Stoopid Carp . . . [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Stoopid Carp . . .

08-01-2002, 05:35 PM
Arrrrrrrggggggghhhhhhhh . . . :eyecrazy:

The carp haven't been cooperating much lately. It's been veeeeery frustrating. For some reason, they always seem to swim right at the boat as soon as I get close to them, and then they get spooked when I try to put the fly in front of them! The wind and the waterskiers don't help much either.

I tried a new place (Housatonic River in Housatonic, MA) in the hopes that my luck would improve there. Saw LOADS of little carp and plenty of bigger fish. Had a couple follows on the woolly bugger, although I sometimes wonder if the fish is really after the fly or just swimming in the same direction. I tried a "berry" fly for the first time and had one take but missed the hookset. I put the fly on the bottom just ahead of a feeding fish and it actually sucked it in. I set the hook but it pulled free and the carp just swam away shaking its head and flexing its lips. It would have been fun if I'd hooked up since I was using the 5/6 wt, which has no drag. The fly was just a little ball of red chenille, about 3/16" dia., on a size 12 short shank hook. I need to make them bigger though, since this one is too hard for me to see.


08-01-2002, 07:38 PM
Stealth is the key. Why don't you try keeping your fly in the water and waiting to see if they take a look at it.

I mainly tie bonefish patterns for them, sorta makes you feel like you are on the flats. With Lake Michigan, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and Lake Erie, the water is usually crystal clear. Sight fishing at its finest, Great Lakes Stlye!

08-01-2002, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by dansteelieman
Stealth is the key. Why don't you try keeping your fly in the water and waiting to see if they take a look at it.

I definitely need to work on my stealth. The water has been a little murky lately and I don't usually see the fish until I get pretty close to them. Even when I see the stirred up water and I *know* there's a carp around, I often end up right on top of it before I see it. It still amazes me that a 10# (or bigger) fish can be sitting in a foot of water and you just can not see it until you're right on top of it, even if you know it's there and you're staring right at it. Then, because I'm usually rowing or drifting, I usually blow right at it or right past it, or it swims right at me and goes under the boat and then spooks :rolleyes: . I'm thinking about trying a push pole to see if that helps.

I also need to work on my casting skills. It often takes me more than one (or two or three :o ) casts before I land the fly where it needs to be. If I still haven't spooked the fish or gotten weeds on the fly, and if the fish hasn't decided to swim right at the boat, then the boat usually moves and I pull the fly out of the strike zone.

But every once in a while it actually works . . .

If it was easy it wouldn't be fun! (yes it would :devil: )


Dble Haul
08-02-2002, 10:36 AM
Q- One thing I've noticed that helps is to do what the guys on the Striper Board are discussing with regards to hardtails. Instead of going to the fish, let them come to you.

I know that carp and bonito/albies are very different in their feeding styles, but the concept is still the same. If you can determine which direction the fish (either single or a pod) is moving while feeding, try going upwind and drop a short-line anchor to hold your position. When the are just outside of your comfortable casting range, get the fly out and ahead of them so it's already there to be intercepted. And if they move past the fly without taking, wait for them to continue for a ways before picking it back up for another cast.

This has worked for me a few times at the quarry pond. I haven't hooked one of those twelve pounders yet, but a pair of four pounders were very satisfying. This pond is unique in that there are only a handful of mud flats where the carp come in to grub around, so if they pass me by without a take I know that they'll eventually be back in a reasonable amount of time.

Good luck.

08-02-2002, 11:39 AM
Beach the boat and wade, if possible. Keep a low profile like you see the guys in the bonefish adds do. Wade veeeery slooowley so that you don't push a wake. Carp don't get as big as they are by being stupid.

Dble Haul
08-02-2002, 12:42 PM
JD, in these spots where the carp are mudding wading is simply out of the question. The mud is too soft and too deep. I anchor the boat as described above and let them work their way to me. No wake pushed at all. I keep my profile down by perching low in the bow of the john boat.

I'll keep your advice in mind if I find a wadeable stretch on another body of water. Thanks. :)

08-02-2002, 01:30 PM
Anchoring might be good for some of the spots where I fish, although I didn't catch anything the few times I've tried it. I'll give it another try, maybe use a second anchor to keep the boat from swinging around. That was the main problem.

I've considered jumping out of the boat and wading but haven't tried it yet. Should be possible in a few of the spots I fish.

Hey Mark, what fly and setup did you get the carp on?


Dble Haul
08-02-2002, 01:56 PM
Originally posted by Quentin

Hey Mark, what fly and setup did you get the carp on?


Why a brown wooly bugger, of course. Some guy by the alias of "Carp Stalker" once suggested it, and it did the job quite nicely. ;)

08-03-2002, 08:24 AM
Too bad the alias is carp "stalker" and not carp "catcher"!

