Fly fishing For Carp, It's On!
FFA Carp Page
A lot of people who fly fish in warm waters have had the experience of accidentally catching a carp. But few try to accomplish this deliberately. For those few, this brief guide should be helpful. Hopefully you will also experiment and share with others your successes and failures.
Basically there are only two ways to fly fish for carp -- sight casting and blind casting. Sight casting involves seeing carp in the water and casting the fly to about 1 or 2 feet in front of them. While this is not always possible, it often is and provides some of the most exciting carp fishing. An analogy is often drawn to fishing for bonefish and the analogy is quite accurate. Like bonefish, carp can often be seen tailing in the shallows. Like bonefish, carp are eating whatever organisms they find on or scare up from the bottom. And like bonefish, when they take your fly expect a long hard run that may take you "into your backing".
Blind casting can take two forms. You can cast to places carp are likely to be and hope you are right. This is usually not a high percentage technique. More reliable is to cast to where you know carp are because you have tossed groundbait in that area. The groundbait not only attracts the carp and concentrates them in a relatively small area but it also gets them into a feeding mood, maybe even a competitive feeding mood. People who bait fish for carp know a great deal about groundbaiting and I suggest you consult some of their published information. In particular I recommend Modern Bank Fishing by Michael Keyes.
Gary LaFontaine reports watching trout in the shallows of a mountain lake. They would cruise along and suddenly change direction to begin rooting on the bottom and another leech would become trout fodder. It took him a while to discover how the trout knew where to root. It was a small puff of silt stirred up when the leech moved. He used this information to design the Bristle Leech -- a leech imitation that sits on the bottom but creates a puff of silt when retrieved. The Bristle Leech catches not only trout but also carp and the mechanism that triggers a strike in both fish would seem to be the same.
Bonefish anglers know that bonefish also look for puffs -- shrimp, crabs, and the like moving along the bottom of mud flats and creating a small cloud with each jerky move. A common technique is to cast in front of a bonefish, allow the fly to sink to settle to the bottom, and then give about a short pull on the flyline. The fly rises up off the bottom and creates the puff of silt. A bonefish, even some distance away, can see the puff and rush over for a meal (your fly).
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