Sunday, December 6, 2015

Early Winter Carp on the Fly

Looking for targets

While it doesn't look like much, there are about 100 carp under the ripples.
The conditions were perfect, the lake was smooth as glass and I easily saw my prey at 75 yards.  I quietly paddled into range and grabbed my 6wt.  Two false casts to gauge my distance and I laid my fly right on target.  It sat there for two seconds and then vanished as it got sucked under, a hard strip set and Carp On!

While most folks are chasing stripers this time of year, I take every chance I get to throw flies at carp.  On this day the carp were cooperative and I landed several fish in the 20-25 in range, with most of the fish hitting my 4wt.

This one fell for a small dry fly

Why do I like carp fishing?  Carp are great fighters and a real challenge to get on the fly.  This is all about sight fishing; I do not waste a cast unless I have a good visual on a specific fish or a small school.  To see the fish from a distance you need calm conditions and you have to be able to stand.  I love my Coosa HD for this type of fishing since it is super stable and quiet.  Carp spook easily, any noise or even a shadow will send them quickly out of range.  I prefer to place my yak up wind and silently drift into range, if I can keep my shadow behind me even better.   False casts can also spook the school, so make as few as possible.

A Carp sucking in a dry fly

Once you are hooked up, hang on.  Carp will test your gear and skills, quickly dumping your reel into the backing.  I have never had a carp run for structure, but if you are over soft bottom, they will burrow down into the mud.  If this happens you will snap your tippet if you try to yank them out, just keep steady pressure on them and they will eventually swim out.  Another trick you can do is to tickle the fish with your stake out pole.  Just follow your line and poke the mud, but be ready they will fly out like they are being launched from a cannon.

So if you want to catch some big fish on the fly, go target some carp.