By JC Weeks
A couple years back a friend of mine introduced me to fishing for Carp on the fly. I must say that I have been hooked ever since those days speaking with him about these fish in the shop. Since then, I have transitioned to a full fledged Carp angler, chasing them whenever I possibly can. When not looking for pike or musky I love to chase these golden eating machines with a fly rod. When I tell folks about fly fishing for Carp, I am usually met with a series of funky looks. To some, Carp are viewed as a garbage fish. I for one really don’t understand the negative stigma towards these fish. In conjunction with the Fishwest #yearofthecarp celebration, I figured that I would share my top 3 reasons to chase Carp on a fly rod for those of you who are still on the fence.
1) Carp Are Everywhere – Anyone who knows the Utah knows that fishing for Trout is King! There are a bunch of excellent trout fisheries in this state. These fisheries experience great hatches throughout the year and the fishing can be lights out. With that being said, these waters tend to get crowded, extremely crowded! On the flip side, Carp live in urban areas. I can think of over a dozen places to go look for Carp within 15 minutes of work or my house. In the state of Utah they can be found in a multitude of rivers, small ponds, and reservoirs. The nice thing is that these fish don’t need the most pristine water in order to survive and flourish. Chances if you go looking for bodies of water in around golf courses, or housing developments, you will find Carp. Furthermore, you will probably be the only one fishing for them if you find them. I would urge you to go out and explore for them! Your exploration may take you to some weird places, but it will be worth it if you find fish!
2) Carp Grow Big – Like I said earlier, Carp are eating machines. They grow to be extremely large. A majority of the fish I see around different fisheries range from anywhere from 6 to 20 pounds. There are times that I run into fish larger than that. Catching a double digit fish on a fly rod is something that should be cherished. Needless to say Carp fight hard as well. They have large tails and can take off in a moment’s notice. Unlike most trout fishing your backing is a regular sight if you are lucky enough to hook one of these on a fly.
3) Carp Are Smart – Carp are extremely smart fish and are quite difficult to trick with a fly. The most successful tactic for fishing these fish is by sight. Just like in a majority of saltwater fly fishing scenarios you need to see the fish in order to have the greatest chance to fish them. Carp exhibit a variety of different behaviors on any given day and with practice angler can determine which fish will give him the best chance to hook up. These fish do not always take a fly freely; it is up to the angler to entice the fish to eat. I cannot count how many times I have seen a Carp act like a Hoover vacuum and eat everything in sight, only to see them say no to my fly offering. Understanding how to manipulate the fly in order to get the grab will translate into many different avenues of fishing. Fishing for different species, Carp especially, will make you a better trout fisherman in the long run.
Chances are anyone who turns their nose up at chasing Carp on the fly have most likely never done it. I for one like to chase Carp because it is a new and exciting challenge. I can promise you that you will be glad you did.