C.S. at tying deskjpgIn the middle of April every year, fly-fishing friends of a certain persuasion are inclined to get a little over excited. Not only is the Mayfly almost with us, but those of us that embrace what is often referred to as, ‘the dark side’, dust off our 8 weight rods and reel lines, and prepare for a little early evening action. After diligent research and countless ‘phone calls, plans are formulated, the weather examined in every detail and finally, we are ready to spend £5 to £10 each and move boldly on to our chosen day ticket Carp lake!

Essentials for this expedition are not only a rod and line, as described, but also a large net. Then, there are two essential items rarely seen in a fly fishers possession. A small bucket of floating dog biscuits or trout pellets and a catapult!

Ah yes…to catch Carp off the top you must ‘chum ‘em up’!

We usually prepare a couple of likely feeding areas and concentrate our efforts on whichever receives interest. Consideration must be given to wind direction, the position of the setting sun and the proximity of static anglers who naturally get a little peeved if one is constantly casting a fly line across their baited area.

This paid dividends earlier this year when one of our local Carp fishers pointed out an area of the lake that had recently shown a great deal of surface activity. This information resulted in my landing a 22lb Grass Carp on my ‘Square Cut Carp Fly. A personal best!

Shot 2. 22lb Grass Carp

As I mentioned in my September 2014 article, I designed my ‘Square Cut Carp Fly’ at the request of local enthusiast Dave Ball. I made it of densely packed deer hair on a Drennan Super Specialist Barbel hook size 6, cut it square to mimic the ‘free offerings’ and built a sight post in the middle, so it could be seen at a distance. We are now at the end of May 2015. Since spring 2014, Dave has caught 190 Carp on this fly including thirty-seven 20lb fish and one at 30lb!

Jim! New Dave Ball Shot!JPG

Feedback on the article was most rewarding, but I have to admit I was not that happy with my shots of the fly, so I asked that fine photographer and absolute ‘Deer Hair Wizard’, Barry Ord Clarke, if he could help. I offered to send him an example but he said ‘Don’t worry…I’ve seen the article, I’ll knock one up and send you a picture’. This is what arrived in my inbox the next day.

Shot3.Barry OC Carp Fly

I was completely bowled over and once he explained how his tying of the fly varied from mine, I took a deep breath and asked him if he would mind photographing a step-by-step. This is the result.

Thank you Barry, it’s an absolute revelation!

Step 1: Barry trims the foam booby cord to a point.

Step 2 

Step 2: He then impales this on the hook and feeds it round on to the shank

Step 2 

Step 3: He uses a toothbrush to tease out the duff and soft fibers from the deer hair


Step 4: First he spins a couple of bunches of hair to the rear of the foam

Step 4 

Step 5: Now he stacks the foam and deer hair with his finger and thumb

Step 5 

Step 6: Another couple of bunches of deer hair are now spun and stacked in front

Step 6 

step 7: Barry now uses the same toothbrush to ‘comb’ the spun deer hair

Step 7 

Step 8: Serrated scissors are essential for clipping deer hair to length

Step 8


Step 9: Here he has clipped the deer hair into a cube. Using the blades horizontally

Step 9 

Step 10: …he cuts into the gape of the hook and trims the foam.

Step 10 

Step 11: Now he uses a razor to tidy up the edges

Step 11 

Step 12: The finished Square Cut Carp Fly

Step 12

If you’re keen to try something a little different on the fly rod, please tie this fly, make some inquiries about your local Carp fishery and I guarantee, you’ll get your string well and truly pulled!

An edited version of this article was first published in Fly-fishing and Fly Tying Magazine