Convincing a carp
Finding fish is only half the battle when it comes to carp fishing. Convincing one to eat your fly can be pretty challenging, especially when conditions may be less than ideal. Even though we can't only go fishing when the weather and fish are at their best, I typically try to get out when the sun is high, skies are clear and the wind is minimal. This allows for optimal sight fishing conditions and makes locating a happy, feeding fish much easier.
Before you start casting, it is important to evaluate a few things first:
- What is the fish doing? If it is moving rapidly, suspending over deep water, or clustered together with other fish, it is not a very likely target. You want to find one by itself, either moving very slowly or rooting around on the bottom.
- What direction is it facing? If you can approach from behind or at an angle, you will have a much better shot at not spooking it. This may take some experimenting, but the closer you can get, the higher your odds are of hooking the fish.
- What is the bottom content? Carp are very sensitive to sound, so your approach must be silent. Walk very lightly, and avoid any gravel or cobble rock. You will be surprised just how easy it is to spook these fish.
Carp do not have the greatest eyesight. They rely more on their lateral lines and being able to detect movement over anything else. This means you need to put the fly within a fairly small radius of their mouth. It will vary depending on the primary forage, but if you make your cast beyond the fish, and then lift the rod tip and drag the fly into place, this prevents crashing the fly on top of them. I like to pick one side of the fish to present to, so when they do react and eat the fly, you can visually see them turn their head or flare their gills. The eat can also be more subtle, sometimes all they do is change position or give an extra tail kick.
The best way to hook the fish is with a strip set, especially if you are not 100% certain that they ate your fly. Often, if you maintain contact with the fly, you can give the fish an extra chance to eat if they didn't get it the first time. Try to not get frustrated. Sometimes, even when you've done everything right, the fish don't cooperate. That's just another reason that keeps me coming back for more. Cracking the code on this game is very rewarding and will make you a better angler in all aspects.
While carp fishing may not be for everyone, it is another great option for summertime fishing around here, especially if these drought conditions continue to persist in our region. If you're thinking of doing any saltwater fishing, carp are a great practice fish too. As always, swing by the shop or give us a call if you have any other questions on giving carp a shot.
If you missed part one you can check it out here
If you missed part two you can check it out here