Carp Fishing? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Carp Fishing?

01-04-2006, 08:22 PM
I just got the new cabela's flyfishing magazine and one of the new things that i thought was very interesting was that there was a carp flies and book set. Now im wondering if anyone has seen this or have at least flyfished for carp before. Im wondering whether to buy it or not because carp put up a great fight and would be even harder to land out of the Erie Canal on a fly rod :) do you think these fly's will actually work? I've never known carp to take fake baits...

01-04-2006, 08:38 PM
I looked at the selection and although tempting you have to ask yourself a few questions first. One would be think of the water where you mostly find your carp, is it deep, shallow, is it an ankle to thigh deep, almost like a flat where you would find bonefish or a river that is deep. Although most carp are found in the shallower water and are easier to target sometimes they maybe out alittle deeper. I was introduced into the carp fishing world a short time ago and from what I was taught is that it's a great idea to have flies for all types of situations. The flies that worked the best were smaller crafish imitations anywhere from size 6 to 10, and really webby nymphs with alot of movement sizes 6 to 10. I have put together a box of flies that range from having small to micro led eyes, to plastic nymph eyes, to none atol, depending on the depth of water I was fishing. For me I target them in late april early may through the end of june I find to be the best times. May is a really good month for it is there spawning season and tend to let there guard down alittle bit more, but as the summer months progress they tend to be more aware of what is going on and definatley harder to catch. Stealth and very little motion is key. I would also ask myself, do I find them feeding on the surface and to what they are feeding on. Most of the time I find it is best to fish for them when they are activley feeding, you can catch them when they a kinda just lazily swiming about but more times than not the will scamper off pretty quick once you throw a cast to them as there moving. When I seen the selection they looked all heavily weighted except for the milk weed "dries." I hope this helps. Sorry for being long winded.

01-04-2006, 08:44 PM
cool, thanks for the info! The canal is pretty deep though w/ rocky sides so i have to fish off of the side. Can't wade in there. In the summer they are always jumping around so i think i'll be using those milkweed dries. Anyone else? By the way i fish the erie canal.

01-04-2006, 08:48 PM
I have fished the Erie Canal a ton with the fly rod for the past few years from the shore line as well as out a kayak. I just started to target the carp this summer. I had very good success with the nymphs and crayfish patterns. If you seen them jumping that probably ment that they were spawing. If some more info on the whole carp thing go talk with Nick Pionessa at the Oak Orchard Fly Shop in Williamsville. I think he may be able to hook you up with a few flies to try out in the canal. Also the book that is pictured with the Carp flies in that catalog is a very good book to have if you are serious about fishing carp with a fly rod.

01-04-2006, 09:53 PM
I haven't seen the Cabela's catalog yet so I don't know about the flies, but that's great if they have a section for flyfishing for carp -- they are one of my favorite fish to try for :D .

. . . Stealth and very little motion is key. . . .


I've had good luck with crayfish patterns and egg/berry patterns, but the approach and presentation seem to be much more important than the fly. If they're not already "on to you" they are very willing to hit a fly if it's in their path and it looks like food. I haven't had much success with floating flies or carp that are cruising or suspended on the surface. Maybe I'm not quite stealthy enough with my sloppy casts and heavy leaders :chuckle: .


01-05-2006, 09:26 AM
I've only caught a couple of fish on the "cruise." You really have to time the cast in order to do this. I use pretty heavy leaders and tippet as well, usually 0x or 1x tippet and the same for leaders. I usually carry a few extras because where I fish for them there are a ton of rocks that they like to bolt for to snap you off. They are deffinatley oone of the best game fish to fish for. I would put them next to steelhead in my all time big fish to fish for. I've never fished in salt water so that's about the only comparison I can make although I heard they are a good fish to practice on for bonefish.

01-05-2006, 01:57 PM
hmm i fish under lyndon bridge so i cant wade and theres no shores and i dont have a kyak so i'll just do it from the side. Do you usually get a lot of carp on or is it hard to get them to even bite?

01-05-2006, 02:27 PM
It is harder to fish to them in the canal usually the upper niagara river is the place to be for them. The earlier you can fish for them in the canal the better, because they usually have there gaurd down until the canal starts to get churned up by the boat wake. If you are fishing from the shore the best places I found was around ellicott creek park and around the north tonawanda boat launch, also the best thing to do is wade out just a few feet from the shore if you can and wait for them to come back. They will take off initially when you get down or in the water but after a few minutes they usually return to where they were feeding or mating. If they are mating they won't want anyhting to do with a fly but if you can find the ones hangin out by themselves is the best option hope this can help.

