One of my goals for 2013 was to catch my first carp on a fly. Having just completed that goal this week, I'm certainly not an expert but will weigh in on what worked for me on my first and only attempt to date.
Was fishing a lake that was new to me, so started by trying to find some gills and LMB. Was on foot and working the shoreline. Heard some trashing and splashing some distance away at the shoreline and figured it's either LMB ambushing minnows or carp in the shallows. Either way, I was interested. Turns out it was carp and they seemed to be in spawn mode based on the fact that several were rolling over each other in the shallows.
Couple of local people were watching and told me spawning fish aren't interested in feeding. I generally agree with that, but also believe that not all fish of a specific species are in spawn mode at exactly the same time and some may not participate as eagerly as others (just my opinion). My target was those "other" carp that were swimming in close proximity. The water was not very clear, so I couldn't cast specifically to any one. I knew they were there because they were occasionally visible when they swirled the surface or when I accidentally spooked one.
Since I had a black over white MM Minnow fly on (from gill and bass fishing earlier), I made a couple of casts with that. In short order I had my first hit, which somehow spit the hook. Several casts later, the fight was on once again and I landed a nice carp just under 23 inches in length. GREAT fun on a 6 wt rod! Talk about rod bend the entire time. Needless to say, the locals that said the carp wouldn't bite were in disbelief and almost as excited as I was.
Several casts later, I had another carp that somehow spit the hook after a brief fight. I hooked four additional carp, but didn't land any of those. Either had poor hook sets or they spit my barbless fly. Needless to say, the locals that said the carp wouldn't bite were in disbelief and almost as excited as I was. They were also now providing lots of advise anytime one got away.
Thinking my fly with a #10 hook was too small, I tried flies with larger hooks without success. Didn't have an MM Minnow in the larger size so I tried gartside soft hackle streamer, wooly buggers, etc., without any hits. Switched back to the MM Minnow and had hits again. I'd show you a picture of it, but I lost the only two I tied while fishing for gills and bass yesterday evening. It was simply black marabou over white with silver bead chain using the pattern shown in http://ultralightflyfishing.com/foru...hp?f=94&t=6643
- I'm definitely hooked on carp fishing.
- Given the fact that carp spook so easily, fishing for them in cloudy water might actually be an advantage (assuming you have some indication they are present).
- Still not sure if I was losing fish because of poor hook-sets, too small a hook or because they were able to spit a barbless hook.
More research (fishing) is required.