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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Carpaloopers and Super Duper Carpaloopers

In the winter I don’t fish nearly as much as the rest of the year. It’s just too darn cold. That works out fine because I can tie flies in the winter. Besides replenishing my fly boxes fly tying gives me a great deal of satisfaction.

There is orderliness and precision to fly tying. Results are immediate and tangible. Repetition and production are relaxing. It is rewarding to fill storage boxes with dozens upon dozens of flies. It is even more satisfying to line up little armies of flies in the boxes I use when I’m fishing.

There is a creative, imaginative part to fly tying. It is fascinating to experiment with new tying materials and to play with variations of tried and true patterns. Sometimes that experimentation yields wonderful results, sometimes questionable results, and sometimes laughably bad results.

While sitting at the vise on a cold, wet day, daydreaming about warm summer days stalking Carp on the flats I can convince myself that just about any new fly or modification of a proven pattern will be the absolute best Carp fly in the universe. Flies like this have not only never been in a Carp’s mouth they have never even bet wet. Is it okay for me to call a fly that has never been wet a Carp fly? Sure it is. I think as long as I can laugh at myself it is.



As fly fishing for Carp is gaining more and more traction and as there are an ever increasing number of bloggers and fishing forums, imaginative “Carp flies” abound. There are so many Carp flies out there that have never been in a Carp’s mouth, and never been in the water, it’s just plain funny.

In anticipation of the coming Carp season I have a couple variations on existing patterns that I think are going to work. The first is The Wild Thing.


Actually I have already caught some Carp on this fly last spring but only a few. The San Juan Worm is a proven Carp pattern and I’m hoping this is an improvement. It is tied with a rubber band. No matter how it lands it is always three dimensional. The Wild Thing has caught some Carp so it is not really an Internet fly.

Experimenting with some of my Salmon flies I started using rubber tails this winter. I decided to add a rubber tail to a Carp fly and see what happens. Again, when its dark and cold out I can talk myself into believing anything will work. I actually do think this fly has a lot of potential. I talk myself into believing that the Carp will be attracted to the movement of tail. Who knows if it is true? Maybe it will scare them and maybe it won’t make a bit of difference. Time will tell.

The Rubber Tail Carp Woollie:



I tied two flies for this article that I thought were silly or more like downright ridiculous. I put a rattle on the first one and I’m calling it The Carpalooper.

The Carpalooper:




Sitting at the vise I can say the Carp will be attracted to the fly because of the noise. I think that is funny because they are so easily scared. But the more I daydream about it I start to wonder; maybe it will work. I think maybe I’ll put the fly on my blog and say that it will be this year’s big fly.

This next fly is the pièce de résistance, the crème de la crème, the cat’s whiskers, the best of the best of the best. This is not just A Carp fly, this is THE Carp fly. Fly fishing for Carp was revolutionized the day this fly came off my vise. It’s not just a Carpalooper it’s the Super Duper Carpalooper! Not only does it have a rattle; it has a propeller. Noise and motion; how can the Cyprinids resist? They can’t. Fly fishing for Carp will get so easy with this fly it will make things almost boring. (The rattle is made of glass and has two beads inside it. It is inside the mylar tubing on the Carpalooper and under the chenille on the Super Duper Carpalooper.)

The Super Duper Carpalooper:




The rattle I used:




Okay I tied the Carpalooper and the Super Duper Carpalooper because I thought it was funny. It is funny to me because of all the Carp flies on the Internet that have never caught a single fish and particularly because of all the flies I have personally tried for Carp that just haven’t worked. Sitting at the vise and then blogging I can say anything is a good Carp fly. Who would know?

I really do think that The Wild Thing will produce for Carp. I think I can catch fish on the rubber tail fly but I don’t know if it is an actual improvement. Maybe both flies will just end up being Internet flies that don’t catch fish. But here’s the thing. The more I look at my Carpalooper and the Super Duper Carpalooper I find myself thinking I just might actually try these flies. I tied these flies because I thought it was funny and to poke a bit of fun at all the Carp flies on the Internet that have never been fished and to poke fun at myself because of all the flies that I’ve tried that have not worked. Sitting at the vise I have talked myself into thinking these flies just might work. HA! Wouldn’t it be funny if I never catch another fish on The Wild Thing and the Carp just love the Super Duper Carpalooper? Well there you go; I ended up falling for my own silly flies.

