The Carey Special, what’s in a name

Some call them Bottom Dredgers. They are too often over shadowed by the dry fly, but have their place here.
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Eperous
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The Carey Special, what’s in a name

Post by Eperous » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:40 pm

At best it’s a somber time of the season; autumn’s arrived and winter sits at the doorstep. Yet it is this very time of year that I’m often found on a brook trout pond not far from the shadows of Slide Mountain, the tallest Catskill peak. Frequently I probe this small stillwater compound for its wild brook trout, almost in full spawning regalia, often with a weighted Carey Special on the end of my leader; and what a time it can be.

There is something very simple and eloquent, but very special about this pattern. For the most part its fashioned using ringneck pheasant feathers and peacock herl, with just a hint of gold wire. Pheasant and peacock herl are a winning combination of tying materials in my opinion, if you want to catch fish. But there’s more to this tale, its the fly name that originally caught my eye, the Carey Special. Our youngest daughter’s name is Carrie Lynn, so I knew from the get-go this fly would catch its fair share of trout for me.

Terry Hellekson in his encyclopedia book of patterns, Fish Flies, suggests that this is a Canadian steelhead pattern named after Colonel Thomas Carey. Eric Leiser in his fine reference, The Book of Fly Patterns, provides two different recipes for this pattern, one a wet fly and another a nymph. I guess somewhere along the way I comprised as I’ve been using Leiser’s nymph pattern on a wet fly hook – a 3399 Mustad – for more years than I can remember; and it has served me well.

I didn't have much time to tie this afternoon, so I tied a few flies to enjoy myself - a few Carey Specials. There's just something about the name and use of pheasant and peacock herl I find very enjoyable. Here's a few Carey Specials tied on that classic, old Mustad 3399 discussed in another thread on this board.

Carey Special, #8 Mustad 3399:

Image

Here's where I fish them every autumn:

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And here's what they catch:

Image

Ed

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catskilljohn
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Re: The Carey Special, what’s in a name

Post by catskilljohn » Tue Jan 24, 2012 10:27 pm

Great flies and scenery, and I have one question...is there anything on Gods green earth more beautiful than a brook trout? That is the prettiest I have ever seen! CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

David S.
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Re: The Carey Special, what’s in a name

Post by David S. » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:40 pm

Beautiful pictures, and a really beautiful pattern in my opinion. Could you perhaps provide the recipes for both the nymph and wet fly? I feel my flybox needs some of these :) I Googled the name and found quite a few alternative dressings..

/David S.

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Eperous
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Re: The Carey Special, what’s in a name

Post by Eperous » Thu Jan 26, 2012 8:30 pm

David S. wrote:Beautiful pictures, and a really beautiful pattern in my opinion. Could you perhaps provide the recipes for both the nymph and wet fly? I feel my flybox needs some of these :) I Googled the name and found quite a few alternative dressings..
David, thanks much for your kind words... as someone who ties some great looking nymphs, and is active on this topic - I appreciate your comments... I will refer mostly to Eric Leiser's reference, The Book of Fly Patterns, a 1987 classic...

For the nymph, from page 163:

Hook: Mustad 9672 (8-14)
Thread: black
Tail: Male ringneck pheasant rump fibers, 1 1/2 times the gap width
Body: Peacock herl, wrapped with gold wire
Hackle: Male ringneck pheasant rump feathers

Leiser's book features a picture of this pattern on Plate VIII; I think my fly is fairly close, though his hackle flows back further as I sometimes do also...

For the wet fly, from page 129:

Hook: Mustad 3906B (4-12)
Thread: black
Tail: Ringneck pheasant breast feathers
Rib: Fine flat silver tinsel
Body: Brown chenille
Hackle: Ringneck pheasant flank or rump feathers

As I noted above, I tie Leiser's nymph version of this pattern, weighted with lead wrapped under the body, but on a wet fly hook - a Mustad 3399 in sizes 8 and 10...

All that noted, Terry Hellekson in his book, Fish Flies, lists the nymph pattern that is almost identical to Leiser's, except Hellekson calls for a tail using badger guard hairs...

I've have seen the Carey Special listed in several different books and magazines over the years... BUT, I have relied upon Leiser as my source for tying... I think it's fair to say that this pattern is a classic Canadian fly, probably used for steelhead...

Ed

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Re: The Carey Special, what’s in a name

Post by SgtMajUSMC » Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:03 pm

Ed,

I like that fly for stillwater, too.

I believe it is also known as "The Monkey Faced Louise"...now there's an interesting name for a fly.

Pretty brookie, too.

Best,

Tim

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Eperous
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Re: The Carey Special, what’s in a name

Post by Eperous » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:47 am

SgtMajUSMC wrote: ... I believe it is also known as "The Monkey Faced Louise"...now there's an interesting name for a fly. ...
Yes, Hellekson, in Fish Flies, notes this was the orginial name apparently before being renamed in honor of Colonel Thomas Carey... Hellekson also goes into variations of the fly and mentions his preference of the pattern for lakes... when I ran out of Prince Nymphs the last week of the 2011 trout season, I tried this pattern in the Esopus, but didn't do as well as I had been using the Prince... could have been water was colder in waning days of season, could have been I didn't have the same confidence I did using the Prince... who knows... but I know it works fine for me in trout ponds...

Ed

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