Here’s the photo of seed as promised. If you use a long shank hook you can tie the cream hackle at the bend and eye of hook after attacking foam disk to center of shank.
My original efforts used spun deer hair for seed center which I clipper flat top and bottom. If you use deer hair, you can wind your tying thread through the hackle fibers making a sturdier fly. More work, no noticeable difference in catch rates for me.
I think the key to success may be more in the presentation. I don’t use this pattern any longer as I stopped fishing the waters where the elm trees grew. The waters became overgrown with fishermen and I dislike hassling with crowds. Better carp waters and better flies to catch them with but hey, if they are eating elm seeds on your waters, give them an elm side imitation. Good luck Carson, let me know.
The common carp is an omnivore. They eat both plant and animal matter. As they age, they generally prefer insects, crustaceans, worms and other animal matter. I’ve seen the seed feeding behavior on a number of streams although I wouldn’t call it a common experience. It usually takes a concentration of the seeds to get them surface feeding. Of course, it’s a bit like fishing a “super” hatch where there are so many naturals on the water that it is hard to get a fish to find and accept your artificial.
I’ll share one of my favorite “carp secrets” with you Rob. They really go for mulberries. If you have a carp stream lined by mulberry trees, you can have a blast fishing there. Here’s the trick though. You won’t find them feeding on the surface. Nope, Mr. Lips likes his fruit super ripe. Did you know that only the unripe mulberries float? My carp won’t touch them. Those dead ripe berries that drop off the trees and roll along the bottom are what they like.
If you are into total fly fishing and scorn the use of bait, you can tie a mulberry fly. I’ve done this very thing and got quite a kick out of it (both the tying and the fishing of the fly). Let me know if you are curious about this one.
The mulberry fly is just a dream-up I made many long years ago for fishing to carp that were schooled up under a half dozen or so mulberry trees that lined the bank of the stream. I had seen these carp (perhaps as many as several 100 in a 50-60 yard stretch) but couldn’t get a strike on any of the usual imitations ( a few unusual ones such as egg patterns and snail patterns also failed).
Finally figured it might be the mulberry fruit they were eating and made the ripe versus unripe berry discovery by watching closely those carp in the really shallow water close to the bank.
Decided to experiment with a mulberry fly effort. Don’t have any in my boxes any more but here is the recipe as I recall it. (There are videos on YouTube for mulberry flies but these are not anything like mine although they might be just as effective.
Hook: size 4-6 (3x long, 1x heavy)
Weight: about 8-12 wraps .20 or .25 in center of hook shank
Underbody: wool or floss in mulberry color wrapped over lead to create a rough, elongated ball or oval
Body: extra small/micro pompoms (could never find any mulberry colored ones, so used red ones to create a berry like surface - see internet images to see what I mean) when they were glued to the underbody.
Miscellaneous: super glue
To get that ripe berry color I used the juice from the real mulberries to stain the red pompoms a deep dark purple (almost a black). If your waters prohibit the use of scents, you can try using a dark purple permanent marker.
I think the most critical issue here is the presentation rather than the fly’s appearance although the dark color of ripe berries must be a strike trigger. You want your imitation rolling along on the bottom drag free and at the same speed as the current. I found that a stealthy approach from the opposite bank (no mulberry trees) was best. Present the fly up and across and allow it to drift/roll under the mulberry tree. A very small strike indicator is most helpful since my carp at least are not gobbling the berries, just barely sucking them up. They spit the artificial out pretty fast so I’m guessing the taste factor (again, ripe versus unripe flavors) may be important. If you color the fly with real berry juice, it might eliminate some of the selectivity although that’s purely a guess.
Just want to state again that this fly works extremely well when the carp are feeding on the real berries. In general, only a few berries at a time drop off the trees. The carp can even get to “fighting” each other for them. This fly is a dream up I made for a specific situation but when you are in the right place at the right time, you can catch enough carp to wear out your arms. Generally the fish are in the 3-5 pound range but even the larger fish (10-20 pounds) feed on the berries.
Let me know if you have any questions.
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