Glad the bugger worked out. It's the only thing that's worked for me so far, but hookups have been few and far between. Seems like some people have good success on berry flies. I'm going to tie some more and give them a few more chances. The guy at the fly shop showed me the flies he uses for carp. Bright colored yarn (pink, green, orange, red) dubbed onto a short shank heavy wire hook and then trimmed to shape. They looked like little pom-poms about 3/8 or 1/2 in in diameter. He said they sink well but don't splash too much when they hit the water. Someone on another board recommended a purple salmon egg fly with a little bit of bright color tied in for visibility.

BTW, What rod were you using? 7wt? My only hookups (so far) have been on the 9wt. Wish I'd hooked that one on the 5wt, but it might have been a short battle since I only have about 50 yds of backing on that reel. I'm going to pick up a decent 7wt so I can use that instead of the 9.


John Desjardins
08-03-2002, 12:15 PM
Q at least your finding them. I checked out a section of a river I thought would be prime for them the other night and found none. It was a good spot for bass so not all was lost. :hehe:

How about trying a nymph for them?

Dble Haul
08-04-2002, 07:40 PM
I used my 8.5' 8 wt St. Croix. It's fairly soft in the tip so the presentations have been delicate enough not to spook the fish. I suppose that I could go down to my 6 wt, but with my luck I'd latch onto one of the 12 pounders and be fighting it for far too long. I know carp aren't as delicate as trout, but I still like to be able to whip them in a reasonable amount of time so they can recover quickly.

John, your nymph suggestion is good. I've tried some GRHEs and stonefly nymphs, unweighted so that they sink sloooowly. Plenty of interest, but not enough for a take. I have a few ideas that I'll try to play out and keep you posted.

Here's to the Golden Ghost! :p

08-04-2002, 08:30 PM
Originally posted by John Desjardins
Q at least your finding them. I checked out a section of a river I thought would be prime for them the other night and found none. It was a good spot for bass so not all was lost. :hehe:

How about trying a nymph for them?

John, I think that's part of my problem. The fish seem to be more scattered and/or hanging in deeper water so I'm not seeing as many as I was a month ago. Also, I'm pretty sure that the fish I find in "the usual spots" are the same fish that I've casted at (and spooked) several times over the past couple of weeks. Maybe I'll try some nymph patterns to see if a different look will fool them.

Mark, does the 6wt have plenty of backing? If so, I say go for it! Of course, you may not want to cast it at the 25 pounders!


Dble Haul
08-05-2002, 10:05 AM
....but probably not enough backbone.

Q, if you get a berry pattern that works for you, please post it into the archives for reference when you have the opportunity. Carp flies are not well represented (yet!).

Thanks. :)

08-05-2002, 11:35 AM
During high summer back in the UK, you could often see large carp cruising just subsurface pushing a big bow wave. Anglers would target them with a floating bait. There were many homemade 'secret formulas' and commercially available options.

Any cruisers over here? How about a deer-hair floating ball 1 - 2 cm diameter?

08-05-2002, 02:11 PM
Adrian, Most of the cruising carp that I see are a foot or more below the surface and don't seem to be eating, although I have seen them sitting motionless near the surface a few times. When I was at the Housy I did see carp feeding on top. First time I've witnessed that. They weren't really cruising, just moving slowly along sucking on the floating weeds. SLURP! It didn't look like they were eating the weeds themselves, more like they were going after aquatic insects in the weeds or some type of food that was floating among the weeds, maybe cottonwood seeds? I tried a foam bug but they ignored it.

I'll try the floating deer hair ball (it'd be great if I could get them to hit on top!), some berry patterns, nymphs, etc., along with the trusty woolly bugger, and I'll work on making a stealthier presentation to see if I can figure these things out. If I find the magic fly I'll be sure to add it to the archives!

Mark, think a 7wt is suitable for carp (and bass and pike)? I was planning to get a 7wt to fill the gap between the 9wt and 5/6wt, but maybe an 8 would be a better choice?

08-07-2002, 12:34 PM
I finally got my first carp on the flyrod today at lunch!

I was fishing from shore at a local pond casting everything in the box at some tailing carp, having no luck until I tied on a beadhead prince nymph(probably a 10 or a 12, but I'm not sure). I missed the first two times the fish ate, but only spooked the individual fish, not the whole cove. On the third hit I saw the end of the flyline stop abruptly and set up on a good carp. I was fishing the 5 weight since I didn't really expect to catch one, and it's a lot more fun to cast than the 8- big mistake.
Considering how small the pond is, I saw an impressive amount of backing. I got the flyline back onto the reel twice, only to lose it again when the fish got close. After the third run, the fish seemed to be spent and came in pretty easily. I removed the hook and sent him on his way, only to be rewarded by a large splash of muddy water as he took off.

I may have to go out after work and see if I can repeat the performance.


Dble Haul
08-07-2002, 12:37 PM
Way to go Matt. That's a great report, and here's to a repeat performance soon! :)

08-08-2002, 08:36 AM
Careful using the 5wt on those lunch time trips -- it could get you in trouble at work! ("Sorry I'm late -- again." :devil: )