September 9, 2008

142 yards of bernat boa, what now?

So I graciously accepted my care package from fellow roughfisher KB over at, but what to do with 2 skeins of bernat boa? Luckily KB had a few experimental patterns tucked under his belt that looked promising. Where to begin?

The initial reason behind acquiring the bernat boa in mallard, was to recreate a pattern tied by Sister Carol, the grass carp fly. This fly is surprisingly lifelike, and likely resembles a piece of the invasive aquatic plant, hydrilla, often found in more temperate waters. Hydrilla bears a striking resemblence to the native elodea found in MN waters, and this fly pattern should hopefully work on some common carp here. Here's my version of Sister Carol's grass carp fly:

KB experimented a bit and married two fly patterns into one, thus creating his own patented carp death clam fly. You can see the resemblance to the San Juan Worm and Clam Before The Storm patterns. Here's my rendition of his pattern:

A good point was brought up by John Montana on the probable reason for the Clam Before The Storm's lack of success: A live mussel would unlikely be found by a fish with its valves open. Another reason may be that the fly pattern's shell was bigger than what fish typically feed own. It is believed that fish will key in on the smaller mussels, typically around the size of your fingernail. John noticed the shorelines of his home waters littered with broken shells, and coincidentally, the river is loaded with fat carp. Coincidence? I think not. After some tinkering, I came up with my own clam fly pattern based on KB's prototype, roughfisher's death clam.

This pattern is extremely castable with a lighter rod (6 wt), sinks fairly fast, and holds it shape well in the water. While this experimental fly pattern has only seen limited use under difficult conditions, it has proven successful thus far. I managed to catch a common carp and a silver redhorse on it last weekend. Both species are known clam eaters. I am excited about the potential for this pattern, and hope to give it a fair field trial this fall. Should be fun.


  1. Looks good...i need to tie some of those. I do think the clams of choice out here are about the size of a nickel, based on the crushed shells I see. They HAVE to be a major part of the diet.

  2. Pretty cool patterns here. I love how "death" is in all the names... hehe. Reminds me of the Deadly Lethal Killer nymph.

  3. Good looking flies - but now that the "clam" is the centerpiece - can the emerger be far behind?

    Unless there's at least 6 phases of the Roughfisher Death Clam - Fly Fisherman magazine won't take us seriously...