The most common question I get asked is, “What kind of flies should I use?” Carp are no different than any other fish.  You must use flies that represent food sources that are available to carp.  Carp feed on a variety of foods, including nymphs, aquatic worms, freshwater crustaceans, minnows, vegetation, and what is loosely termed “detrious.”

 The Wooly Bugger has always been my most consistent producers.  I almost always start with a Wooly Bugger because it is big so I no the carp are seeing it and I have faith in it. I have fished them in a variety of colors and sizes, with and without bead heads, they all seem to work well. The Bead Head Prince is also a consistent producer.  I like to fish them in larger sizes #12-#8

Other flies that work well include, Crayfish patterns, San Juan Worms, and oddly enough Bonefish flies. Most bonefish flies are tied to ride hook up so they don’t snag on the bottom.  This is an added benefit to the carp angler.  Plus with the eyes tied into the bottom they help push up mud and sand leaving a “puff” that seems to really get carp excited.

If you would like a selection of my most deadly flies check out my flyfishforcarp.com selection.

     All fly fisherman are gear freaks, unfortunately if you fish for trout your probably already have the necessary equipment.  Many of your trout flies will be successful in fooling carp.  Here is a list of recommended tackle.

    -Polarized Glasses:  Sight fishing to them is half the fun, a good pair of glasses will help a lot.

    -Fly rod:  A nine foot fast action 6, 7, or 8 weight rod.

    -Reel:  A reel with a good drag is necessary, with at least 100 yards of backing.  Unlike trout fishing you will see your backing on virtually every fish!

    -Net:  A big net can be a real help. 

    Most of the fly fishing I have done for carp has been in lakes.  I have seen some big carp at the bottom of rivers but have not targeted them.  Catching the carp up on the flats is what it is all about.  The first time you see six of them feeding in a foot of water, tailing, and slowly working there way towards you, you will understand why.  

    I like to find a lake or reservoir with clear water so I can see the fish relatively easily.  The best time of year around here is spring and early summer.  The carp move into shallow bays to feed and spawn as the water warms up.  You can find carp in the shallows all summer long, but later in the summer they are more difficult to catch because the moss is so thick it will foul your fly.  This may not be the case everywhere, but does seem to be problem for me.  

    Try to find carp feeding in the shallow water near shore.  Hopefully it won't be long before you find carp tailing or rooting around in the mud.  Once you find feeding carp the trick is putting the fly close to them so they can see it.  I like to strip the fly to give some action. When the carp takes the fly be sure to set the hook with a strip, not with your rod tip. This will increase your chances of hooking the carp, but also keeps the fly in front of the carps face if he missed it on his first attempt.

Good Luck!

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