July 4, 2008

San Juan Worms - revisited

Thanks for the comments on tying the San Juan Worm JB and JW. I tie my SJWs the same way as John Montana, with the chenille through the bead, and the bead slipped on to the hook shank. I even use head cement on the thread wraps. Nonetheless, my flies got abused yesterday; those fish were just way too hard on them. Like John mentioned, after a couple fish the whip finish would start to give way. Also, the chenille starts to come off of the cord. Most of the time it seems, that the glass bead on the hook shatters, leaving just the chenille behind. I need to find some plastic beads or use a beadhead instead.

I typically tie my SJWs unweighted. Depending on if fish are rising to the surface or not, I can adjust the weight with a split shot to get it down to tailers, or let the fly hang weightless if they are up near the surface or are clooping. I encountered both scenarios yesterday afternoon in the same area of water, both at the same time.

I like the San Juan Carp Killer pattern that my friend Marc shared with me. The marabou tail on this pattern is deadly; it has a good profile and movement in the water, and acts just like a fish magnet.


The beads on the hook shank provide a rattle effect. I don't know if the beads really move around on the hook shank that much underwater, so I may try tying this pattern with the chenille through the beads.

I know that the wooly bugger is considered by many to be the granddaddy of all-around, go-to flies. You can pretty much tie one on in any situation, in any color, and flat out catch fish. I believe that the San Juan Worm is quickly becoming the go-to fly for carp fishing. I don't know what specifically triggers the predatory response in fish to take this fly, but it works. It works so well in fact, that I would recommend to anyone just getting in to carp fishing, to invest in a box full of SJWs, all in different colors. This is also an extremely quick, cheap, and easy fly pattern to tie, especially for the novice tyer. This should be the first fly you should tie on when searching the water for fish.

It's a carp killer.