How to Tie the Dirty Carrot

Producer: tightlinevideo

I call this fly the Dirty Carrot for some pretty obvious reasons. There’s really nothing new to see here, just another variation of a Walt’s Worm but there’s something about this pattern that’s been absolutely magical as of late here in New Jersey. It’s consistently taken trout when nothing else will. Maybe it’s the orange hot spot collar, or the mix of dubbings on the body, or maybe even the gold wire which adds a little bit of shine and the look of segmentation. There’s really no way of telling. I just know, for right now, the pattern is working exceptionally well.

The foundation of the Dirty Carrot is a Fulling Mill 5045 Jig Force hook in size 14, but feel free to go smaller or larger if you like. I pair this with a slightly oversized 1/8” black nickel slotted tungsten bead. Insert the point of the hook into the small hole of the bead then work the bead around the hook bend and up the shank until it rests behind the eye. You can then get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise.

For thread, I load a bobbin with a spool of fluorescent orange UTC 70 Denier. Get the thread started on the hook shank behind the bead and, after taking a few wraps both forward and back, snip off the excess tag. End with your tying thread right at the back edge of the bead.

.02 lead-free wire is used to add weight, to help stabilize the bead on the hook, and to add some taper to the body of the fly. With the spool in hand, insert the end of the wire into the back of the bead on top of the hook shank and take nice tight thread wraps to anchor it there. Begin taking rearward touching wraps with the wire behind your tying thread, 5 or 6 are all you need. Wrap over top of the wire with your tying thread. Bring the wire in line with the hook shank then rock it up and down to break it off. Continue taking thread wraps over top of the wire wraps to further anchor them. End with your tying thread hanging at about the hook point.

Small gold Ultra Wire is used to rib and segment the fly. A 6” length will make numerous Dirty Carrots. Butt the end of the wire against the wire wraps on the underside of the hook shank and take thread wraps to secure it there, all the way back to the start of the hook bend, then forward so it hangs at the hook point.

Two colors of rabbit fur dubbing are used to create the body of the fly. I feel as if it might be this mix that really sells the pattern. One is brown olive, the other is a color called woodduck, it’s one of my favorites. Pull ample, similar-sized clumps from each packet. Then, mix the two colors only somewhat well. No need to use a coffee grinder here. You want a few discreet patches of color to remain in the mix. Pulling small slips of dubbing at a time, twist them on to your tying thread to create a slender, slightly multicolored, cohesive noodle that’s about 4” in length.

Once you have the noodle looking good, start taking wraps with it so the first bit of dubbing covers up the orange thread wraps at the rear of the fly. Continue taking touching to slightly overlapping wraps with the noodle up the hook shank to create a . . well . . carrot-shaped body on the fly, ending with bare thread at the back edge of the bead.

You can then get hold of the gold wire and begin making open spiral wraps with it over top of the dubbing. Use counter wraps if you like, but I haven’t found it to be necessary. After 5 or 6 turns, anchor the wire with tight wraps of tying thread at the back edge of the bead. Use the nozzle of your bobbin to brace the fly as you helicopter the wire to break it off clean and close.

Take a few more thread wraps to build up a thin little hot spot collar on the fly. Do try to keep it fairly thin. You can then pick up your whip finish tool and use it to do a 5 or 6 turn, back to front whip finish, seat the knot really well then snip or cut your tying thread free. Get hold of your favorite head cement, here Sally Hansen Hard as Nails, and apply an ample drop to the exposed thread wraps behind the bead so there’s no chance of them coming unraveled. Don’t skip this step as these thread wraps are the most vulnerable part of the fly.

Again, nothing new or earth-shattering here, just another guide-style fly that I’ve found to be super effective, at least for now here in northwest New Jersey.