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Guide for Sustainable Yellowfishing


January 2018
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On 702 Talk Radio

fly fishing for carp

Fly fishing for carp, Why I target carp on the fly

Yes I am one of those who enjoy fly fishing for carp.

Not too long ago I was standing at Trout Hunters in Krugersdorp looking intently into the brown muddy water and a well meaning Pap- Swaier (Conventional line fisherman) walked past and seeing my fly rod, he could not imagine that I was fly fishing for carp and tried to point me towards the trout ponds , he like most people

a) believed that fly fishing is all about Trout and
b) that Carp are not a legitimate fly target and are impossible on fly as they don’t fully understand the Carp’s eating habits, or how we do it.

Fly fishing for carp could in some cases be a paradigm shift of how we normally approach our fishing. Carp can be difficult to take initially, but trust me they do take a fly, and when you finally manage a good carp to the net you will never again look down on them. Most people I know who take their first carp just want to do it to do it again, and again, and again. The number of people joining our Carp clinics are testament to the growing interest in fly fishing for carp.

I believe given the right waters that this is one of our top freshwater game fish and are great fun to catch (When were you last shown the colour of your backing ? ). They are smart, picky, spooky, and put up an excellent fight when hooked. The best thing about them is that the chances are good that a carp lives within minutes of where you are sitting and reading this, no need to travel to some exotic destination.

Right now onto the how to part :)

Most of my carp are targeted in still waters so I will start there.
1. Sight fishing for carp.
Finding the carp up on the flats is ideal and if you can see them in a foot of water, tailing, you know that they’re feeding and that is secret number 1 for all fly fishing F.F.F. (Find Feeding Fish) maybe stating the obvious here but hey , doesn’t hurt. I am always on the hunt for find a lake or dam with clear water so I can see the fish relatively easily. The best time of year around here is late Autumn and early Spring before the rains muddy up the waters too much and as the carp move into the shallows to feed or 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 visibility is generally worse and some days I have even had to resort to chumming a golf course dam with pellets or bread just to locate the fish, the need to feel that tug can be that strong.

The best sight while you fly fish for carp, is as I said above to find carp feeding in the shallow water tailing in the mud as not all the carp you see cruising will be feeding. Once you find feeding carp the trick is getting the carp fly close to them so they can see it. I don’t like casting at the fish as I have often seen carp spook with the plop of a fly near their faces or because they have been flossed. So I cast in front of the fish and across and then use the lift and drag method to get the fly into the vicinity of their face and I like to move the fly to give some action. When the carp takes the fly be sure to set the hook with a strip as this keeps the fly in front of the carps face if he missed it on his first attempt. The take isn’t always obvious and it takes time to read the signals of either your strike indicator or of the carps body language but persevere it is worth it.

Carp flies found on me and in store are:

  • Bread flies
  • Carp Critters
  • Carp Kryptonite
  • Wholly Worm
  • Hornet
  • Swimming Damsel

One of the main things to know when fly fishing for carp, as with any other target species, is their feeding patterns. Carp feed on a variety of foods, including nymphs, aquatic worms, freshwater crustaceans, minnows, vegetation, and detritus. In other words they are opportunists and will exploit any food source, good news for us some days as that means just about anything should work if presented right , as we all know other days nothing will work. I once again like flies with movement, red or contrasting colours and also flies that ride upside down so I snag less, see the trouser fly on Google, you’ll get what I mean.

Gear needed while fly fishing for carp.
Polarized sunglasses are probably the most important piece of equipment as fly fishing for carp is very much a visual game. Even in dirty water the ability to detect clouds of mud moving in the water or the flash of a tail are vital.  Most of us use #6,#7 or #8 weight rods but at one venue we even go to #9 so we can match the fish available. Your reel needs a disc drag if possible, you know why!

I personally use a twisted mono leader when fly fishing for carp in either 10, 12 or 15 Lbs depending on my rod and the fish I am expecting. I find a surgeons knot works just fine when adding my tippet ( if I use tippet!). To attach my fly I use the Rapala knot a No-Slip Loop to allow a full range of movement to my fly. I have a large triangular collapsible net to land the fish but bear in mind the netting will take a hammering from their dorsal spine and will stink too after a while.

Other gear you might want to consider when fly fishing for carp is a landing mat or some other wet material to handle the larger fish while on land, Make sure you know the best practices on catch and release. This is especially key on still waters where you are sharing space with specimen anglers. These gents care a lot for their fish and seeing people fly fishing for carp and then handling them properly in their view can only be good PR and make for a peaceful co-existence.

A very good website that I am sure most of you are familiar with is www.flycarpin.com , there is tonnes of valuable in depth how-to’s on fly fishing for carp and fly patterns that we still have to play with.

We wish you many tight lines and hours of fun while fly fishing for carp, please get in touch with us should you require any additional information?

Written by Richard Simpkins AKA The Urban Fly fisher – Owner and Guide and Barista Extraordinaire of Urban Fly Fishers you can follow him at: @rasimpkins and Urban fly fishers at: @FlyFishingSA

Jan 30, 2014 | Category: News | Comments: none


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