Adam Hope's Carp Damsel
In a world that contains the almighty trout, the common carp is overlooked by fly-fishermen as a garbage-feeding, ugly and inferior fish. Until the last decade, only a few fly anglers took advantage of this steadily available sporting challenge. Just think about it: How many times have you gone fishing and not seen a carp?
Adam Hope has mastered fly-fishing for carp, as much as you can say that about any fishing discipline. Along with co-bloggers Mark and Matt, these fly-fishing bums have skipped more school and missed more work than most of us care to know in search of carp and any fish that swims. They created This River Is Wild – a blog dedicated to sharing their stories with others whose lives are consumed by fly fishing.
If you've thought about giving fly fishing for carp a try, here's the Carp Damsel – a proven fly pattern that'll give you confidence when it hits the water.
Adam originally designed this fly with a specific population of carp in mind. The waterways they inhabit are surrounded by dense vegetation – a setup that doesn't allow for any backcasting. The only option is to target fish that are feeding directly offshore. A super-stealthy approach and a well-placed fly is a must. It's close-quarters combat at its worst. The water's clear, the fish are smart, and to top things off, the bank's elevated, which gives the carp the ultimate advantage.
Adam's pattern was made to imitate a damsel or dragonfly nymph. I chose to create a weightless version with a super-realistic appearance.
This fly is meant to be sightfished with no additional action. Its slow descent and realistic appearance does all the work. The distance you lead the fish depends on water clarity, depth and how spooky the fish are. This fly's also best fished with a loop knot. This ensures the fly falls unrestricted and perfectly horizontal.
For more information on fly fishing for carp, or if you're just looking for reading material to curb your fly-fishing addiction, check out the tribe over at ThisRiverIsWild.com. And to see what all the fuss is about, click the play button on the short video below.
Size 10, 3X long nymph hook
UNI-Thread (8/0 olive dun)
Saddle Hackle (olive)
Scud-Back (dark olive)
Body Glass (olive/brown)
Hareline Dubbin (olive brown)
Mini Centipede Legs (brown)
Medium Mono Nymph Eyes
Step 1: Cut a hackle feather below the best looking group of plumulaceous barbs, manipulate the barbs downward and tie them in as your tail.
Step 2: Tie in a pair of rubber legs by securing one along each side of the tail (use fairly tight wraps so the legs protrude outward).
Step 3: Tie in a strip of Scud-Back along the top of the shank, and a section of Body Glass along the side.
Step 4: Dub the abdomen, then fold the Scud-Back up over the abdomen and secure it. Wrap the Body Glass firmly around the abdomen, secure it and remove the excess. Then fold the Scud-Back up over the spot where you removed your excess Body Glass, tie down the Scud-Back and evenly cover it with thread wraps. Tie in a pair of mono nymph eyes behind the eye of the hook, leaving sufficient room for the head.
Step 5: Dub the thorax while simultaneously tying in three pairs of legs. Leave a small gap behind the eyes.
Step 6: Cut a hackle feather in the same manner as you did the tail, then secure it at its base in the gap behind the eyes. Wrap the hackle twice around, gently pulling backwards on the barbs before each wrap. Secure it and remove the unused portion.
Step 7: Evenly divide the hackle barbs, fold the Scud-Back over the thorax and secure it. Then fold the Scud-Back back up over the securing wraps and cover it with thread, so the ready-to-use portion is flush against the thorax. This ensures a smooth transition to the head. Dub around the eyes to form the head, then fold the Scud-Back over the top and finish the fly.
Step 8: If needed, trim the rubber legs to a more desirable length and you're ready to go.