Slacking for Carp

The should be king of freshwater fish.
     So I must admit that lately I haven't exactly been following the plan.  I'm supposed to be bass fishing from my kayak.  This weekend is the River Bassin Trail Tournament stop in Madison, and I really should be putting in my time on the water.  I have been out and fishing, just not for what many believe to be Americas game fish.  I do enjoy catching bass, it's just that I enjoy chasing carp on the fly a lot more.  For those of you not in regular pursuit of the "golden bonefish" I can honestly say, you're missing out.  
     Carp are quickly becoming the freshwater fish of choice for many fly anglers.  These fish are smart, finicky, and can be found almost anywhere.  As an urban angler I can't think of a better fish species to chase.  If you think I'm talking crazy you're definitely not alone.  I hear about it all the time from other anglers, especially from the local troutists (trout+elitist).  Trash fish, garbage fish, rough fish, think of your derogatory comment and insert it here.  The funny thing is most of the trout anglers I know don't have the necessary angling skills required to catch one of these beautiful fish.  Carp will test you and many times they will send you home with your tail between your legs.
Jan's Carp Tickler Fly
     Still I find it puzzling that many fly anglers don't spend more time casting flies at the common carp.  For many trout anglers here in the driftless area the lowly carp is gonna be their best chance at catching a fish over 10 pounds.  Come to think of it, they will probably be the local bass fisherman's best chance at a 10 pound fish too.  Seriously, how many of you can lay claim to having caught a 10 pound trout in a creek.  Sure we catch them all over the Great Lakes in the fall, but for most of the year driftless anglers around here are forced to measure their trout in inches...not pounds.
The lovable face of Cyprinus carpio, fly provided by Orvis.
     Now that you're rolling the idea of catching a carp around in your head,  you might be thinking "What do I need to catch one of these things to shut this guy up?"  All you need is a 6-8 wt fly rod and a forward floating line.  You can pick your favorite brand, the carp don't care.  I like to use a size 0x-3x leader and adjust my tippet as dictated by the fish and water clarity.  As for flies damn near any will do.  Carp are notoriously opportunistic and will make the best out of whatever is available.  Insects, berries, clams, seeds, little fish (sculpins), they don't really seem to care what they are eating.  So once you figure out what they're munching on just find a fly in your collection that has a remote resemblance and tie it on.  Usually I find that flies that look like more than one food source are a sure bet.  If that doesn't work tie on a San Juan worm and cast it close.  Trust me there are lots of aquatic worms, the carp eat them all the time.
     So as the summer wears on here in the midwest and the water temps start to climb, keep an eye out for the common carp.  They can take the heat better than trout and are found in even more places than bass.  Whether you fish creeks, streams, rivers, ponds, or lakes, chances are you will have a carp close by.  They are ridiculously strong fighters and stupid amounts of fun to catch on fly rod.  If you want to give it a try sometime drop me a line.  I will be happy to be your guide as you enter the addictive world of fly fishing for carp.  Hell, I'll even help keep it a secret from your trout buddies if you decide you really like it.
In all seriousness I have nothing against trout.
     Tight Lines.



Comments

Featured In

Featured In