Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Reynolds' Upside Down Swimming Nymph and Carp Soft-Hackle

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Tier: Barry Reynolds
Notes:  Barry Reynolds really needs no introduction, but just in case you live under a rock he basically helped start the revolution by co-authoring the book "Carp on The Fly".  He then followed that up with several great videos and many magazine articles.  All the while he has been a mentor for me and many other Denver Metro carpers over the years.

The first of Barry's submissions is an upside down version of the swimming nymph.  I suspect that many people don't really realize that he often ties and fishes his swimming nymphs much more like a crayfish than a nymph.   His bodies are a little more robust, his hackle is dressed a little thicker and he often (but not always) uses WAY more weight than people imagine.  It looks like a big dubbed body but what you can't tell in pictures is that Barry is totally unafraid of fishing a thin veneer of dubbing over a thick lead body - particularly when he is fishing heavy current in the Denver South Platte.

His second fly is a small white soft hackle.  You would think he would already know it all right?  Not at all.  Barry is always just as ready to learn from others as teach, and one of the things he has learned from us (many of us) in the revolution over the past three years or so is how effective the soft hackle can be for carp.  

Upside Down Swimming Nymph Recipe:
  • Hook: Teimco 200R size 6
  • Thread: 140 Denier Fluorescent Orange
  • Tail:  Brown Mini Marabou
  • Body: Wapsi Craw Dub Rusty Brown??
  • Weight: 8 wraps 0.020" lead wire
  • Eyes:  Medium Black Bead-chain
  • Legs: Brown Indian Hen
  • Wing-Case:  Peackock

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Upshall's Rattle N' Tree Rat

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Tier: Robert Upshall
State: Orangeville, ON (that's in Canada... dummies)

About:  "This pattern evolved from a pattern I found online a few years back called "Simple Crawfish". It was a crawfish pattern that had claws made of squirrel tail and a dubbed body. I fish it the same as I fish other crawfish patterns; on a fluro leader, on the bottom, mostly slow small erratic strips. Mix in an occasional longer strip now and then. The placement of the dumbbell eyes in conjunction with small strips cause the fly to pivot and the claws will rock upwards in a defensive position. I've caught many tailing fish with this fly and plenty of fish blind casting into deeper pools. It's also caught it's share of bass and a few pike. My home carp water is a crawfish infested gravel bottom river."

Notes: This is a MASSIVELY interesting pattern for a couple of reason. First, it is the first I've seen that intentionally incorporates a rattle. I believe that bead chain rattles and, for that reason, can be effective. This fly takes it a step further. Carp already use most of their senses (taste, smell, touch) against us and any fly that leverages a sense other than vision to give flyfishermen an edge is very interesting to me. The other thing that is interesting is that Upshall is Canadian and in true Canadian fashion was nice enough to use up his entire rattle supply to be sure that every participant received a fly. To that I say, pretty Canada nice, eh?  

  • Hook: Teimco 8089 #10
  • Thread: Uni 6/0 - Rust Brown
  • Rattle: Waspi 3mm Micro Rattle
  • Claws: Squirrel Tail - Natural Red Fox
  • Weight: 1/40oz Plain Lead Eyes
  • Body: Hare's Ear Plus Dubbin - Rusty Orange
  • Legs(wing): Marabou - Burnt Orange
  • Antennae: Sili Legs - Perfectly Barred Brown

CARPTORIOUS: Kicking it Still-water style

I caught a carp today.  Two of them actually.  Both small and no big deal really, and hardly worthy of a blog post but these carp were interesting to me for several reasons.

First of all, I need an excuse to post about something NOT fly swap related.  Any old excuse will do and since it has been over a month since I have had the time and gumption to give carpin a go this is a pretty good excuse.

Secondly, I have now caught a carp every month for 24 straight months.  Thank god for small victories.  I am one miserable January of 2012 from it being 36 months but who is counting.  I am counting.  Stupid January.

Thirdly, these count as the first two still-water carp of the new year for me and that might be the earliest still-water catch for me yet.  I measure Winter a little differently than the traditional method.  I figure it this way: If I cannot catch carp in still-water it is Winter.  If I can catch carp in stillwater it is not-Winter.  I really really hate Winter.  I really really really like not-Winter.  As far as I am concerned Winter is officially OVER.  That is a bold and foolhardy statement in Colorado and will probably result in several blizzards in the next three weeks but to heck with it.

