I must admit that I am quite a carp addict…After many years of bait fishing for carp, I discovered how to catch these fish on tiny leadhead jigs called “loodkoppies” in standard South African artlure terms. The whole carp craze evolved to catching them on a fly rod with unweighted “loodkoppies”, which I later learned was in fact simply a black Zulu fly with a red tail.
My carp fly box has grown with several trusty patterns that had fooled many of these fish in numerous dams and rivers over the years. But there is one particular pattern which I’ve never been satisfied with and that is a good bloodworm imitation. San Juan worms, red Atomic worms and red buzzers work every now and then, but most carp will literally turn up their noses for these. I then bumped into a very nice rubbery material in Philip Meyer’s shop and immediately saw the potential to tie fresh- and satlwater patterns with it.
Although I purchased these ‘rubber worms’ with the idea to tie bloodworm imitations for grunter (which I still need to test of course), I used them for legs in crustacean flies. Unfortunately the Hard as Nails I used to ‘strengthen’ my flies with reacted with the rubber and left me with a bunch of legless swimming crabs in Socotra. I then tied worm flies in various colours for freshwater fish (blue tilapia, carp, trout, bass, bluegills etc. etc. etc.).
I recall catching carp on them in my imagination and especially while tying the red version – which I later called the Bloody Squirmy. I recently had the perfect opportunity to try this fly out on carp in fairly clear water. After Zandvlei carp refused to eat well-presented girdle bugs and black Zulu’s on several attempts to catch them I presented a Bloody Squirmy (a very straight-forward fly imitating the red buzzer midge larvae) instead. The first fish that I tried to catch with the fly turned out of its feeding lane and approached the fly aggressively to suck it in. The orange-yellow lips snapping open-and-shut at a rapid pace was the hint to set the hook and the fish was on. However, the fight (although in open water) took longer than expected and when I finally managed to scoop it into my landing net, the fish was exhausted. This left me with little time to take the self-portrait and unfortunately the composition wasn’t spot on, but the fish swam off strong to fight another day. At least the Bloody Squirmy was tested and will now certainly be a part of my carp fly-box collection.