Thinking outside the box is what makes fly tying fun. We take one style of a fly and modify it to meet the unique needs of our local fishery. When fly fishing for carp made its entrance into the sport, fly selection was slim. Pioneering anglers took successful trout flies and made the best with them. And to begin with, this proved successful! Flies like a black wooly bugger or a Clouser swimming nymph have claimed many carp. However, we as anglers and fly tyers want to evolve. So naturally, dozens of new carp flies have been developed to help anglers fool these whiley critters. One such fly stands above the rest however.

Zimmerman’s Backstabber was the creation of renowned carp fishing junky, Jay Zimmerman. 1In 2005, when Jay developed the fly, there were very few bugs specifically designed to target carp with a fly rod. The fly became a huge success for the accomplished fly designer, and his local carp agreed.

The success of the Backstabber carp fly comes from the way weight is distributed in the fly. Zimmerman uses a technique called giving a fly a “lift kit” when tying the Backstabber. Rather than tying bead chain onto the hook first, he ties the other material on top of the hook beforehand. By tying bead chain on top of other materials, the fly becomes top heavy making it always ride hook point up!

If you’re still thinking to yourself, “carp are trash fish”, it’s time for a paradigm shift. These large, highly intelligent, weary fish are as worthy an adversary as any trout. Not to mention, what other freshwater species can you routinely catch specimens over 10lbs? Having the proper carp flies is the first step you need to take to start hunting carp on the fly. If you have questions about Zimmerman’s Backstabber and other carp flies, be sure to contact us here at the shop!

Tight Lines!

*Ingredients (The Best Carp Flies. Jay Zimmerman. Pg 73)
Hook: #6 Gamakatsu SL45
Thread: Black 6/0 UNI-Thread
Weight: Black Dazl-Eyes. Black, Medium Dumbbell Eyes for a lighter presentation.
Body: Cowens Carp Dub. Northern Lights-Black.
Wing: Black Marabou
Hackle: India Hen Back

1Zimmerman, Jay. Headwater Books. 2015. The Best Carp Flies: How to Tie and Fish
Them. Page 71