I want to thank everyone who posted. Some interesting and well-reasoned points of view. This has made for some interesting discussions between my friends and I.
I went over to a local pond this week with my 17 year old daughter and a friend searching for small mouth. I hooked into a 24 inch carp instead. Luckily I was using my 6 weight, but only had on 5x leader and tippet. The smallies in that pond don't get very large and the water was quite stained. Anyway, that fish darted immediately for deeper water and then made long, slow turns, stopping to shake its head now and again. He would make quick runs back toward shore and then head back out into the middle. He took me into my backing three different times. After and hour and fifteen minutes of holding on for dear life and subtly moving him closer and closer to shore, in and out of cattails and reeds, away from sunken logs, I got him into the shallows. I had no net and no camera, but the thing was huge, and strong. Was easily in the 10 pound range. All I have to show for my efforts is the story and a really stupid sunburn from standing in the exact same position for so long.
My daughter was quite impressed with the size of the ugly bugger. My friend has started to rethink his opinions about carp as "trash fish". I was delighted at having landed a big fish on fairly light line. It was a good test of skill and I plan to go back for more.
I still don't plan to base my fly fishing life around carp, and don't want to hook into one in a pristine trout stream, but as an occasional distraction close to home, they are worth the effort.
Check out the fish in this small pond located in Parker, CO where I live. http://www.coloradoskiesoutfitters.c...r_Fishing.html
Now that looks like fun!!!