Tag: Gregg Martin

Book review: New Orvis guide to carp flies delights, confounds

imageThe Orvis company is publishing a concerted effort to woo literate fly fishers intent on catching the difficult common carp. Witness “The Orvis Guide to Fly Fishing for Carp,” released in 2013, and now the follow-up, “The Orvis Biginner’s Guide to Carp Flies.”

I’ve yet to read Jay Zimmerman’s “The Best Carp Flies: How to Tie and Fish Them,” which was release just four days ago, but I imagine the grandfather of the sport, Barry Reynolds, who penned with co-authors “Carp on the Fly: A Flyfishing Guide” in 1997, must have a good laugh every now and again, for the fish has gone from the river scourge, to the hippest score an urban hipster can make. And, folks, that’s a good thing. Call it hip hop on the fly.

I find the presentation to be glitzy, with some very solid information, but this Orvis book by the reputable Dan Frasier left me wanting more. For example, the subtitle: “101 patterns & how to use them” is certainly addressed, and Frasier reached out to well-known carp sites and bloggers to find many of these patterns. Yet, each of them only merits a color snapshot, with the fly recipe. There are no in-depth instructions on how to tie the patterns, and that certainly belies the “beginner’s guide” part of the title.

Also, there’s a lively discussion of flies — divided into Meat, Nymphs, Dry Flies, Super Meat and Universal — as well as behaviors to watch for when choosing the correct fly. That’s good, but, again, I wanted more. Anyone who’s ever perused Gary LaFountaine’s masterwork “Caddisflies,” released in 1989, knows what a deep dive it can be when a fly fisher discusses fish behavior and edibles.

Perhaps that’s an unfair comparison: Orvis would never have published LaFountaine’s book.image

That said, as I turned to the section on eggs, my most productive pattern on our river, a name came off the page right at me. When I first began this site Gregg Martin frequently commented, and I count him as one of the friends I’ve made through blogging. His story goes from paratrooping to paralysis, and is one of real heroism and bravery. Of course, he also loved carping and sent me shots of his various eggs.

From the book: “Twenty-nine years after the accident, Gregg is still out there fly fishing. Where lesser men would have given up the fly rod and lamented their misfortune, Gregg devised fly patterns and fishing techniques that allowed him to be successful on the water he could access.”

Gregg Martin

As McTage knows my go-to fly here in SW Idaho is an egg tie, I don’t call it a glo-bug as I tie it with spun and packed material, mostly in different colors in one fly with one predominate. Such as peach marbled with salmon and yellow, oe such as the day before Thanksgiving when I took a late season fish on a size 6 white marbled with salmon, yellow and orange, or something similar. Of course I fish other flies, but a size 6 or 10 fly under an indicator, for me, works real well. I do not think they take them for an egg, I believe it’s just a visible piece of protein down there. The last one had the fly so deep I couldn’t see it, a first for me. I have seen your site before, how dog gone interesting your fishing.

Bottom line: Give this book a read. Enjoy the color snaps and witty writing. Fumble through the flies at your vise. If nothing else, it will provide you with lots of inspiration, and will give you something to think about next time you’re stalking an L.A. River carp.

See you on the river, Jim

Enter the bread fly

A couple of weeks ago, we got on a roll trying to figure out what, exactly, carp are munching on in the L.A. River, and how we fly fishers can use that knowledge to best advantage.

First, we agreed about carp and crayfish, with McTage writing:

Crayfish, crawdaddy or mudbug, whatever you like to call them, they’re alive and well in the L.A. River.

“If there are crayfish, they are on the diet, guaranteed. Crayfish are high on their list of favorites just about everywhere.”

And so it is on our river.

Next, Sean Fenner widened the discussion, commenting that:

“They eat anything they can find. In the L.A. River, they live mostly on crayfish, tilapia and other carp eggs when they spawn, worms, other insects, and their favorite, BREAD. In my opinion, that’s why the Glo-bugs work so well. I also tie a fly that I call the Tortilla, and they seem to jump all over it. People are always down there feeding the ducks, and the left over bread makes for a great meal.”

Now, I haven’t tried fishing during duck feeding time, mainly because of the legendary Duckman, who supposedly kept the Griffith Park Rangers on speed dial, and was always ready to call them in when he saw a fisherman poaching “his” territory. This is most likely ancient history (2007), as I haven’t heard of park rangers anywhere near the area. In fact, one told me that because of budget cuts, they no longer patrolled our water. And now that there’s been a pilot kayaking program on the water, official attitudes have changed, big time.

But … back to the story. After agreeing that Glo-bugs were a potent carp fly, commenter Gregg Martin went on to write:

YOUR DAILY BREAD: The second fly, from left, is bread of duster wool, the second, fourth and fifth are loosely spun and packed, while the first and third are created with a dubbing loop. (Courtesy Gregg Martin)

” We use bread ties in a local park greatly, casting a SUNKEN fly next to the ducks and geese eight inches under an indicator blind. It’s hot when they’re on it! This sure-thing lasts only a couple of weeks, and then they seem to become jaded by our flies. Mine is a spun and packed wool duster material fly on a weighted size 4 M3366 hook, or similar, or the same material spun in a dubbing loop and brushed out. Or, white glo-bug yarn. My son uses a white or flesh colored bunny leech and does well with that, actually no matter what with that.”

Also, he wrote in an e-mail, that the bread fly tied with wool floats like a cork!  Martin found this out, to his chagrin, one day with new ties tightly spun on the Mustad 3366. They wouldn’t sink.  So now he packs a few of those, but also some that are less tightly spun, with the wool packed over a shank full of .030 lead.  His boys use a dubbing loop with wool or Glo-bug yarn over lead as well. He wrote that they often use often a std. wire TMC #4 200R.

Which brought us full circle to McTage, writing:

“Yeah, I have a park here where they feed the ducks like crazy and I have tried a time or two to take advantage of the urban bread-hatch. Not my fault if somebody else is accidentally chumming them in, right :) No luck though, I have always tried something on top, will try something wet next time.”

Me, too, after I get some time to tie this recipe up. Hopefully, the water will be still enough and the dreaded Duckman won’t lift a feather to stop me.

See you on the river, Jim Burns