Enter the bread fly


A couple of weeks ago, we got on a roll trying to figure out what, exactly, carp are munching on in the L.A. River, and how we fly fishers can use that knowledge to best advantage.

First, we agreed about carp and crayfish, with McTage writing:

Crayfish, crawdaddy or mudbug, whatever you like to call them, they’re alive and well in the L.A. River.

“If there are crayfish, they are on the diet, guaranteed. Crayfish are high on their list of favorites just about everywhere.”

And so it is on our river.

Next, Sean Fenner widened the discussion, commenting that:

“They eat anything they can find. In the L.A. River, they live mostly on crayfish, tilapia and other carp eggs when they spawn, worms, other insects, and their favorite, BREAD. In my opinion, that’s why the Glo-bugs work so well. I also tie a fly that I call the Tortilla, and they seem to jump all over it. People are always down there feeding the ducks, and the left over bread makes for a great meal.”

Now, I haven’t tried fishing during duck feeding time, mainly because of the legendary Duckman, who supposedly kept the Griffith Park Rangers on speed dial, and was always ready to call them in when he saw a fisherman poaching “his” territory. This is most likely ancient history (2007), as I haven’t heard of park rangers anywhere near the area. In fact, one told me that because of budget cuts, they no longer patrolled our water. And now that there’s been a pilot kayaking program on the water, official attitudes have changed, big time.

But … back to the story. After agreeing that Glo-bugs were a potent carp fly, commenter Gregg Martin went on to write:

YOUR DAILY BREAD: The second fly, from left, is bread of duster wool, the second, fourth and fifth are loosely spun and packed, while the first and third are created with a dubbing loop. (Courtesy Gregg Martin)

” We use bread ties in a local park greatly, casting a SUNKEN fly next to the ducks and geese eight inches under an indicator blind. It’s hot when they’re on it! This sure-thing lasts only a couple of weeks, and then they seem to become jaded by our flies. Mine is a spun and packed wool duster material fly on a weighted size 4 M3366 hook, or similar, or the same material spun in a dubbing loop and brushed out. Or, white glo-bug yarn. My son uses a white or flesh colored bunny leech and does well with that, actually no matter what with that.”

Also, he wrote in an e-mail, that the bread fly tied with wool floats like a cork!  Martin found this out, to his chagrin, one day with new ties tightly spun on the Mustad 3366. They wouldn’t sink.  So now he packs a few of those, but also some that are less tightly spun, with the wool packed over a shank full of .030 lead.  His boys use a dubbing loop with wool or Glo-bug yarn over lead as well. He wrote that they often use often a std. wire TMC #4 200R.

Which brought us full circle to McTage, writing:

“Yeah, I have a park here where they feed the ducks like crazy and I have tried a time or two to take advantage of the urban bread-hatch. Not my fault if somebody else is accidentally chumming them in, right :) No luck though, I have always tried something on top, will try something wet next time.”

Me, too, after I get some time to tie this recipe up. Hopefully, the water will be still enough and the dreaded Duckman won’t lift a feather to stop me.

See you on the river, Jim Burns

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6 thoughts on “Enter the bread fly

  1. Jim,
    I’m flatterred for you your belief in what I wrote and told you. Those do work when the carp have seen bread, I also believe they will work as simply a decayed piece of some sort of flesh where carp are not fed bread, I’m going to test this soon. As well, in the same pond with bread that I fish, the carp are big time minnow busters, and a small fry fly I tie has done well when I find them as such, such as yours on tilapia young. My fly is tiny, size 12, and I was shocked when it’s innaugral try hooked 2 fish on light tippet that broke off. Anyway, carp are fascinating and their diets so much a puzzle at times.
    Thanks, Gregg

  2. Mine look a lot like the ones on the left of Gregg’s photo. They are super simple to tie, just with yarn on a scud hook. Usually, through, I use a chartreuse glo bug, also on a scud hook, either weighted or not, also super, super easy tie.

  3. And FFG, I don’t have any shots of tortillas flies up, and haven’t used one. If you want, shoot me a picture and a recipe. I’ll post it. Same goes for fishing stories you want to share.

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