And finally, I caught both carp on the headstand leech I have been working on which has been tweaked just a little bit from where it was in this post.  As a matter of fact every carp I have caught in the past three months has been on various subtle tweaks and prototypes of this fly.  As such, I think it has finally formally earned it's name which will be "Chubby Chaser Leech"!

McTage's Chubby Chaser Leech Carp Fly

McTage's Chubby Chaser Leech Carp Fly

McTage's Chubby Chaser Leech Carp Fly

2014 Fly Swap: Meetz' Carp Bug

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Tier: Levi Meetz
State: Wisconsin

About:   "This fly is are experimental at the moment.  I am 15 years old from WI, and I recently got into fly tying last winter and carp specifically last fall so I haven't had a chance to go out and really try for carp yet."

Notes:  Levi is a one of a number of high energy gung-ho youngsters in the swap this year.  If I hadn't back-door reserved 3/4 of the spots I am pretty certain a majority of the swappers would be under 20!  It is hard for guys my age to conceptualize but I think that for most younger guys, fly fishing for carp is just part of the landscape.  In their generation, I suspect that it might end up being kindof weird to NOT fly fish for carp.
  • Hook: Small Jig Hooks
  • Thread:­ Small green.
  • Body:  Red STS Trilobal
  • Hackle:­ Black chinese saddle hackle.
  • Weight­:  20 to 25 wraps of .010 lead.
  • Legs:­ Spirit River white silicone grizzly legs.
  • Wing:­ Natural bucktail

Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Gallant's Carp Crawler

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Tier: Chance Gallant
State: Flat Rock, MI
Instagram:­ @Chancegall

About:  "The inspiration for this fly came to me one spring afternoon at a dirty local golf course pond. The carp in this particular pond were really giving me a hard time. I just couldn't seem to find a fly they were willing to eat. After spooking half a dozen carp one afternoon, I was feeling pretty discouraged. While I was sitting on the bank trying to recollect myself, I remembered one of the golden rules of carpin': Know Your Forage. I pulled out my net and started digging it through the mud. Inside the stinky muck were two small lime­green damsel fly nymphs that I knew the carp must be munching on. The next day I returned with my new damsel pattern and had some fantastic success. Since that day this fly is what I'm using 90% of the time. I like to fish it very slowly; leading the fish and then inching the fly along the bottom. I have found this fly to work great on shallow, tailing carp and also on spooky carp because it doesn't make much of an impact when it hits the water."

Notes: Chance is a fantastic carp fly fisherman and a resident of Flat Rock Michigan, where he also targets Steelhead on the Huron. Incidentally, McTage used to race Go-carts in Flat Rock. After talking to McTage and Chance about Flat Rock I've learned that the Go-Cart races are fixed and the Steelhead only eat rocks. Sounds like sour grapes to me.  
  • Hook: Allen S402BL size 10
  • Thread:­ 8/0 uni olive
  • Rib:­ Green wire
  • Weight­: .030 lead strip along the back.
  • Tail:­ Turkey belly maribou
  • Dubbing:­ Cohen's carp dub. 50/50 blend of Martian Mean Green and Cray­Zee Olive
  • Legs­: Turkey fan feather tips
  • Eyes:­ X­small mono black or olive

Friday, February 21, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Goodwin's Stillwater Simple

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Tier: Ty Goodwin
State: Georgia

About:  "“Simplify, simplify.” -Thoreau

"Thoreau’s mantra is the background music for most things I do these days, including tying flies. At the vise for the Stillwater Simple for example, I thought about Jamie’s Krazy Karper, a fly fishing ode to simplicity if there ever was one. I thought about venerable old soft-hackles like the Partridge and Orange, elegant and uncomplicated. I thought about subtraction rather than addition. I thought about a fly boiled down to its barest form. Some thread. A wrap or two of hackle. Nothing more.

The one bit of razzle-dazzle I did allow myself was the Prism dubbing thorax because I think a little flash matters. Just a little. I enjoy stillwaters like ponds and small reservoirs because I seem to run into some of the snootiest, most difficult carp in those places. Some days I seem to have few answers, but I think the Stillwater Simple is one.

Notes: Ty is a fantastic angler and one of the leaders in small fly design for carp. He's a Federation of Fly Fishers certified casting instructor and has taught classes for both LL Bean and Orvis. He's also a fantastic author who has contributed multiple times to both The Angler Magazine and CarpPro Magazine. 

