KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. There are flies tied to attract fish. Then there are flies to attract the fly angler. Then there are guide flies. Guide flies abide by the KISS principle, you want something cheap and fast to tie, yet is deadly effective on the water. These flies might not win any beauty pageants but the fish don't care. They just want to eat.
I recently found an old soldier (pictured in the forefront) going through my fly boxes recently. It's an old pattern I came up with a few years ago but kind of forgot about. I suddenly remembered how money this fly was; it had a good weight to it, great profile, and almost no splash when hitting the water. A perfect carp fly. I tried to recall why I never tied anymore of this pattern and then it dawned on me. The reason why I never tied anymore of these flies was because I used up almost all of my test flies one day out on the river. They were that good. The only reason why one fallen soldier lay rest was due to a bent hook point. Of course I tucked this fly away deep in my pack never to resurface until a few days ago.
This is about as easy a pattern to tie as the San Juan Worm. If you can dub a body and palmer hackle you're almost there. Just a size 4 salt hook, 0.30 lead wire wrapped hook shank, dubbed body, ringneck pheasant hackle, dubbed thorax, and bead chain eyes. Simple. The beauty of this pattern is that the pheasant hackle pulses in the water, giving a great profile and movement. In addition, the hackle and dubbed body help cushion and dampen the delivery of this fly on the water, huge when fishing to spooky fish. My favorite body colors of this fly are olive and burnt orange. And there you have it, a KISS guide fly for carp.
A quick note to myself and you folks out there: If you ever have a hot fly out on the water, write it down or record a history of it somewhere. Sometimes, when you're down to your last fly and the evidence is gone, it's easy to forget a killer pattern. Don't be a douche. Don't let my mistake happen to you.