Sadly (or not), carp are still underrated fish! We consider the opposite, therefore we present you this simple article to help out maximizing your chances of a successful journey.
Carp are great fun to fly fish since they normally are fished on sight (blind fishing for carp is not productive at all).
Fly Fishing for Carp puts in a lot of effort and persistence since these fish are generally spookier than trout!
Carp are generally bigger, and thus stronger than trout! And the good news is you can find them pretty much everywhere where the water is warmer!
1) Choosing the right location:
Many anglers have no idea where to start. Generally carp don't like cold water so wherever you find slightly warmer water (slow current rivers/streams, lakes etc) most likely carp will thrive there! Choose places rich in sediments (where a stream enters a lake, bay in a lake, etc) on which carp gladly feed! If the shoreline is long, choose the side where the wind has blown into during the last days (present day) because the wind blows food towards the bank and carp will be in those areas feasting!
Nowadays we are blessed with amazing tech tools, one of them being GoogleMaps (or similar) which allows to track terrain and identify possible areas where carp will "hang out", just do your homework and then test it on the filed. You will eventually find them.
2) When to fish:
You can find carp pretty much on all weather conditions, nevertheless sunny warm days are the best. If the sky is cloudy it will be harder to see through the surface and spot fish, if this is the case move to higher ground until you spot them and then cast closer to the water (this lowers chances of getting seen). If it's cold carp get less active eating when there are slight temperature changes. If it's to hot carp normally go to sleep to minimize energy loss, they stay either close to the surface under some tree/structure that produces shade or they go to deeper water. During spring days fish activity goes up as the sun go up and temperatures rise. During high summer fish are activer early morning and late evening (and night) when its cooler and are lethargic during the high sunny period.
3) Typical carp behaviour:
- Jumping and splashing- These fish are just having fun, shaking off parasites, or means "love is in the air";
- Fish "chilling" on the surface or slightly subsurface- As stated, these fish are just relaxing, sunbathing and will rarely take a fly but if there's not many fish active, give them a try. Success chances increase if you cast a small fly (not weighted) in front of them, then wait...
- Slow moving Schools (or single)- Worth a shot, predict their route and put a fly in front of them, make sure it is at their eye level or below;
- Fast moving Schools- Waste of energy...;
- Tailing Carp- fish with their tails pointing up and digging in the ground for food. These are the fish we seek since they are eating aggressively and our chances for success are pretty high. Just put a fly in the right place (check image below) and get ready to set the hook!
3) How to: In most occasions, anglers miss carp because they rush. In my opinion, the two most important factors to increase success are:
- Approach quietly and smoothly, A.K.A "Be a Ninja";
- Proper present the fly, A.K.A "Bullseye".
Below an image that shows some possibilities regarding presentation and a description of them. Be aware that carp have an unpredictable way of eating. While trout stay in a given place, see an insect, move to take it and return to the original position, carp may move left, right, back etc!
A - Fly landing on a fishes tail, generally spooks them since they don't see the fly, feel it's vibrations when landing on the water and take it as a threat! Inefficient! BAD!
B - Fly landing on a fishes head, generally spooks them since they feel huge vibrations because the fly lands to close. Sometimes they inhale it as soon as it lands. BAD!
C - Fly landing to far away from the fish, most likely it won't attract its attention. BAD!
D - Fly landing on the hot area but closer to the angler. Limited: if the fish moves to this location we are in for game but if the fish moves to E or S we won't be able to correct the flies position and thus lose a chance to hook it. OK!
E - Same as D but slightly better. GOOD!
S - "Hit the Spot", fly landing on the hot area in front of the fish and past it (regarding angler position). If the fish goes to S we're in game, if it goes to E or D we can correct the fly position by gently giving it a thug. PERFECT!
*hot area varies but a good approach would be between 15 e 40cm from the fishes head!
Once you decide to target carp on the fly, get ready for initial frustration paid off by extreme satisfaction once you get into it!
The best advise we can give is spend as many hours out there as possible, only by casting, spooking fish, approaching them and presenting the fly several times you will learn the fish behavior, get the feeling and improve!
Catch & Release so we get the chance to land fish for many years to come!
Respect the environment and one other!
TIGHT LINES AND BENT RODS!