "McTage's".  That would be silly.  Mostly because this is the first basic fly virtually everybody thinks of when they see these sculpin heads the first time.  Heck, it is even on the sculpin helmet package!