Quick Fix Fly Fishing for Carp
I've been hearing all about carp fishing for some time now, and even though I've caught a few of them at times when I've seen them in places where I was fishing for something else, I've kind of turned my nose up at the idea. Last week though I was desperately in need of a quick fly fishing fix and carp turned out to save the day.
I actually went looking for bass and bluegill in a pond at a business park in my area. I'd really never seen carp there before. When I got there I saw and spooked a few small bass, saw spawning tilapia and messed around trying unsuccessfully to attract their attention, and then he appeared. A huge torpedo of a fish slowly cruised by along a wind line and occasionally opened his mouth for something. Ok, here was my chance. I switched to an unweighted sparkle leech pattern since the fish was suspended about a foot under the surface and dropped my fly about 4 feet in front of him. He spooked with a big swirl and disappeared.
First Lesson - carp are spooky. In fact, they are really spooky.
This first failure actually got me kind of excited and in a few minutes I spotted another big cruiser. I changed tactics and actually dropped my leech under a large cicada dry fly about a foot and cast it well out in front of his cruising path. This time the fish came up and looked at the dry fly, put its nose right on it, and then bolted again leaving a big swirl.
Second Lesson - carp are goofy. I hadn't even considered that he might look at the dry.
Ok, now it was on. A fish had showed some interest in the dry so I left my set up the same and walked along the bike and walking path around the pond in search of another cruiser. I spotted one about 20 feet off the shore cruising a wind line again and cast again well out in front of him with the Cicada/leech combo. This time the big shadow moved in on my flies and then, just as I thought he had gone by, my dry fly moved just a few inches and I set the hook.
Third Lesson - carp are powerful. I had only brought a 4 weight expecting just to catch little bass and bluegill.
The carp took a tour of pretty much every inch of the pond basically doing whatever he wanted for quite a while and after a long long fight I finally dragged him up in the shallows close enough to tail him. He was around 32 inches long, really heavy, and super scaly.
Fourth Lesson - carp fishing rocks!
I will be out there again soon and if you've never tried, it definitely is worth a try. It's a challenge not unlike casting to wary trout and the fight makes you entirely forget about the freeway noises and kids feeding ducks. It's great!