Author Topic: Carp on the Fly  (Read 1394 times)

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Andy Coradeschi

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Carp on the Fly
« on: June 02, 2015, 08:34:04 AM »
Todd Oishi asked that I post up some info about carp on the fly, and I'm happy to do it.

I'm pretty much a nooby at fly fishing for carp, but I'll give you my thoughts and maybe there are some other members who can post their experiences as well.

Anyway, a buddy turned me on to a super top secret Los Angeles carp River this spring, and we have had a blast fishing there!

Here is the first carp I caught there - at over 28" it is the largest freshwater fish I've caught and quite a lot of fun on my 5wt:



Carp fishing is generally sight fishing and they super spooky. I've never Bonefished, but I'm told carp fishing is similar in style.

You sight the fish and stalk them. You have to cast quite a bit ahead of them or they'll spook, so you have to anticipate where they are heading. And they are almost always heading somewhere. Unlike trout which generally hold at a location where the food comes to them, carp cruise non-stop looking for dinner.

What I've seen is that they cruise in a pattern from location to location, and that pattern is repeated over the course of a couple minutes to an hour or more, depending on how large an area that pattern covers.

Carp also seem to have moods, and if they are not in an eating mood throwing flies at them is a waste of your time and theirs. If you see the carp tilted down, or see their mouth open up, etc., they are feeding and you have a shot. If they are just holding, or you spooking them, they generally won't eat anything.

And usually they only eat what's directly in front of them. Usually they won't deviate more than, say, 6" or so from their path for a meal. So lots of times I cast in front of and past them, and then drag the fly back into their path. But far enough ahead of them that they don't spook.

They spook differently from trout; when a carp is spooked it simply melts away, unlike trout which bolt away.

Carp are omnivores and eat just about anything, although they usually don't want to chase anything down.

The carp I've seen in LA's super top secret carp river are usually grazing on the soft algae on rocks, although some friends say they've seen them eat crayfish too. Sometimes they can be seen "tailing" with their snouts buried in the mud, digging for who knows what. I've read that in some locations carp eat seeds and berries that fall from trees and bushes into the water, so there are fly patterns which resemble these berries, etc.

In LA's super top secret carp river, I've only used one fly, and you can kinda sorta see it in my photo above. It was a variant of a fly created by Matus Sobolic called the Over Sleazy: https://www.facebook.com/SoCalFlyTying/posts/800659500020539

The variant I used was tied without the wiggly tail of the Over Sleazy.

I generally dead drift the fly right under the fish's nose, and am lucky enough to have a couple give it a taste. I like the fly because it drifts naturally and imo looks like an interesting and bite-sized tasty morsel for ol' rubber lips. I like the feel of the fly too. It's soft and full-bodied, such that the carp suck it up and I think they think it feels like something that they could eat, and not like something they should spit out right away.

This is important because it can be hard to tell if/when your fly is eaten, often you are going by instinct. A tilt of the body, a slight deflection or angle at about the time you guestimate your fly is on their dinner plate, and you set the hook.

When you do it right, all hell breaks loose. They may not be particularly fast swimmer, but with those shoulders they are bulldogs!

I caught my first carp on 4x, and considered myself lucky to land him, so I then switched out my tippet to 1x.

I happened to start fishing for carp during their spawning period, which is a crazy sight to behold. The spawning female ricochets around the river bed shallows surrounded by 10-20 of her closest male friends. This means about 150-250 lbs, maybe more, of fish careening through 6" - 12" of water. Water is splashing, fish are leaping, it's utter chaos in the lives of what are usually the definition of placid and deliberate fish.

What we found was that the fish in these spawning balls are generally not going to eat anything, however, the balls attract fish from far and wide and those that are not directly involved in the spawning ball do eat.

The first 2-3 times I carped I caught 2-3 fish each time, and had a blast.

Then about a month ago, I tried the river on a cloudy day with water that turned out to be high and off-color, and after about an hour of hunting I still had not seen a single fish. Whereas previously I'd have seen dozens.

Then I saw a fish jump on the other side of the river by a rock, so as a last ditch effort before I packed it in, I waded across the river to the rock.

I could not see anything in the water, but I had brought my 11' CZN 4 wt nymph rod, so I blindly "tight line nymphed" my Over Sleazy variant through the hole in front of the rock. I really had no expectations, but within a couple casts I hooked up with a nice carp!

After I landed it I went right back to the rock. When I tight line nymph for trout I can often pull multiple fish, sometimes 6-8, out of one hole. Would multiple fish be possible with carp too?

Well, within a few casts I hooked up again!

And after that one, another!

I think there was a spawning female circulating through the hole and bringing plenty of suitors with her, some of which were feeling a mite peckish.

Anyway, long story short, over the next couple hours, standing on the same rock, throwing the same fly, I hooked over 20 carp and landed 14.

I think that's an experience I'll probably never have again!

Best,

Andy


Todd Oishi

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Re: Carp on the Fly
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2015, 09:20:29 AM »
WOW!!! Thanks for taking the time to post this article, Andy!

This is very helpful and gives me a lot better idea of what to expect! Thank-you so much for taking the time and effort to post this for the forum members!

Cheers,
Todd
For me, the quality of a trout is not measured in inches or pounds, but rather by the journey and circumstances that allowed our paths to cross...

Andy Coradeschi

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Re: Carp on the Fly
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2015, 10:12:01 AM »
My pleasure Todd.

Growing up, I considered carp trash. But now having found out how difficult they are to hook and how big they get I think they are a treasure.

Especially when I can't get up to the the Sierras and fish for trout!

I think they're kinda cute, their expressions remind me of the kid book "A Fish Out of Water"






Andy

Janos Boda

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Re: Carp on the Fly
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2015, 10:27:27 AM »
MFFA members are going after carp on the Red River and other rivers in Manitoba regularly, I think this year carp is the species to catch and get a special trophy for the biggest one.

Anyway, last year I fished for warm water species on a river for a day and I landed several carp. The presentation was a bigger Brian Chan's style dark Booby at the point and an olive Bead-head Bugger as a dropper on type 3 and 5 lines. The carp picked up both flies, they were in aggressive feeding mood.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 11:02:04 AM by Janos Boda »

Andy Coradeschi

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Re: Carp on the Fly
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2015, 02:21:40 PM »
That is a big fish Janos!

Andy

Janos Boda

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Re: Carp on the Fly
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2015, 06:17:37 PM »
Oh no, the picture lies, I did not measure, maybe around 20". I think the trophy size starts at 30" in this Province and the Red River has tons of that size. We were going after trophy size Freshwater Drum and many carp came along. My friend was shocked catching them, he thought the carp is a bottom feeder and  would never take a fly.