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StrmanglrFebruary 7th, 2012, 11:37 am
Posts: 156
Anyone do any carp fly fishing? Any advice if so? I thought I would give it a try this year.

OldredbarnFebruary 7th, 2012, 12:28 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Bow & Arrows...Just kidding.

I can't remember, but aren't you from Michigan? This is becoming quite the craze here these days.

I attended a talk at my fly fishing club recently and an outfitter/guide was giving a talk about a local warm-water stream near here that folks fish for small-mouthed bass. He was going on about fishing for carp and mentioned a "fly" he ties that emulates a mulberry...Turns out, according to him,these carp love them and if you know where the shrub is along the stream you are in luck...They set up just downstream and smack them after they have hit the water...

There is a "fly" out there somewhere called "carp-candy" that folks use...

A good friend of mine told me a story about fishing a river and there were mats of dead Tricos clumped up here and there in the slack areas. He claims he saw carp rising and sucking in these mats of Tricos...

I think they are pretty much omnivores...The trick is putting whatever in their "beautiful" faces...:)

If you are in Michigan google Beaver Island & carp fishing the "flats"...I hear the bigger boys will run you in to your backing and it will feel and look like you are hooked to a small barnyard pig.

"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsFebruary 7th, 2012, 12:47 pm

Posts: 1776
Oh yes! I have. I used to fish the Barge (Erie) Canal in NY for carp with a flyrod. If fished several types of activity:

Stalking the banks watching for rooting carp. I could see the rings and boils from a distance, stalk up, and place the fly in front of them, then twitch it. They were often so preoccupied, the movement was important, and not all fish would respond. But if they saw the fly, and I moved it just so (a twitch –as they won’t chase), I could catch em. These were usually medium to large carp for this water (3 to 6lbs). I used bulky buggy looking flies (think wooly worm-esque) with parts that wiggle or twitch like hen hackle, marabou, or rabbit fur.

Mayfly emergences: The canal had good summer burrowing mayfly emergences and I walked the shore covering rising fish, or blind casting wherever I saw water movement. Some evenings it could be really good. Rock bass and smallmouth joined the fun.

“Cottonwood Hatch”: Cottonwood trees abounded all along the canal and in early summer would literally cover the canal with white cottony seeds -“fuzzy stuff” we called it as kids – and large numbers of carp would cruise the surface vacuuming up the seeds. Some of these were big fish too. I concocted a maintenance free (but ugly) fly that did the trick very well (they weren’t selective –just myopic) that consisted of a #8 plastic popper head to which I tied a hunk of white marabou. After a while the ‘bou would get torn off, yet the plain head caught em too. I knew a kid who fished spinning tackle and a chunk of white hot dog –being fatty pork, they float! The reds sink, in case you were wondering. :)

“Chaff Hatch”: I discovered a grain mill that dumped chaff every now and then into the canal out back. The slick of straw-colored chaff brought pods of 2-4lb carp up that would vacuum up the chaff with their piggy snouts just sticking out of the surface. Just casting to the groups didn’t often result in the fish seeing your fly (I believe I used any old dry –don’t recall any specific “chaff flies”). I discovered that individuals rose in a pattern that I believe was energy efficient. They would rise and vacuum for about a foot across the surface, then descend, only to reappear about 5 feet or so further on, and it was rhythmic so I could time my casts; Pick a fish and lay the fly ahead. (Stillwater trout do this too a times). These pods stayed roughly together and worked up the slight current for 30 or 40ft and then disappear, swim back down, and start again. These fish were especially spooky (all carp are) and it was here that I discovered how the sound of line “singing” in the water (as in a firm pickup of a sunk leader) would synchronously spook an entire pod. Carp, being minnows, are “ostariophysids” having a group of paper thin bones that connect the inner ear with the swim bladder that amplify sound. I believe I was tripping an alarm in this system as I’ve not had other fish respond to taut lines slicing water in this way. Something to keep in mind possibly.

-Find concentrations of carp. However, spawning carp –an obvious concentration –could care less about flies in my experience.
-Exercise stealth.
-Carp are myopic.
-Keep your lines quiet in the water.
-Go barbless as they have soft mouths with tough tendons and you can really tear tissue if you aren’t careful.

Enjoy them! Gosh they can pull line of a fly reel!