Jim is a freelance writer living in Bothell, WA. His home water is the Columbia River.

Reprinted by permission from the NACA magazine. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Question From the Hillbilly

Eric, AKA the Hillbilly from West Virginia, or should I say Eric, THE hillbilly , put a question to me. Here is what he said. "As always Mr P, Great Read! I just got into tying my own flies a month or so ago and So far I am Hooked! I just leaned how to tie the San Juan Worm As I posted on my Blog ( http://hillbillybonez.com/home/?p=445 ). My Question is, is it the shape of the worm that catches the carps eye or is it the color or is it a mix of the Presentation and so forth?"

I'm sorry that it took me awhile to get back to you Eric. Thanks for the positive feedback here and in the past. Presentation is most important when it comes to sight fishing for Carp with a fly. There is just no getting around that. You have a better chance of catching a tailing Carp with a poor fly if your presentation is good than you do of catching a Carp with a good fly if your presentation is bad. In the past I have mentioned the dinner plate or spaghetti platter in my blog and in my print articles. Think of the space in front of and around a tailing Carp as a dinner plate or spaghetti platter. For the most part the fly needs to be on his platter for him to pick it up. They will often ignore something farther out even if they can see it. The fly needs to be cast on to the fishes platter or cast beyond it and stripped to the platter. Sometimes the fly will be sitting still and the fish will move. His platter moves with him. He won't even be moving to the platter but because he did move sometimes the fly ends up on his platter and he will pick it up. It is a real dilemna to try and cast the fly on the Carp's platter without spooking the darn fish. Again, presentation is absolutely critical.

What's next on the list? Hmmm... You asked about color and shape. I would add size to the question. I have tried a lot of different flies for Carp that don't work AT ALL. These are flies that work for other fish. I will make a generalization here based on my experience chasing Carp on the fly in three states. I think dark colors work better than bright flashy colors. (Subliminal message submitted here: Presentation is CRITICAL.) So yes, I believe color is important. I think shape is important and I do believe they respond to it but I'm not sure exactly how important it is compared to color. Size also comes into play. If the water is particularly shallow and clear and the wind is down then smaller flies work better. Sometimes you have no alternative but to use a larger, heavily weighted fly to get it down on the fish's dinner plate.

I have caught a few Carp on The Wild Thing but not enough to say it is truly better than the traditional San Juan Worm. I think it will be but I will have a better idea in September or October when I have field tested this pattern for a full season.

Got Some Tugs

I went to Monkey Forks to fish seriously for the first time last year. In 40 years of fly fishing I finally did it. I went again this week with my friend Gary. The first day the weather was pleasant, the wind was light and the fish were nice to us. I really wanted to get fish on dry flies. Like catching Carp on the fly, fishing dry flies is very visual and I love that.

For the most part anglers use Scud patterns on Monkey Forks. I tied some Scuds but I also tied Skitters in small sizes and I'm sure glad I did. I got two fish early on and then went quite awhile without a strike. Then there was a stretch of a couple hours when the fish were feeding on the surface and I caught me a mess 'o them Monkey Forks Trout. This one picked that Skitter up as it slid over where he had risen just 10 seconds before. Since I was really jonesin' for some tugs these fish really hit the spot for me. Not only did I get some nice trout I took them all on dry flies. Even when the hatch disipated I stuck with the dry fly because it is so darn fun.


The second day we worked a lot harder to get just a few fish. That's because the wind was working WAY harder too. How can there be white caps on a small, spring creek? Well there were.


Now I'm jonesin' for some tugs by big fat Carp. Soon, very soon...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Jonesin' for some tugs!

I fished for Trout one time a couple weeks ago. I had a nice day. Still I am really Jonesin' for some tugs. Its not quite time for Carp fishing yet. Early tomorrow morning I'm going to Monkey Forks Creek to chase big Rainbow. I hope they will pick up my dry flies. Wish me luck.