01-05-2006, 08:44 PM
I must add that the types of flies you you can be very limited depending on where you are fishing. That is, fly selection is limited not only by the prevelance of certain insects and other food sources, but by the other species of fish that live in the smae areas. As an example: In various rivers, I use a fly that only interests the Carp, because there is such an abundance of smaller, quicker fish who will readily take any fly resembling an aqautic insect.

I've never known carp to take fake baits...

Yes, Carp certainly will take artificials. However they can be extremely difficult to catch once they have been fished over; especially with flies. But it can be done with remarkable success. This past year is the first I seriously persued Carp, although I had caught them in the past. Mind you, if you can find 'stupid' Carp the learning curve will be much less steep. And for cruising carp, get that fly down!

01-28-2006, 06:57 PM
Yea I saw the Carp flies and the books in the Cabelas catalog also. It was kind of sad, now fly fishing for Carp is an officially commercial consumer thing. It was only a matter of time until Cabelas cashed in on it though.

Fly fishing for Carp is pretty simple though not easy by any means. You have to use every stealth full trick you know, be really quiet, cast really accurately with a fly thatís appropriate for the conditions. You donít need a fancy fly to catch carp. What you need is a fly on a strong sharp hook and woolly bugger in olive brown or black will do, size 8 or 6 its important to be able to see your fly. Have a selection that are weighted differently. If fish are cruising near the surface a neutrally buoyant fly or one that sinks slowly will do. If the fish are feeding on the bottom in shallow water you want a fly you can see that sinks fast.

Just because one fish spooks at the site of your fly doesnít mean then next one wont rush over and inhale it.

I have noticed sunscreen, and insect repellant seem to have a negative effect. Rub some mud on your fly.

I was out today, the fish were pretty sleepy, and it was really cold, but I did hook one.


02-03-2006, 09:59 AM
i live in texas and there are some monster carp down here. many of the fly guys down here tie what they call a coffee bean fly, which is little more that a coffee bean glued to a hook with any assortment of rubber legs, etc that they feel will work. i have seen them many different ways, but they all say the same thing that it is the oil in the coffee bean that the carp go wild for. i have not tried it personally, but i have always been intrigued.

02-03-2006, 01:10 PM
Sounds like bait fishing to me. I used to fish for Carp with dough balls but it wasnt with a fly rod. Where do you draw the line.


02-03-2006, 01:52 PM
Sounds like bait fishing to me. I used to fish for Carp with dough balls but it wasnt with a fly rod. Where do you draw the line.

I think you draw the line when you glue a piece of bait to a hook. It doesn't matter whether you use fly gear or not, I'd call that bait fishing. After all, I could hook a minnow onto a fly and fish with it, but would you say I was fly fishing?

02-03-2006, 03:38 PM
It could be as simple as thread on a hook. But the one basic rule for me is no stink, slime, or goo.

If you want to fish with worms, dog food, bubble gum, fried clams, fench fries, toe jam, or what ever, thatís fine, its just not fly fishing.


02-04-2006, 07:31 AM
The coffee bean fly was originaly a beetle imatation developed by one of the old timers on the letort in pa. i can't remember who. it was simply a good silouette for the beetle, not meant to scent or anything. in fact they were usualy covered in laquer. it is no suprise to me that Casellus is in on the carp thing, i'm sure they have an expert staff waiting to take your calls and questions on presentation and the emtomology associated with matching the food source. after all they are the experts.:lildevl:

02-07-2006, 02:07 PM

Donít let Cabelas know about the roe jam thing or we wonít have anything to our selves. :tsk_tsk: :hihi:


02-08-2006, 08:51 AM
I work in downtown Boston and during the warmer months take walks along the Charles River Esplanade. More than a few times I've seen 10-15 lb carp in the shallows no more than a rod length away, though they scatter if they see you. I've often thought about packing my rod into work one day and having a really fun lunch. :)

02-08-2006, 12:32 PM

You gotta watch fishing in your office attire, mud on your leather shoes and mud spattered on your dockers or your white shirt is a dead giveaway that your out Carpin on your lunch break. I get busted for it on a regular basis in the summer especially if Im having too much fun to get back to the office on time.


