Fly Of The Week
Dunc's Floating Carey
Dunc's Floating Carey
By Philip Rowley

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Fly Tying Terms

Dunc's Floating Carey

"Angling friend . . . Duncan Laird is a champion of dragonfly nymphs. We have had numerous discussions regarding the merits of these meaty nymphs both as trout food and a source of inspiration at the vise. Duncan has always been a fan of the simple lines of the Carey Special. The Carey is a proven pattern that has withstood the test of time. Careys not only make a great dragon imitation but are equally versatile passing themselves off as caddis pupae. About six years ago Duncan swapped the traditional Carey body material for deer hair spun and clipped to shape.

What separates Duncan's Floating Carey from other spun deer hair flies is the unique method Duncan used to create his mottled body. Spinning variegated deer-hair bodies is nothing new. Bass tiers have been doing it for years. Duncan tried alternating different stacks of deer hair but it still wasn't what he was looking for. The natural nymphs are a blend of many colors and traditional deer hair methods didn't duplicate this well. Taking anywhere from 6 to 10 different colors of deer hair, Duncan blended them by hand in a margarine container as though it was dubbing. The goal was not to create a uniform color pattern. The individual deer hair fibers mixed completely and when spun on the hook created a natural mottled look. Duncan's standard mixture begins with a base of golden olive deer hair. From there Duncan adds 25% reddish brown, 30% natural, 25% olive, 25% yellow olive, and 25% dark olive. These percentage figures are in comparison to the initial golden olive base color. This formula is subject to change as dictated by local conditions.


Hook:  Tiemco 5263, #6 - #10.

Thread:  Olive Monocord or 6/0 UNI-Thread.

Body:  Deer-hair mix (spun and clipped).

Hackle:  Blue phase pheasant rump.

Tying Steps:

1. Combine various colors of deer hair in a container in the same manner as blending different colors of dubbing. It is a good idea to make notes of successful color combinations and to make enough for a number of patterns.

2. Cover the hook shank with thread. Leave tying thread hanging at the rear of the hook. Don't build up too much thread on the hook shank as this inhibits spinning the body.

3. Select a stack of pre-mixed deer hair. About the diameter of a pencil is fine.

4. Spin a body of deer hair all the way up to the hook shank. Resist the urge to pack it. Remember to leave room for the head.

5. Tie off the thread and remove the fly from the vise. Trim the body to a cigar shape with a fat rear end and sloping towards the eye. Keep the gap clear so as not to impede the hooking ability of the fly.

6. Re-attach the tying thread at the eye. Select an appropriate pheasant rump feather. The individual fibers should be no longer than the body. Prepare the feather by stripping away the flue. Tie in the hackle feather by the tip with the shiny side of the feather facing towards the tier, ensuring the fibers will sweep back along the body.

7. Wind the hackle a maximum of 3 times. Tie off and trim excess hackle. Build a neat head. Whip-finish and apply head cement.

Fly Patterns for Stillwaters

How to fish Dunc's Floating Carey:

Fished just sub-surface, this modified fly proved deadly when sedges [caddis] were active. Fish took the fly confidently as it bobbed and sculled in the surface film during the retrieve. . . when retrieved the hackle pulses and breathes suggesting life. ~ Philip Rowley

Credits: From the terrific new book Fly Patterns for Stillwaters by Philip Rowley, published by Frank Amato Publications. We greatly appreciate use permission.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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