Thursday, February 20, 2014

2014 Fly Swap: Hope's Carp Damsel Variant

Click HERE to visit the swap summary page.

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

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