  • Hook: Mustad 3906. Sizes 6 to 10
  • Thread: Black 8/0
  • Abdomen: DMC 25 embroidery thread – Avocado Green (#934)
  • Thorax: SLF Prism Dubbing – Black
  • Hackle: Natural Guinea

Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Hope's Carp Damsel Variant

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Tier: Adam Hope
About:  "This fly is just one of the countless variations of my “Carp Damsel” that I carry at all times. This version incorporates different materials but the lack of a material is its main feature, no rubber legs.

The fine rubber legs on my original version act like an umbrella underwater. Once the fly breaks the surface, water tension forces the limp legs to extend outwards creating more surface area which slows the decent of the already weightless fly to a state approaching neutral buoyancy. This is great for cruising fish within the column but what about that tailing fish kicking up a ruckus out there in eight feet of water?

On my home water when the fish are feeding heavily and keying in on benthic macro-invertebrates they tend to move rather quickly from location to location. The fish will create a quick but violent disturbance in the detritus then circle out and around the plume of falling debris in search of prey items that may have been dislodged. For me personally, this scenario calls for a slightly modified version of the same fly. By removing the rubber legs and adding a solid vinyl abdomen the fly sinks about an inch per second faster than my original. This doesn’t seem like much but you need to realize that I don’t apply any action to my fly at all. I place my fly very high in the water column at calculated distance based on speed of the fish vs. depth vs. sink rate of the fly. That’s it. I just let the fly sink to the bottom. Success is 100% dependent on the fish first seeing the fly as it slowly sinks within the column. The eat will usually occur before the fly reaches the bottom. Carp know how fast damsel and dragonfly nymphs can move when their life is on the line. An unpressured fish will typically change direction and come in hot to take the fly on the drop but for those like me who fish the same bodies of water repeatedly for months on end you’ll find that a super long lead will help increase your chances when fishing for more educated fish. This can, however, be water clarity dependent. The waters I fish are quite clear and I’m able to allow my fly to begin sinking at distances that some would think are a bit extreme. Even if the fly hits bottom over fifteen feet from the fish, the fish knows exactly where it landed and if curious it will meander over to the spot for a closer look. At this point all you can do is take a deep breath and hope the fish commits. Making an educated fish eat a fly off the bottom reduces the fish’s ability to visually scrutinize every aspect of the fly while at the same time reducing the risk of your tippet coming in contact with the fishes’ body."

Notes: Adam Hope is one of the preeminent carp flyfishermen on the water today. He's a CarpPro Prostaffer, Catch fly designer and flyfishing wildman. He's currently on a steelhead bender that includes an epic two hours in which he landed eight fish, but don't hold that against him. 
  • Hook: Heavy Wire Curved Nymph Hook, #8
  • Tail: Rabbit fur, olive
  • Abdomen: Vinyl rib, olive 
  • Wing Case: Scud back 1/8”, dark olive 
  • Head/Thorax: Cohen's carp dub, rainforest green
    • - Rubber component removed, spun tight in a dubbing loop then preened, picked, and brushed before tying in. 
  • Collar: Schlappen, olive barred
  • Eyes: Medium mono nymph eyes, pale green

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Muraski's Heebie Jeebies

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Tier: Bennet Muraski
State: Kansas City, Missouri

About:  "I designed this fly for spooky carp found on the shallow flats of a local Kansas lake. A slightly buoyant wing and Sili-Legs on the underside of the fly were designed to ensure that even without weight, the fly would ride hook point up throughout the light stripping and delicate presentations of the flats. I have had great success with this pattern fishing it on a lightly presented on a short drag-and-drop presentation. Although it was designed for stillwaters, I find myself using it on the river for spooky fish more and more often. I hope you all enjoy it!"

NotesI caught my first carp on the fly at 12 years old, just beginning to cast past my feet. The fish had my heart hammering for half an hour after releasing it, and from the moment I watched it swim away I was HOOKED. Here I am five years later, and still chasing tail on my local urbanized rivers. Carp are by far my favorite species to fish for because of the challenge and slim margin for error that these fish give you. No two days on the water for me are alike, and that is perhaps my favorite part of the chase. And then there is the fight... Like some say, "The tug is the drug!
  • Hook:  Gamakatsu SL45 Bonefish hook
  • Thread: Black 6/0 UNI
  • Tail: Squirrel body fur
  • Body: specially blended rust dubbing
  • Underwing: Tan Sow-Scud dubbing
  • Wing: Elk hair
  • Head: Afore mentioned dubbing!

