Archive for June 2012

Hammer Head Rough Dub Crayfish: Top Producer, Beaver Island Michigan (and Everywhere Else)

Carp flies
Crayfish fly pattern for carp and other species

Anyone who has followed my blog has probably heard me talk about a fly I call the “Rough Dub Squirrel Tail Crayfish“.  Two years ago I fished almost nothing else.  After a brief hiatus I’ve come full circle but with a twist.  Several months ago I received a request to provide some patterns for a trip to Beaver Island Michigan.  I’m used to tying small crayfish but was looking to beef things up a bit.  Having been around a while I am aware of the Hammerhead Carp fly by Ian Anderson.  One thing led to another and before you know it I was tying gobies with 4 eyes.  The extra eyes allowed for a larger dubbed body but left me a little cold with with  the big flat bar of eyes across the front.  Not only did the flies look a bit funny the eyes were subject to large amounts of torque.  I settled on a 6 eyed fly that allowed me to build out the body, protect the double eye set and still have a reasonable head profile.  Being such a fan of squirrel tail crayfish it was inevitable that the Rough Dub would take on 6 eyes and become the Hammer Head Rough Dub. After the trip to Michigan the official report on this fly was that it took more fish than any other single pattern.  I honestly wasn’t surprised at all.

warm water fly for carp drum bass and more

Even without the extra eyes the pattern is highly effective.  If you  put one of the HH versions up to your head and shake it you will hear why the fly can be so effective and is killer in off colored water where the fish could use a little help keying in on the fly.   Once they are close enough to see the pattern, the squirrel tail claws and custom dubbing do the rest.   The fly easily takes lead eyes and can be tied in sizes 2-6.  Virtually every fly I tie for myself is weedless.  That allows me to put the fly deep over rock and snags losing only a few flies in a good days fishing.  Aside from carp, this has to be the best Drum fly I have ever tied and should kill the Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, and even trout.  Individual flies available or contact me for quotes on custom packs.

Carp flies

Using the name Hammer Head seems a little cheesy but I honestly don’t know what else to call it…come up with a name that sticks and I will send you a complimentary craw pack.

For those interested you can view the HH Craw gallery here.


Alton, IL Melvin Price Lock and Dam #26

Freshwater Drum fly fishing alton lock and dam #26 Mississippi River

There’s nothing that gets me more excited than the threat of big fish and Melvin Price Lock and Dam has that threat!  Were talking 100lb+ Blue Cats and Flatheads close behind.  Your chances of hooking into something like that are probably fairly slim but you never know.  I’ve fished this area only a handful of times, but the last few trips have been quite productive on medium sized Drum.  I also managed a few other species  including a grass Carp, two Largmouth Bass,  two White Bass, and a Catfish.  I primarily fished weedless  Hammer Head Rough Dub Crayfish on the bottom using both a sink tip with long leader and heavy flies and a full sinking line with medium heavy flies.   Even with the weedless flies, be prepared to loose 4 or 5 in any good outing.  For the time being  I don’t mind the Drum but in the future I will be looking to get into some more substantial action.  Legend has it that the fly fishing for blue cats beneath the dams can really heat up in the winter time if you have a boat to get you to the prime water.  Something I would really love to do.



Class is now in Session: Big Rivers, Backstabbers and Grass Carp


I was working on some Backstabber variations using rabbit strips in various ways last night.  I decided to head out today and give these flies a good test and see what happened. Here are a couple images.


A Backstabber variation tied with rabbit

Double Bunny Backstabber



Zonker Stabber ?



Backstabber variation tied by Chris Vargo
Vargo’s Bunny Stabber

I was concerned that the Double Bunny Backstabber would foul but I had no issues at all.  Virtually the same fly as a typical BS but a lot bigger.  I took two bass on this fly before I headed to the river, where I did not catch anything on this fly(i may have had some bites but I don’t know for sure) so I changed size and color.  I tied on the Charcoal bunny stabber over orange body and had 3 hits within a minute.  Of all the flies I fished today this was the one seriously gettin it done.  This fly reminds me of Mctages backstabber, much shorter than most flies I see.


Grass Carp on the fly Vargo's Bunny backstabber


I took about 5 GC and a nice drum before I was about to pass out from the heat.  Check out the Gallery for some pointers on where to find Grass Carp in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.



Deer Creek Park: Urban Bluegill and Carp

I managed to turn a trip to the store into a bit of an outing. I scouted Deer Creek Park several weeks ago and noticed a healthy bluegill population. I made sure to pack the 3wt and after I picked up my supplies at the fly shop I headed down to the park. I was greeted by this sign.

Believe it or not this is nothing new to me.  I’ve been fishing in waters posted like this for years!  You gotta fish where the fish are right?  Well enough of the rationalizations.   Once I got down into the creek I tied on a black ops.  Several seconds later….

It was on like donkey kong.  The creek was seriously thick with green sunfish ready to eat anything.  I made my way up the creek to a large pool.  After several minutes of slaughtering the hoards I notice what looked like a carp.  Sure enough there were a couple buffalo, some grass carp, and about 10 commons.  On my way back down the creek I let a rough dub loose on a common grazing on a “compost” pile.   The carping wasn’t great but it was a real bonus to hook up on one.  If your thinking of fishing here, be warned the wading is dangerous…there is trash and rebar everywhere…even some dumpsters, engine blocks, and old telephones…  but some of the creek is really quite nice (the part with all the fish!). Durring a normal year with a little more flow the creek has some potential to hold some nice carp.  This Creek feeds the River Des Peres, another highly poluted but possible carp spot here in the STL.