I think a Toe Jam fly is in the cards. Artificial that is. I would have to use real wool, or Yack yarn to give it that old sock quality. I could have some fun with this one.


02-09-2006, 01:07 PM
I haven't seen the Cabelas catalog but I can tell you Carp on the Fly by Barry Reynolds, Brad Befus & John Berryman is a must read if you want to be succesful at this.

Years ago, when I lived in So. Ca. and good flywater was a seven hour drive, we discovered Carp in the big city. What a blast to take five or six of these guys sight fishing like bones or reds, go have coffee and a cigar at Starbucks, and be back home before noon. On a Saturday morning even! Six wt rods, into the backing! Great sport.

02-09-2006, 02:52 PM
How would it be if upon catching ones first Bone Fish, Red Fish, or Permit on a tropical flat you exclaimed with great authority, so every one in ear shot could hear " THIS IS JUST LIKE CARP FISHING". You don’t here that too often do you. Im all the time hearing people say oh "Carp fishing is just like Bonefishing" even from people who have never been fishing for Bonefish. I recall someone famous saying that in a video or a book, and now everybody who has seen the video or read the book thinks its true. Having done significantly more carp fishing than Bonefishing Im one for poking fun at what I see as an attempt at legitimizing Carp fishing by comparing it to something which is pretty much known to us in landers as a bastion of the high rolling destination fishing crowd. And if you ask me Carp fishing isn’t anything like bone fishing, its like Carp fishing, and part of its appeal is that I can do it in my own backyard and up until recently its been kind of quiet.


Dble Haul
02-09-2006, 03:25 PM
Up until recently it's been kind of quiet?

Heck, here in New England people have been doing it and speaking openly about it for at least a few decades, and all for the very reasons that everyone in this thread has described. I suppose that it may be different out where you are with most of the attention on trout.

But the reason I like it is just like one of your's right in my back yard. I've never been bonefishing, but I must admit that the accuracy required to carp fish certainly helps with my flats fishing for stripers. No, they aren't the same, but there is some overlap where doing one helps the other.

02-09-2006, 04:06 PM
Yeah I've seen the articles & pics of famous fishing personalities dressed to the nines, fly fishing for Carp from hi dollar flats skiffs, complete with the also hi dollar guide standing on the poling platform with graphite push pole. And no, it is not just like bone fishing but it's probably as close as you can get without actually going bone fishing. Wonder how much it cost the magazine to import guide and flats skiff up there? Not to mention fly fishing personality:chuckle:

Not exactly my bag. And not really necessary either. I don't want to see Carp promoted as the latest greatest thing either. It's bad enough that it's usually legal to bow hunt for them. And some cultures eat them. The last thing we need is for some guy on ESPN with a mega bucks bass boat and a jump suit showing the wonderful world of Carp fishing. :mad:

When I lived in So.Ca. it was 65 miles to the San Gabriel river. Seven hours up to Bishop. The trout were measured in inches. And it was always crowded. It was a twenty minute drive to our Carp creek. And when we talked about them we talked pounds.

The scenery was nothing like a bonefish flat. It was a flood control channel most thought was polluted. But it was home to herons, egrets, foxes, rabbits, coyoties, even a rare golden eagle, as well as the Carp. There were others who knew of this place. Runners, walkers, birders, dog people. For a while it was a nice escape from the rat race. Then the Carp eaters found out about it.

If you find a place like this, be careful who you tell about it. And if the passers by think you are crazy for fishing there, with a fly pole,,,let them. Tell them you're just practice casting, anything, make some funny faces & sounds. Fart if you have to. Just don't let them see you catch one of these guys.:tongue:

02-09-2006, 05:51 PM
Im sure we have our Carpfish Fishing personalities in waiting ready to don a label and a sponsor ready to go for the big prize bucks, notoriety and fame. Out west although there have been a few old timers actively pursuing Carpfish for years, maybe even decades, its still pretty quiet. There are a few tournaments these days, usually sponsored by an equipment rep or a shop. There will always be someone ready to capitalize on a good thing.

I agree that the cast has improved.. allot, this is an awesome way to improve your cast, but why relate to Carpfish fly fishing like its practice for anything else.

