Late May – Early June : Backstabbers are Key Warm Water Flies

Grass Carp on a Backstabber Carp Fly


big bass on a backstabber carp fly


Backstabber Carp fly variation

Time on the water has become much harder to come by these days, but I’ve been making it count by tying and testing a number of flies.  One of those flies is the  Backstabber Carp fly by Jay Zimmerman.   Believe it or not, this is a new fly for me but one I will surely be tying for years to come…Over the last week, I’ve taken numerous grass carp on the Backstabber, typically damsel green in color…heavily weighted with painted yellow lead eyes in size 4.  This pattern really stands out in that it takes all manner of fish from largemouth to drum and catfish, bluegill, hybrid bass etc and oh yeah, carp!  The fly often gets hammered by fish you didn’t even know where there!  If you’ve never had a subsurface hook up with a big grass carp, you don’t know what you’re missing.   Now, not every fish you throw to will be interested, but the ones that are hit like a ton of bricks.  I made it down to the Missouri main stream today after fishing the lake…the water was low as hell at 12ft on the St.Charles gauge, and the river was cruising by at about 10 mph .  There were carp and grass carp in the backwaters behind some of the wing walls but I made my way to the current side and started casting around.  Within a few minutes I briefly saw what looked like a grass carp sufrace feed just off the rip rap wall just in front of me in the strong current.  I still had the burnt orange backstabber on I’d just caught the above Bass with…I plunked it just to the side of where the fish had just fed.  Instantly the fish hit hard and was off into the current ripping line like nothing I have experienced.  All sorts of things ran though my mind; what the F was going on, was I going to be able to land this thing, was it even a grass carp or something much much larger, should i start running down the rip rap wall to keep up? ….At one point the fish was steady going like he had wrapped me around a submerged tree floating down stream, he actually may have briefly.  Just when the fish seemed to slow and I thought maybe I could make progress…fish off.  The fight of my life  only lasted maybe 15 seconds, turns out  something failed at the loop to loop leader to tippet connection.   My terminal seagar 20lb fluorocarbon  perfection loop appeared to be the culprit.  Its a new fluoro for me so I’m taking personal notes…The tippet took quite a bit of abuse over the last two days…probably explains it, or the submerged log I was afraid he had wrapped me on did it.  All in all it was a flippin awesome hook up while it lasted….truly incredible experience hooking up with a grass carp in deep strong current.  It was probably something akin to steelhead fishing.  Which is better, Big Bass or main stream Grass Carp? ….I’ll take another Grass Carp in the current thank you very much.   I’m already plotting my return!



6 Responses to 'Late May – Early June : Backstabbers are Key Warm Water Flies'

  1. Gregg Martin says:

    I’ve ignored the Back Stabber way too long. Partly because it’s so popular which is a warped sense of mind. I’m also more a fan of rabbit than marabou in my flies. But enough is enough. Now then, I fish small ponds mostly, but some have incredibly large grass carp. That version you tie is quite a bit heftier than most I see, and I can see it’s worth in the current and for the mixed species you catch. There are some very nice fish there, good for you!


  2. John Madert says:

    I remain amazed at the diversity of species caught in your waters.
    Even the venues that are not so pristine. Many of us have similar waters close to home that we should check out for finned activity.

    Agree with Gregg as to wabbit over marabou, and even craft fur as a
    2nd alternative. Although much depends on the material “length” you
    need for a particular fly.

    Thanks for the many pics, Chris !!

  3. McTage says:

    I agree that you do seem to be ridiculously blessed in the variety category. And size! I have been kinda wondering if your area isn’t another one of the destination quality carp grounds to add to my bucket list.

    • Destination quality…? I really doubt it. I only know of 4 or 5 places that are good to fish only 2 I frequent…none of them are destinations. Now Colorado would be a destination…not where I’m at.
      I am blessed with some pretty kick ass action though I will admit that.

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