Monday, March 26, 2012

Your Go to Fly

Back when I considered myself a basketball player, I didn't really have a go to move. I was the kind of player that never saw a shot he didn't like, and when you are a consummate gunner like me, there is no point in developing a go to anything. Playing now, older, slower, and considerably less athletic, I find myself reaching for a right to left crossover and pull up three when my city league team absolutely needs a bucket. That shot has been going in of late, but it is pretty clear that my playing days are slipping away.

With so many carp flies on the market nowadays, how does one slog through the multitudes to pick your go to fly? Unlike this aging hoopster (who really didn't have many choices aside from the crossover pull up mentioned above) the go to carp flies out there are truly limitless. I have gone through a ton of variations over the past few years, but I can safely say I have one definite go to pattern at last. The way I view flies today comes down to two statements.

1) More flies are tied to catch fisherman than fish.

2) Keep it simple.

Granted, it can be really fun to come up with fancy looking stuff, and it can be a lot of fun to fish those flies, but time and again a basic pattern will catch just as many fish, and (for me at least) it is a lot simpler to replenish. Put simply, I am a crappy fly tier, but even I can tie a basic pattern that looks like just about everything and will flat out get eaten when presented right. So that is what I do.

I talk about the soft hackle a lot on this blog, and with good reason. The carp on my home waters eat this fly. Frequently. I can whip up a dozen of these in no time, and with a good selection of dubbing (love the free range) and/or chenille, my options for colors are virtually limitless. I use one of two different colors of hackle for every fly. Green pheasant rump, or green pheasant rump. I guess that is only one hackle. Oh, and I tie every fly in the same size (roughly a short shanked, wide gapped 10). The biggest variance for me (Body color aside)? The bead. I own tons and tons of beads and use different colors and weights, from glass beads to hollow to the always in demand tungsten...yes, I fish a ton of tungsten. I like to get up close and personal when I present the fly and tungsten means I don't have to lead a fish and let the fly sink. This fly is so simple that I refuse to tie it for swaps...I would look like a bigger hack than I am.

But the hard truth is even more simple than the fly...disclaimer...I am speaking of my home waters.

5/6 fish ate the soft hackle Sunday...the sixth fish didn't see it because it was the front of my two fly rig and I dapped the back fly on the fish. In 2011, at least 70 percent of my home carp were caught on a soft hackle. Figure another 20 percent on the San Juan worm and 10 percent on random stuff. I fish a two fly rig exclusively, and the soft hackle gets "taste tested" against every fly in my box at some point during the year...and carp flat out eat this fly.

My two favorite colors are shiny green chenille, and black and orange flocked chenille. that said, I catch fish on any color I put in the water (so far). Oh, and the big fish eat it too. This beast:

Was caught on a green one. The soft hackle is certainly a lot more reliable than my rapidly fading jumpshot.


testflycarpin said...

Lol, you are coming over the the dark side of the complicated life though I see. That is a real fly-box instead of a 5 dollar compartment box. Which makes me laugh because I switched to a compartment box for my favorites after seeing how easy it was for you last year. Made life easier, except when the dang hooks tangle in dubbing.

John Montana said...

Been looking for a fly box I liked and it was hard to beat that goofy compartment this scientific anglers box a shot.

Gregg said...

I use a variety of boxes depending upon the hackle. Yes, I carry an awful lot of flies. Those soft hackles inspired me to tie many very similar. By the time I got to know you all it was winter and they caught trout is all. I don't blame the fly. Like you say, " my waters...". Lucky you for your waters.


flypredator said...

I change up flies as the season progresses, depending on what is available to the carp on Lake Champlain, but the go to much of last summer was a fly that Barry Reynolds shared with me that he calls the "Mango Tango". That thing proved to be VERY deadly... and very simple!

T.J. Brayshaw said...

Maybe my carp waters are "snaggier" than others, but I've found that any carp fly I tie that doesn't ride hook point up will inevitably hang up on a rock or tree root just as it's supposed to creep into the slurp zone.

So I used bead chain (tied in like dumbbell eyes) on my carp flies.

Do you not have problems with snagging? Looks like you fish some pretty dense stuff!

n.taylor said...

Thanks for the idea. Consider it stolen.

Gregg said...


I agree and was going to ask John if the tungsten bead did just that. I found that mine tied with a 1/8" T bead did ride upside down. The only fly I carry really tht do not are my egg ties.


john montana said...

I don't fish with a lot of motion, so the snagging is not a big issue. For the most part, I try to get the fly to sink within 6-10 inches of the fish. Once it hits bottom, I usually leave it there and let the fish find the fly. I have done some small, fast strips to good effect but not often. If I had fish that were chasing more (like on lake MI) I would be all over dumbbell eyes. All my lake mi flies have db eyes or those sculpin helmets so they ride hook point up.

Ty said...

Awesome. My local carp seem to be partial to soft hackles as well. Killer carp flies.