It is all about the forage! My go to hook is a size 8 scorpion gaper, which is a carp bait hook equivalent to a size 10 tiemco scud hook. Unless the carp are predatory I think smaller is better for hook size.
You are right on with spawners. The actively spawning fish are not likely to eat, but the fish on the edges usually will. I did get this big lead female to eat a size 8 hybrids his year. She barely slowed down, just puffed her gills and inhaled the fly off the bottom as she swam by.
If you look behind me in the photo you can see hords of spawners. Check out this video:
My preference is to find fish that are not spawning, but you can usually pick a few off of the edges. This big girl was taken on a 2 inch bunny leech...she broke out of a pack and chased the fly down like a bass. That would never happen here in OR! They are cool fish:
This is a home water fish I got in June. I did some filming with RA Beattie and stuck this one on a size 8 hybrid as well.
It has been a crazy year. I have landed 18 carp over 20 lbs this year, just one fish away from my record. Been a lot of fun seeing so many people get interested in these fish too...I was a total pariah 10 yers ago! Hah...