Monday, February 17, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Sobolic's Gilly Bad Bitch

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Tier: Matus Sobolic
State: California
About:  "After lots of success on my local water fishing various spawn and egg flies, I noticed that the carp were starting to catch on to me. They would see my flies and even turn to approach them, only to spook at the last second. I set out to create a spawn type fly that not only looked more natural but was also still easy to track. The Gilly Bad Bitch has a moderate sink rate and works great on slower sections of water. Present it with a drag and drop or drift it slowly to cruising or suspended fish.
Notes: Pretty sure getting that hackle between the sucker spawn folds was a labor of blood sweat and tears.  Whatever it takes right?!?!?!

  • Hook: Gamakatsu  SL45 Bonefish size 8
  • Thread: Black 6/0
  • Body: Egg fly yarn in egg color with grizzly hackle wrapped through each segment
  • Thorax: Dark tan spectra blend nymph
  • Bead: 1/8 brass bead in black nickel

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Vargo's Weedless Roughdub Crayfish

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Tier: Christopher Vargo
State: St. Louis, Missouri
About:  "This fly goes back to my warm water awakening some 5 or 6 years ago when I started to pursue Carp in the Missouri River feeder streams. Visibility on these feeders is almost always extremely poor so I was left to search out my first carp completely blind; dragging the bottom in likely places and losing a ton of flies in the process. Some of my best luck came with crayfish flies and weedless crayfish kept me from losing half a dozen flies every time I went out, not to mention the ease with which these things come out of trees and bushes on faulty casts. Common Carp or Grass Carp see these flies and they just want them. This fly completely covered my Grass Carp and Common Carp fishing for at least an entire season and is still my go-to Common carp fly. My carp prefer this fly in sizes 6 and 8, but don't be afraid to go large with this pattern either! Its great on virtually everything that eats crayfish. I like sizes 2 and 4 for freshwater drum and Largemouth Bass. If you're headed to the Great Lakes the Hammerhead version of this fly in size 4 is reported to absolutely kill it on Beaver Island. I tie this fly almost exclusively weedless and thought some of you old pros or young bucks alike might find a use for this baby somewhere in your arsenal.
Notes:  Christopher is a phenomenal tier, exceptional fly fisherman and professional fly tier. Check out many more of his flies (or buy this one) at his store at Missouriflies.
  • Hook: Dai Riki #930 size 6 (2-8) 
  • Eyes: Lead/beadchain 
  • Claws: Fox colored Squirrel Tail
  • Body:  Squirrel tail and synthetic dubbing blend
  • Weedguard: Mason hard mono 16lb 

Friday, February 14, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Zach's English Breakfast

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Tier: Zach Janssen
State: Kansas City, MO

About: "Since winter began I have been experimenting with creating a semi-articulated Carp fly that still rode (somewhat) hook point up, and wasn’t too obtrusive to be used on local Kansas City fish. After many trials and errors, I came up with the English Breakfast! Though I have not officially fished this bug, many bathtub tests have shown it to have a fairly unique action paired with a reasonable silhouette and overall shape. Being fairly reminiscent of a crayfish, Helgie, or something along those lines, I plan on throwing this to the aggressive pre and post spawn fish in our larger bodies of water. In theory, I think I would also throw it to Lake Michigan carp. Though I achieved the overall body style I was going for, there are still a few kinks I wish to work out before the season begins. The major one being the posterior hooks ability to twist with the wraps of the chenille. I am currently in the process of experimenting with a hard mono connection rather than a supple gel spun tippet in an attempt to alleviate this issue."

Notes:  Zach Janssen in one of the wunderkind of carp flyfishing. He's been profiled in the Kansas City Star and CarpPro magazine for his prowess on the urban creeks of the Kansas City area. Oh and he recently bought his first car, so look out carp the kid is now mobile! 

