Gobies are succulent morsels in the world of the fish and are found quite often on flats. This can include saltwater flats for big bonefish or the rocky flats of the Great Lakes where carp and smallmouth gulp down these little fish. Fish can rarely eat just one, and this explains the name of this pattern, the Potato Chip Goby (PC Goby for short). At first glance, gobies look like sculpin but also resemble various sucker species that are mottled and stay near the bottom of the stream. In this light, flies that resemble gobies will also resemble sculpins and baby suckers. That’s exactly what this fly pattern does, it resembles all of these fish and even works as a baby crayfish as well. While it works for all of these natural prey items, it is a great goby pattern and works really well when you travel to the Great Lakes to fish for carp and smallmouth.
The Potato Chip Goby is tied with a mix of natural and synthetic fibers, which I love to use, and most of the versions of this fly have very little flash in them. Feel free to add more if you feel you need a bit of flash for smallmouth on the flats. The main factor that will render this fly unusable is the dynamic between the hook gap size/weight of the hook and the weight you use. If you don’t use the appropriate weight, the fly will ride hook down, so make sure to experiment before you tie a bunch of them. On this particular version, I use a large #2/0 Owner Mosquito hook, which still has a pretty fine diameter wire at this size. However, the gap is very large and allows you to really crank on fish that want to run out of the vicinity or run into cover. A very nice version is with four large gold bead chain eyes. This softens the landing a bit as well since it distributes the weight. Smaller bead chain eyes will cause the #2/0 Mosquito to ride hook up. Also, don’t let the number of the hook dictate your hook choice, since fish can’t read or count. Use the hook that works for the situation regardless of the hook number. I fish a relatively high breaking strength fluorocarbon for large carp on the flats, so this larger hook helps me horse these guys in without equipment failure. Use whatever you like, but make sure to get this aspect right.
Fish the pattern where there are bunches of smaller prey items in the water that the fish can gorge themselves on. It is specifically designed more for sight fishing on flats, so it will excel in these environments. The main action for this fly is the drop and the inherent action found with the hair and rubber legs. The PC Goby has a great profile, and I personally believe that rabbit strips add a bit of scent and taste factor when fishing for carp. The fly could be used with certain actions you impart to it, but it shines when you stay closer to the bottom and simply move the fly into the path of the fish. More action is at times necessary for smallmouth if nothing more than to attract the fish. There are, I’m sure, quite a few other applications, but this is how I’ve used this fly, so go ahead and give it a shot, and feel free to let us know how it worked for you.
- Hook: Hook of choice, depending on species (#2/0 Owner Mosquito in the video)
- Thread: UTC 140 (tan)
- Weight: Adjusted to hook size, but 4 large gold bead chain links common (1/20 oz. plated dumbbell eyes in the video for deep choppy water)
- Tail: Extra select craft fur tan (olive also)
- Coloring: Permanent markers (bronze in the video, but match to color scheme)
- Rubber Legs: Barred and speckled crazy legs from Hareline (bonefish tan)
- Body: Extra select craft fur (underfur)
- Hackle: Natural hen saddle hackle
- Wing: Zonker/rabbit strip (grizzly (as brown as possible), olive black-barred)
- Lacquer: Zap-a-gap (brushable) etc.