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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Gerhard's Questions and a Few Answers

This post and the two preceeding it are answers to emails from readers. I have cut and pasted the emails.

Caller three is Gerhard who is from Aurora, Ontario. Go ahead caller:

"Mr. P.,

I tremendously enjoy your web site and the information provided.
My fishing is primarily done in Southern Ontario, Canada and the metropolitan Toronto area, where favourite spots are storm water ponds with sometimes impressive and very picky carp. The Great Lakes also hold very big fish but they are hard to find in the summer, especially in lake Ontario with the exception of the Bay of Quinte maybe.

The carp carrot is very good fly in some areas, especially with crayfish I believe, but sometimes other colours might be preferable, like olive or green or even black. In your blog you mention different colours, but it does not say anything about what goes together like the orange body and yellow hackle for the carrot.
Do you use yellow pheasant for all other body colours as well or are there other combinations recommended? It would be interesting to get your view on this as when I switch colours now it also means a different pattern. I really would like to see how far the carrot could go, even around here.

Thanks for your thoughts and please keep up the excellent site."

Some answers (and a couple questions of my own):

Thanks for the props about my blog Gerhard; I'm glad you enjoying reading it. I enjoy writing it. Is the water you fish clear, somewhat cloudy, or muddy? Do you wade or fish from something that floats?

Yes, I have tried several other body colors of the Carrot. Variations I have used successfully are red, brown, black, burgundy, white, green, olive, and peacock.

For the hackle on these other variations I have used natural pheasant, pheasant dyed olive, wine, black, green, crawfish orange, purple, and black. I have tied Carrots and the variations with partridge and like using it also.

Natural Pheasant:

Pheasant Dyed Yellow:

As to preferences I still like the orange body with the pheasant dyed yellow best of all. Olive and peacock versions have been good to me along with black and burgundy. I didn't start this blog until 2009 but had been fly fishing for Carp for many years before that so I have had a chance to experiment with a lot of different patterns before I was blogging.

It sounds funny to me Gerhard to call a black version of my Carrot, a Carrot. I don't know what to call it, a Black Carp Carrot I guess; I don't know. I have tied the black bodied version with natural pheasant and black pheasant. I like them both.

In my typed fishing journal, the first time I used the green version I wrote, "I caught some fish today on a 'Green Carrot'--what do I call it, 'Celery'"? Heck a guy could fish a topper and a dropper and be fishing with Carrot and Celery.

I have tied the green and olive bodied ones with green, olive, black, and natural pheasant. What do I like in this group? I think the olive body and olive hackle in this group.

I have tied the peacock bodied fly with an olive and natural hackle, along with a black hackle. Pheasant died black turns out in a surprising way. It has a peacock kind of shimmer to it and changes color as it catches light differently. I use the heck out of the pheasant died yellow but also really like the black. The black is easy to find by the way. A peacock herl body with a black pheasant rump hackle is my favorite in this group. It's not really all black but I call it Black Betty.

Pheasant Dyed Black:

Here is a Black Betty.

And here it is with a red tail.

As an aside, I have fished a peacock body fly with a palmered brown saddle hackle for decades. I tie it very sparsely by stripping barbules off one side of the feather. For durability I counter rib it with fine wire. I have used this for trout and am going to try it for Carp this year.

For the red, brown, black and burgundy, I have used mostly the natural pheasant hackle and also a partridge hackle.

The white version I have only tried half heartedly. My friend, Keith, fishes a white fly that looks like a grub with a tail. I have tied this and fished it but honestly not very much.

I have experimented a bit with purple, crawfish orange, and wine hackles on brown and black bodies and I've also tried the wine hackle on a burgundy body. I haven't done this much so I don't have any thoughts on them.

A Whole Skin Dyed Purple:

Pheasant Dyed Crawfish Orange:

As I said, I use the heck out of pheasant dyed yellow. I use it for Carp flies but also for Trout flies. Several years ago I took a couple "empties" back to the fly shop and told the owner I was there to complain about a couple bad pheasant rump patches he had sold me. He showed genuine concern and asked what was wrong with them. I took them out of the bag and told him they didn't work anymore; they were empty. He laughed and told me he sold refills. I bought two refills and put them to work the same day.

Two Views of An "Empty":

I am committing myself this year to at least one, three day trip where I only fish new water. On that trip I have been telling myself that I am going to really work to fish two or three flies, or versions of flies, that don't usually get first billing when I'm out. If I'm getting shots at tailing fish and they won't take, well then it will be a good day of learning for me with some new flies, or flies I am revisiting. In particular I am going to fish Black Betty, the peacock body fly with the pheasant dyed black, and the olive body with olive or black hackle. I have caught Carp on these flies before but they have taken a back seat the last few years. Its time to bring 'em back.

Thanks again for your email Gerhard.

It is drizzling lightly here at home. I am dreaming of warm Carping days in the weeks to come.


  1. Mr. P.,

    Betty works!

    Went out his morning to try my(your) latest creations and they sure were effective, three carp landed, many takes, and a bonus snapping turtle (no problem, barbless hooks, and after a serious hissy fit, nobody got hurt).
    I also tried a light olive version (Olive Betty?) that got quite a few responses.
    The waters I fished were relatively shallow and fish spook easily and when the sun came out full force it was all over.

    Many thanks to you for the information you provided and your suggestions, they all seem to work. It is a pleasure to deal with a community that shares information and experiences openly.

    I will keep you updated on the successes and continued evolution of the carrot family.

    Thanks again and keep up your great site!

    Tight Lines!

    Aurora, Ontario, Canada

  2. I am very pleased that Black Betty produced for you Gerhard. I was out last week and it was sure good to me. I just completed some blog posts about the trip. What are you using for the body on your olive version? Thanks for the feedback.