Friday, July 18, 2014

Carp Fly Colors: Black is the New Black

I have been using black flies here and there for many years, but over the past 6 months it has become a more and more important tool in my arsenal.  I recently realized that a really surprising percentage of the carp I have caught in 2014 have been on predominately black flies.  Like over half - and that got me thinking.  Has black been one of my most effective fly colors all along and I just never realized it?  In order to answer that question I went back through my records and estimated the percentage of total carp caught with a couple of basic color schemes.


The hybrid category is a combination of a red tail with an olive or black body.  The first thing that may surprise you - and certainly surprised me - is how few basic fly color schemes I really fish.  The second thing that may surprise you  - and definitely surprised me - is how may carp I have caught on black in my lifetime. I would have certainly guessed much less than 15 percent,  and when I look at this year the percentage seems to be increasing rapidly, mostly at the cost of rust.  

Almost the moment I finished putting that data together I got an email that was almost creepy in the level of coincidence.  Tim Cammisa wanted to let me know about a new fly tying video he had put up on YouTube - about a black variant of the Trouser Worm!  And THEN within 10 minutes of first publishing this post I ran into this fascinating article about a new material blacker than black.  The carp spirits have spoken and I would be foolish to ignore the message.  Black is the new black.    

2 comments:

  1. That was great information and research. Black has only done marginally well for me, yellow, white and tan flies doing the work (other than eggs,) especially in a pond I no longer fish that had aggressive large carp. But, I will admit that a black bitter bugger was hit by carp as if by a pike, brutally. I keep working with it though, as you and others seem to vouch for that color. I too have trouser worms in black. I just lack the opportunities to present a variety of flies.

    Gregg

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  2. My favourites a rust or grey olive (recently been having great success with spirit river mottlebou which has a nice combo of these colours), usually combined with a hot spot of magenta or fire orange somewhere in the fly.
    As an aside I don't like a red tail on hybrids very much, I seem to do much better on brown tailed versions.
    Obviously local forage plays a big part, I've not seen many black leeches or bugs in the rivers in the parts of Japan I'm fishing

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