my Carp efforts usually involve my 7 weight but at times I move to an eight weight or drop down to my five. It all depends on the wind and the reels I have attached. Fly size dictates fly line in a general sense and my Carp box has a great selection of flies that work with either the five or heavier but again centering on a six or seven weight. I mentioned reels above since even on my five if there's the slightest possbility of getting into a ten lb plus fish I prefer a disc drag rather than click pawl. My go to seven weight is a Bauer M3, while I go to either my Abel Super Seven on the eight or the nine with it's Old Florida. (all cork/draw bar drags)
Leader/tippet size -
the leader is almost always a nine foot tapered starting with 40 lb test as a butt, tapering to the tippet, using a 60%, 20%, 20% formula. it's a very soft and supple leader and except for the lightest weight tippet, or class tippet, I prefer Rio's Powerflex, Frog Hair or Velvet for mono tippet, or Rio's FC for a FC tippet. I do use the FC when the bottom has a lot of sharp rocks and have even used a shock tippet due to these as well as due to the scales on the Carp's shoulders when using 4 lb test or lighter.
Must-have flies -
red tagged wooly worm with two chartruse, varigated, rubber legs fore and aft. Tied with a dark grey body and grizzly hackle. I tie with three head colors, black, green and red. The black is not weighted, the green has a wrap of lead and the red has two wraps. I tie these with an orange deer hair weed guard when fishing rocky bottoms, bendback style. The weighted system corresponds to really shallow = black, two feet or so, green and for three feet, I choose the red. (great having very predictable shallows and snik rates) I also carry a couple crayfish patterns and buggy looking stonefly looking flies as well as mayflys, chironimids, damsels, mulberry, cottonwood fluff flies, glo bugs, and a few other to match the hatch. Always carry a couple San Juan and IPW worm flies.
xtra gear -
top quality sun glasses, of light yellow for dim light, brownish for most sand and rocky bottoms, and neutral green for areas with a lot of shoreline trees. I carry a couple sizes of hook releases, preferering to release them in the water. The first is a Runje's Releaser, Hook removal tool eases releases - Spokesman.com - June 12, 2011
, available from the Spokane area fly shops, and the second is a larger saltwater one that uses the same circle, to clip onto the line, slide down, and pop off the fish. Watch getting sunscreen and other off tastes on your flies as Carp have a very sophisticated sense of taste/smell.
Strategies to hooking up
as was mentioned above, watch for a change, tipping down and to either side, or best, watch for the flash of white/gold as their lips pooch out and suck the fly in. (see the good glasses above) Speaking of that read most any article you can find on flats fishing and go fish for bones, reds, black drum, etc as much as possible as much of the mechanics are the same when it comes to sight fishing. A bit of height works wonders, casting platform from a poled boat, for instance, or standing up on your inflatable seat, or on top of your kayak. Sight fishing is best between ten and around four as the sun angle is everything. Find the fish, figure out a stalking path that takes advantage of the sun and go for it.
How to play the carp once you're hooked -
- down and dirty unless you want a long fight on your hand. When he pulls you keep drag on him, when he stops you reel and adjust your rod angle, up when he dives, to the right and down when he goes left and down and right when he goes left. When he's running straight away, use a combo of left then right to keep him off balance and fighting. If the fish isn't fighting or running he's resting. I do allow and encourage him to run early on by using a light drag and add additional pressure on the rim later in the fight.