  • Lead hook: Roughly one centimeter of a Mustad 3366 #4
  • Thread: Uni 6/0 Black and Olive
  • Eyes: Extra small lead in red or yellow
  • Head: New Age Chenille #0 (Copper Black or Lemon Lime)
  • Legs: 2 strands of Silicone Legs (Pumpkin/Brown or Speckled Olive)
  • Hackle: Hen Saddle wrapped with shaft (Speckled Brown or Speckled Olive)
  • Flash: Two strands of Lateral Scale 
  • Stinger Hook: TMC 2499SPBL #8 looped with 3x Rio gel spun “Super Tippet” 
  • Tail: Two strands Silicone Legs (Pumpkin/Brown or Speckled Olive)
  • Body: New Age Chenille #0 (Copper Black and Lemon Lime) wrapped up the shank, over the super tippet and secured on the 3366 shank with just enough room to add the legs, flash, and hackle behind the eyes.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Wilson's Blood Leech

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Tier: Brent Wilson
State: Idaho

About: "I present to you my simple blood leech. It may not be the most impressive fly to many fly tiers, but this fly has impressed a whole lot of 20 to 30lb carp. I've caught more carp in East Idaho on this pattern than any other and I've converted all of my buddies out here to this fly."

Notes:  Brent Wilson is one of the preeminent carp flyfishermen and photographers in the US. The mirror carp that he catches with regularity are second to none. Many times I've found myself shopping for plane tickets shortly after seeing another one of Brent's mirror carp photos. 
  • Hook: #8 3xl downeye streamer hook
  • Weight: 5/32" black bead head
  • Body: black and burgundy simiseal dubbing
  • Tail: black marabou tail

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Garvey's Raggedy Ann by Dave Litten

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Tier: David Litten
Originator: Doug Garvey 
State: Colorado

About: "Doug came up with this pattern on a shop sunday.  I was hurting from the night before but helped add a few things."

Notes:  Doug and David are both avid carpers who work at Angler's All in Littleton Colorado (One of my favorite local shops) - except that David just bailed for greener pastures.  That leaves us one yeti look-alike carper shy of a full shop-guy carper set.  That makes me sad.  You can, however, still find David on Instagram at @davelitten.

  • Hook:  2457 TMC Size 6
  • Body: Waspi Crawdub, burnt orange
  • Body Hackle: Rooster hackle, brown
  • Pinchers: EP Fibers, rust, whip finished to add segment then hit with a sharpie.
  • Tail:  Sili Legs, pumpkin with brown or black flake
  • Eyes: Small black lead dumbells

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Zimmerman's Ditch Dragon by Erin Block

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Tier: Erin Block
Originator: Jay Zimmerman
State: Colorado, Coal Creek

Notes: Erin is an accomplished flyfisher and renowned author. Her blog and her work on Midcurrent have won her a place in the hearts of anglers across the country. Erin's book The View From Coal Creek: Reflections on Fly Rods, Canyons, and Bamboo is a wonderful piece of literature. As if that wasn't enough, Erin is also one of the authors of Pulp Fly: Volume 2. She also took pity on me (Dan) and recorded a reading of one of her writing about carp for one of the CarpPro podcasts

  • Hook:  TMC 200R #8
  • Thread: UTC Ultra Thread, 70 Olive
  • Body:   UTC Ultra Wire, BR Ginger
  • Wing 1: Marabou, Brown
  • Wing 2: Rabbit, olive Variant
  • Flash: Krystal Flash, Root Beer
  • Legs: Sili Legs, Barred Pumpkin/Green-Orange
  • Hackle: Barbell Mono Eyes, Medium Black
  • Head: Trout Hunter, BWO dryfly dubbing

Monday, February 10, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Zimmerman's Backstabber

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Tier: Jay Zimmerman
State: Colorado, Coal Creek

About:  Jay's Backstabber is THE iconic carp fly. Carried by Umpqua and sold in shops around the country, this fly has accounted for untold numbers of fish in the net.

Notes: Jay is a fly designer for Umpqua, flyfishing guide and renowned author. Check out his books Top Ten Guide to Flyfishing and In Neck Deep and keep your eyes open for his newest book "The Best Carp Flies and How to Tie Them" which is coming soon! In his spare time, of which there is none, he contributed a fantastic article to the flyfishing special edition of CarpPro magazine. 
  • Hook:  Gamakatsu SL45 #6
  • Thread: UNI-Thread 6/0 Black
  • Weight:   Dazl-Eye 1/8th Nickel
  • Body 1: Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing, Minnow Belly
  • Body 2: Dave Whitlock SLF Dubbing, Minnow Gills
  • Topping 1: Marabou, Medium Dun
  • Topping 2: Marabou, Brown
  • Hackle: Hungarian Partridge