There are the Carpfish eaters too. Usually with some line wrapped around a pop can and a washer for a sinker, perched like a hungry heron at the edge of the pond. I donít suppose their practicing for the bass masters classic.

I recall as a kid bank fishing for perch, the guy next to me hooked a big 20 lb + Carpfish and his girl friend/ wife came running up yelling ďoh honey thatís the biggest trout Iíve ever seenĒ, of course he said under his breath, shudup ..... and then SHUT-UP-ITS-A-CARP. This is the prevailing attitude and while its not the most savory, I can come up with a number of good reasons not to try to hard to change it.

I had a six year old come up to me once and inform me that Carpfish like bread the best, and if I needed any bread that he had plenty and would be happy to share with me. I showed him my white foam rubber popcorn fly and he thought that might work pretty good. This is quite possibly the most innocent and friendly encounter I have ever had while fishing.


02-09-2006, 10:19 PM
I was fishing in a shallow corner of a local carpin' lake while the fish were in spawning mode and were rolling and jumping everywhere. I wasn't having much luck but kept casting anyway. Some guys in a bass boat noticed the commotion and worked their way into the cove, furiously casting their bass plugs and exclaiming, "Look at that! They're everywhere! Man, they won't hit anything!" I kept hoping I would hook up while they were there, but no such luck. By the time they got close enough to talk they'd figured it out, but still asked me if the fish were carp. As soon as I confirmed their suspicions they fired up the big motor and churned their way out of there. I was annoyed that they'd spooked the fish and messed up the water, but it was funny enough that it was worth it :chuckle: !


02-27-2006, 02:02 PM
so then what the definition of fly fishing. accoridng to natrix and teflon it is anything that does not stink, slime, ooze, etc. that could encompass a whole list of things that i would not call fly fishing. spinner baits on a bait caster could pass for that. so what the line. apparently it does not have to do with equipment. is fly fishing only that which is comprised of a fly rod/ree/line and insect imitation? that would eliminate any and all minnow patterns, worm patterns, frog patterns, etc. so what do we define as the sport of fly fishing? let's eb consistent on the definition!

Dble Haul
02-27-2006, 02:19 PM
Let's not let a good thread on carp fishing be brought down by the old "what is a fly" debate. If someone desires to continue that line of discussion, start another thread in the Worldwide Discussion area. There's plenty of folks who would participate.

02-27-2006, 08:11 PM
Well said Mark!

Being somewhat politically incorrect and proud of it (sorry, but the Brit in me just won't let go), I think folks might be missing the point. Sight casting to any species of fish is the pinnacle of the fly-fishing game.

I've been lucky enough to sight cast to some fairly exotic species in some very interesting places but that doesn't detract from the skill required to sight cast to a Carp in clear water and pursuade it to take the fly. They grow big and pull pretty good too. Like Mark says, it's a great way to sharpen up your 'tradecraft' and have a lot of fun

It's not like bonefishing or permit fishing or tarpon fishing or trout fishing (anyone ever try to drop a dry fly in the circles of the rise?). I could add casting flies to Mahi Mahi, Giant Trevally, Roosterfish, Billfish and Sharks teased and/or chumed to the transom of a boat although that is actually a "lower" form of the sport :lildevl: . The common factor in all of these cases is the visual element and Carp, God bless-em give all men (and women) the opportuntiy to experience fly fishing at its best. I have no interest in blind casting for them in stagnant water the color of chocolate milk. Actually I find blind casting to "mudding" bonefish pretty boring also.

03-29-2006, 06:42 AM
Adrian ,

you'll be pleased to know that Carp on the Fly ( along with other warmwater fish - barbel etc ) is really taking off in the UK with several places allowing it. a recent edition of Todays FlyFisher magazine had a picture of a 30lb fish taken on a suspended buzzer.

fish are also taken on deerhair flies and suspended bloodworms.

a useful alternative for the dog days of summer methinks.


03-29-2006, 08:59 AM
Hey Mark!

That's great to hear and it doesn't surprise me.

The serious pursuit of carp isn't as well developed on this side of the Atlantic but it does have its ardent enthusiasts. Unfortunately the term "trash fish" is still widely applied over here. When I read of people bowhunting them and using them for garden fertilizer I get a bit upset. This will probably take a generation or two to change but you can sense that things are getting better.