Archive for the Weedless Flies Category

Alton Lock and Dam Fall 2012


Freshwater drum caught on a crayfish bottom bounced St. louis, MO

Wow… I hit up Alton Lock and Dam again.  Water temps are starting to cool and at least some fish are feeding.  As has been the case all year, water levels are low and clear!  I ran into all sorts of fish this time, but the action was hit and miss requiring lots of treacherous hiking over worn rip rap walls.   Day 1 I started with a drum followed by a smallmouth, both on the big crayfish pictured later.


That is my first ever St. Louis smallmouth!


I hiked back a side channel branch and landed a bunch of grass carp, some drum, a few gar, and even a bowfin! That doesn’t happen every day.  In the evening I ran into a bunch of Hybrid Bass landing about 6 of them, and then they were gone.


Bowfin on a tiny carp fly (same as below)


Grass Carp on a size 8 Scorpion Gaper Headstand Backstabber


Carp flies

Headstand Backstabbers on Scorpion Gaper hooks size 8


Hybrid Bass on Size 6 Scorpion Gaper Squirrel Tail Clouser


Gold Eye


Carp fly

Squirrel Tail Clouser on size 6 Scorpion Gaper hook


On day two, I fished and hiked my way downstream about as far as anyone should ever care to walk.  At the point where I stopped heading downstream I also got into a good sized group of Freshwater Drum.  These fish tend to be caught along rocky drop offs and points with good depth and boulders.


drum on the fly

This Rip Rap wall drops off to depths of 10-15 ft quickly and also pushes out into the current (which there isn't much of these days). Look for fish in the upstream pocket of such " small outcroppings" or anywhere along rip rap walls or wing dikes. In low current conditions try to find the most current!





Fish will seldom bite unless your fly is ON the bottom!  In this case I was using a size 2 weedless hammerhead Roughdub.


The Most Bad Ass Crayfish I Have Ever Fished


Weedless Hammerhead RoughDub Crayfish in the Water


The whole trick is to get the fly on the rocks about 8-20 ft down and creep it up the bank wall with some dunt dunt dunt burst to get that crayfish vibe going, followed by slow creeping.  You will see or feel the hit…usually right around the time your about to pull your leader through your rod tip….right in close.   Sometimes long casts and leaders are required to get the fly in the right depth and possition…and of course your full array of whatever sinking line/head you like to use.  I have a full float or a full sink (which isn’t real friendly) so this time I used up to a 15 ft leader and the heaviest big rattle crayfish I had(forgot the split shot).  All in all I had a great time landing in the neighborhood of 30 fish, not bad!

Big shout out to Dan Frasier for the Scorpion Hooks, so far so good!  Dan is involved with and is doing a Carp on the Fly podcast everyone should check out!….I know I learned a lot of stuff from the first airing, I wasn’t expecting that!



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.


Mini Ball Weedless Carp Fly

Nothing to this fly, just a Grizzly Marabout feather wrapped on the hook shank, some eyes and a weed guard.  I don’t know a bout a carp but I’d eat it. This could be tied in any of your favorite carp colors, with or without sparkle/legs, dead drifted ON bottom, stripped, or “motionless” I’d have to bet this fly will produce.

The Mini Ball Carp fly

The Mini Ball Carp fly


Carp fly pattern flies

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A New Twist on an Old Favorite

The Turkey Craw Carp Fly

In the early days of my pursuit of Carp on the fly, I spent many many fruitless hours, fishing the most likely of spots but unable to spot fish.  I quickly went to slow dragging the  bottom with weighted flies in hopes of finding my quarry.  Quickly I discovered freshwater drum.  In the early spring before the other fish come up the Missouri River feeder creek, the Freshwater Drum are there…down deep beneath the murky silt laden waters which back up this creek to varying degrees depending on river levels.   I also quickly found that a crayfish pattern seemed to be their favorite faux food, over time I honed my crayfish tying skills, developing surprisingly simple yet accurate representations of small crayfish.   Add to the mix that I was losing 4-5 flies in several hours and you can understand how I came to put weed guards on my flies.  Together, the crayfish fly with a weed guard has become a true force to be reckoned with.  With the right weed guard, the right weight and size fly, and of course a delicate touch one can fish for days, weeks, and months on end without losing ones prized fish catching weapon.  Weather I need to drag bottom, cast into overhanging brush, or pull through submerged grass, I don’t give a second thought. Over the years to come, I found that a small crayfish  fly is excellent for both Grass Carp and Common Carp, not to mention just about everything else around.  When presented to a carp such a fly is seldom rejected.

Carp fly Pattern for sale flies

A Weedless Turkey Craw Carp Fly

As for material and sizing, this particular crayfish version is very similar to my standard squirrel tail crayfish, accept for the turkey feather claws, and no squirrel in the dubbing.  Tied on a Dai-Riki #930 size 8 saltwater hook, this fly will take as much as you can give with a 15 Lb tippet.  The body is a combination of my favorite yarns, and although it may look a bit too bushy, the fibers will slick back when fished creating a great looking fly.  I’ve found that a traditional crayfish can be a hassle to tie, this variety is about as easy as any fly gets and better yet catches fish consistently, day in day out.  In my time fishing for carp, I’ve personally found simple to best, that’s why you will rarely see me fishing an elaborate crayfish imitation complete with rubber and sparkle antennae.  Believe me whey I say, I don’t leave home without a handful of these in my vest.

Carp fly


Carp fly Pattern


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