In the previous post, ‘As long as it’s black and red’, I discussed the use of a fairly light-weight hook, the Dohiku #12 wet fly hook (type 644) to tie relatively sparse Zulu’s with variable sink rates – I have more recently also started using the Hanák #12 stillwater & wet hook (H 260 BL) for the same purpose and actually found it to be slightly stronger. These flies are ideal for casting to carp on light tippet (5X to 3X tippet), or to dip suspending fish when there’s no wind.
In this post I will discuss the heaviest flies I currently tie for carp fishing; they are all still based on the Zulu pattern (or the black and red colour scheme) because it is the most consistent pattern in the Western Cape in my experience. I say so because I’ve tested quite a few different patterns and although carp are opportunistic feeders and may sometimes eat a dragon nymph imitation, for instance, the Zulu variants have caught more fish than any other fly I’ve tried and carp seldom reject them. I have even caught those lock-jaw bastards resting in the shade of trees on hot summer days on these flies. So whether you like it or not, a Zulu remains king of deception.
There are two main ‘heavyweight’ Zulus that I tie for carp, but I sometimes use a third pattern that has been very successful for me when carp (that feed in deeper water) refuse to eat the others. I now prefer to use the Dohiku #12 wet fly hook (type B) for the heavyweights (replacing the stainless Mustad 34007’s that I referred to in Carp on Fly, Chapter 2) and add a black or gunmetal tungsten bead for extra weight, with black chenille to create a heavier, fat body, with the standard red wool tail.
I leave out the bead for a lighter version of the same pattern. Both these flies are mainly used for dipping fish in deeper water, or when the wind is pumping (as it often does in the Cape…) and they are tied to approx. 5 m of 3X tippet that runs onto the reel to improve line control and enhance feel when dipping fish.
The third fly is tied with the lighter hooks discussed in the 1st paragraph of this post, but it also has a tungsten bead to weight the fly. Instead of red wool, a few strands of red marabou are used for the tail and the body is dubbed to also create a leaner fly. This pattern rocks in rivers and I’ve found that those fish that refuse to eat a worm fly may still eat this pattern. I use it for casting or dipping to feeding carp in deeper river channels.
In the next and final post on the use of different hooks for tying carp flies with different weights, giving them a desired sink rate, I will describe the Woolly Worms we use and suitable hooks for these flies.