OldredbarnFebruary 7th, 2012, 2:26 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
Great story Paul!
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsFebruary 7th, 2012, 3:18 pm

Posts: 1776
That's not a story Spence. That's advice. :)
OldredbarnFebruary 7th, 2012, 3:48 pm
Novi, MI

Posts: 2600
That's not a story Spence. That's advice. :)

:) Ok...Advice in the form of a nice narrative...How's that? ;)
"Even when my best efforts fail it's a satisfying challenge, and that, after all, is the essence of fly fishing." -Chauncy Lively

"Envy not the man who lives beside the river, but the man the river flows through." Joseph T Heywood
PaulRobertsFebruary 7th, 2012, 3:52 pm

Posts: 1776
Thanks Spence. That was nice.

Now here's a carp story:

Many years ago (like almost 40 now), a friend and his little sister were wetting a line from their boathouse on the canal, when her rod was suddenly yanked right off the planks and shot like an arrow out into the canal and disappeared! Talk was it was one BIG carp. You know, the kind that no one ever actually catches but you just KNOW exist. Often they are all white and have a peg-leg stuck under a scale.

A week later I was fishing with my friend and reeled up some line. To one end was Colleen's little Zebco rig. And there was life at the other end! We started reeling in her rig and sure enough there was a carp on it -a 15incher, with her now wormless hook in its upper snout.

But (in case you were as disappointed as the rest of us) ...

Years later (about 5 years ago) I took my young son to do some carp fishing on that same old canal and very close to the same old boathouse (my buddy had long moved away though). My son got a run (we had been chumming with corn), starting reeling and something SO very strong pulled back SO hard it scared him and he handed the rod over to me, jumped up off the rocks, and got away from that water!

I was tethered to something that could not be budged. I mean, it was rock solid. Even with a big one you can at least ... get em to come up a bit, or annoy em and get it to speed up. But no, it just headed slowly, solidly, down deep, up the canal, maintaining its depth perfectly. And it kept on going, until it must have passed a protruding rock, and cut me off. It took a while to reel all that line back up. I was actually a little unnerved myself. And my son said he was ready to go -away from that scary green water that actually had monsters in it. I didn't mean to traumatize the little guy. I still do wonder... Maybe it had an old hook wound in its upper snout.
JesseFebruary 8th, 2012, 1:11 pm
Posts: 378
Bow and Arrow..hahaha great stuff Spence and so true! But carp are tough. First you have to put yourself in a position to where you can get a good cast ahead of the fish without spooking them. They are a weary fish. And the rest takes patience. If its subsurface fishing to them with nymphs, dark colored rubber legged nymphs work well. And depending on their path you have to get the fly to the bottom of the watershed and let it sit their before they arrive, and hope they scoop it up. Surface feeding for them could be a little easier. Find what they are feeding on, cast ahead and hope for the best like you would a trout. And be ready for a FIGHT! A lot of people consider them the bone fish of fresh water, they are trains baby let me tell you. Best of luck!
Most of us fish our whole lives..not knowing its not the fish that we are after.
PaulRobertsFebruary 8th, 2012, 1:54 pm

Posts: 1776
Hey! I have another carp story..and it's a FF one too.

My first fly caught fish was a carp. I was about 8 or 9 years old and was introduced to fly-tying by a friend. At home I didn't have any materials so I got a #6 baitholder hook, and wound a rubber band onto the hook with gray cotton sewing thread. I remember some humps of rubber band sticking out a bit which made the fly look to like a third of a real worm threaded onto a hook -the way we did it to conserve our precious worms.

I cast it out into the canal, on my Dad's old steel rod, and let it lay. It must have sat there for 15 minutes when suddenly the rod tip started to bounce and lo and behold I had a "big" fish -13-1/2" long (and measured several times let me tell you). Even then I wondered how that fish found a tiny piece of thread and rubber band, and why it tried to eat it. I believe now that it found it alright, tried it and found the texture worth chewing on for a bit. I've not made another, but always meant to play with that idea.

Hey, now you know why I was defending ol' Grubb in that recent thread. :)
MartinlfFebruary 8th, 2012, 8:57 pm
Palmyra PA

Posts: 3161
Spence, the Tulpehocken in Pennsylvania has a huge Trico hatch, some big trout, and some bigger Carp. I've landed several on Trikes once the trout stopped feeding and couldn't resist seeing if I could time the fly with the carp's rhythm. It does take a while to get one's fly back with 7X. Great stories Paul; the last one reminds me of some of my first fishing adventures as a boy. And the Moby Carp one is a jewel.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
GutcutterFebruary 9th, 2012, 9:09 pm

Posts: 470
I love it, Paul!
All men who fish may in turn be divided into two parts: those who fish for trout and those who don't. Trout fishermen are a race apart: they are a dedicated crew- indolent, improvident, and quietly mad.

-Robert Traver, Trout Madness

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