Carp on a Fly
Posted by Shane Williams, Wind River Outdoor Company
After a rather unsuccessful afternoon of fishing this past week, I watched my indicator go under and I set the hook only to have seemingly hooked a rock, until that rock took me down into my backing. Carp have had a long history of being “trash fish” and where I may not disagree with that, they are one of the most fun, as well as difficult fish to target. Early in my learning curve, I was given some great tips by a “master” carp fly fisherman. The tips still resonate with me now. For instance, studying carp behavior has made a significant difference in landing a trophy. Knowing the difference between a resting and a feeding carp can save someone a sore casting arm. Here are the tips that have proved invaluable:
1. Keep an eye out for slowly moving carp or carp that aren’t moving at all, those are highly likely to take.
2. Carp with their heads down and tails up with cloudy water around them are the ones you want to be going after, those are the ones that are actively feeding.
Another big thing to pay attention to is depth. Carp are lazy eaters, they want the food right in front of their face where it’s easy to get. Not making them waste energy eating means that you will have much more of a fight when they do feed. The weight of flies is almost a science when it comes to carp, but if you just carry varying weights of the same flies you’re bound to find the right depth. There are always go to patterns for every fish. Crayfish and anything tied with rabbit seem to work the best for me. Unless you are lucky and get a day when they are surface feeding, then it’s a whole new game.
So, in conclusion, practice your casting, get accurate at a minimum of 40’ but try and get as accurate as possible at 60’ or better. Work on your patience, carp fishing can be extremely frustrating. They are a very hesitant fish, and you will have to work for them. Fly-weight selection is as important, if not more important than fly selection. Variety is always good though.