There are a lot of people in the fly fishing realm who are developing new fly patterns (dry flies, nymphs, streamers, etc.) It’s always enjoyable to skim through the latest fly fishing catalog or world of YouTube to see what patterns are out there and use them to develop your own “variation on a theme.”
This summer I (Caleb) bought Jay Zimmerman’s book, The Best Carp Flies: How to Tie and Fish Them. I have a number of fly tying books, but this was the first that I bought pertaining specifically to flies that would work for carp. (Note: these flies will work for more than carp – it just depends on the food sources in your area.)
One of the patterns that Zimmerman mentions when writing about Ian Anderson’s Hammerhead called the Carp Crab (tied by Mark Erdosy). In the world of fly patterns, “new” patterns sometimes come from the “variations on a theme” idea, and the Carp Crab is no different: it’s part Skok’s Diablo Crab and part McTage’s Primordial Carp Stew. Erdosy designed it to imitate a crayfish in movement and rough profile. His original recipe for the pattern can be found here.
Zimmerman mentions a few changes he made to the pattern, and since I hadn’t looked up the original pattern before leaving I ended up tying a few the way that Zimmerman has in the book (the benefits of traveling with a fly tying kit!). The changes he makes are not trimming the polar chenille (I palmered the polar chenille and schlappen together), and adding a wire rib over the scud back, and not adding the rabbit – I also used sili legs (barred yellow/black and hot-tip orange/brown) instead of MFC Sexi-legs. I tied a half dozen just for kicks, and got to use them two days later when I caught a nice freshwater drum on one while fishing on a bay of Lake Michigan.
Needless to say, I was pretty excited about the new fly.
A few days after the freshwater drum, we were back in central PA and I ran down to the Frankstown Branch of the Juniata River to try the fly there. It worked! It caught rock bass, smallmouth bass, and a nice-sized fallfish. The new fly was catching a large variety of fish, and seemed to be pretty versatile!
It wasn’t until October that I tried the pattern on Spring Creek (mainly because of a really hot summer and really low water), during a period of heavy rain when Spring was out of it’s banks. What resulted was one of the best 60-90 minute fishing sessions that I’ve ever had: a brown trout (not pictured), a nice carp, a rainbow trout, and a rock bass:
- Hook: Gamakatsu B10s #4, Mustad S60-3399A #4
- Eyes: plain lead eyes, size small (tied on top of hook shank so it rides hook point up, Clouser Minnow-style)
- Legs: Sili legs, hot tip orange/brown, barred orange/black, or yellow/black – mix and match
- Underbelly: Scud Back or Thin Skin, tied on top of the shank and folded over the palmered polar chenille/schlappen (this will be on the bottom of the fly)
- Ribbing: Chartreuse wire, size small (counter-wrapped over the body/Thin Skin after the body is tied)
- Body: rusty copper UV polar chenille with olive or fiery brown schlappen OR olive copper UV polar chenille with fiery brown schlappen, palmered together to in front of the eyes