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By Bobwhite
#229664
I've decided to branch out and get into carp.

We live on a the St. Croix River, and it has a lot of meandering sand flats with drop offs... and more importantly... a lot of carp. I duck hunt on it all the time, and often watch big schools of fish feeding in my decoys. In the spring when the bugs are emerging, I've watched them feed like trout. I've seen them rise to mayflies, caddis, even cottonwood duff. Okay... it's time, I want to get into it and try to wax a few carp-bottoms!

I need some basic advice. I've read through Carp Space, and it's been helpful (and fun), but I don't want this request to get lost in a big long thread.

I'll figure most of it out on my own, but it'd be helpful to hear some of your ideas. Without a lot of time on your part, can you point me in the right direction?

Line weight?

Leader length?

Tippet length and diameter?

Your top 12 fly patterns and sizes? Recipes would be a bonus...

A recipe for baked carp... just fuckin' with you!

Thank you... I'll let you know how we do!
User avatar
By Gaper's Pimp
#229669
A can of corn niblets and a nine-iron. That's all you need Bob.
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By Ramcatt
#229670
for my mudflat that is like 3ft deep

8wt
floating line
6ft level leader of 0x flouroflex plus
dark colored clousers twitched through the mud
By DayTripper
#229671
I only use three flies, pm me your address and I'll send you a sampler pack :cool

I like 12' for leader length. I just started playing with the SA 12' bonefish taper leaders, but normally just take about 4'-5' of 12# ultragreen maxima and surgeons knot it to about 7'-8' of 8#. Last year I used Orvis' bonefish taper wonderline all year for carp and liked it, but a 7wt or 8wt WF will work fine. I think like half of a 10wt DT line spliced into some running line- shooting head- would be the cats ass on an 8wt, but haven't come across a 10wt DT floating line yet.
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By Bad Fish
#229672
Line weight? In moving water I usually use an 8wt, lakes a 6wt. Kinda depends tho, a 9 pound carp on a 6wt can be a fun tug but if you don't want to fool around and feel like horsing them a little more, try an 8wt.

Leader length? Normal 9 footer is fine.

Tippet length and diameter? Just fish a 9' leader. 1 or 2x, sometimes 3x if they are being spooky.

Your top 12 fly patterns and sizes? Any.

The trick to catching a carp, in my humble experience, is to look for and target feeding fish - Rooting or surface eating fish and placing your fly on their nose. I've caught carp on Hoppers, Crawdads, Hair's Ears, Zirdle bugs, Zonkers, straight up basic BH Buggers, etc. If they are interested in eating, they'll eat whatever you put in front of them, like cottonwood duff.
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By Bobwhite
#229674
Pimp - I'll be sendin' you some Kentucky fried carp via media mail... what you and the childrens can't eat will make good bull-head bait.

Ramcatt - that's good, thanks. There's a ton of loon-shit-mud-flats with lot's of fish on them. I always thought carp needed longer leaders and lighter tippet... but not in the mud. That makes sense. Gracias.
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By Bobwhite
#229677
Thanks Bad FIsh and Day Tripper.

Much appreciated. I'm getting the sense that it's a lot like any (all) fly fishing; no pat answers... everything depends on the location and situation. Makes perfect sense.

Thank you.
By Willi
#229679
Bad Fish wrote:Line weight?

The trick to catching a carp, in my humble experience, is to look for and target feeding fish - Rooting or surface eating fish and placing your fly on their nose. I've caught carp on Hoppers, Crawdads, Hair's Ears, Zirdle bugs, Zonkers, straight up basic BH Buggers, etc. If they are interested in eating, they'll eat whatever you put in front of them, like cottonwood duff.

I spent alot of time futilely targeting "uncatchable" fish until I learned to look for and find feeding fish. Like you said, find a feeding fish, put a fly in front of it without spooking it and you'll get a hookup.

Willi
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By Bobwhite
#229680
Thanks Willi,

Sorta like calling ducks... call to the ones that want a place to land, and don't waste your time on the others.

Makes sense... thank you.
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By Long Haired Dave
#229683
The water I fish is a lot different that clear trout water, but where I fish, your leader and flies and all that doesn't make any difference. It's putting the fly ON THE BOTTOM in a circle about the size of a dinner plate and then crawling it through that space. (Obviously if they're eating on top that's where you want to be... but they spend most of their time with their nose on the ground.)

Carp are like cows, they graze, not ambush. A cow will never run 15 feet for a blade of grass, and a carp will not either... and they often won't move 12" for a fly. Your fly must be on the bottom, in the circle, and moving like an insect-- not like a clouser in a school of baitfish. There are exceptions. But your bread and butter is slow crawling a fly through them.

I never use anything smaller than 6# test and I usually hate to go below 12. I won't let anybody fishing with me use any line heavier than a 7 because of the sound it makes hitting the water. I personally use a 4 weight most of the time but my carp usually run 3-6 pounds and top out around 10. We just don't get bigger fish than that feeding shallow where I fish that often. You don't cast long distances either and the flies need to be quiet on entry so line size isn't a big deal. I get really close to my carp (I have to in order to present to them because I just can't cast that accurately from a distance and also because I can't see them) so I often overline. The 4 wt is 9' because that's just how I prefer all my rods regardless of size, but, I have a 7.5' TiCr-X that I love because it casts awesome but also because I get 1.5' more fly line out the tip for a short cast and it makes all the difference in the world. I often get close enough to the carp that it looks like you could dap for them... but you're really about 16 feet away and your arms just aren't long enough so a short cast is necessary.

You really have to dial in your presentation for carp. That doesn't mean riggin a bunch of weird ways or trying a bunch of different flies, I mean you have to fine tune the way the thing lands in the water (your presentation cast) and sinks (you might have to have a couple different weights on hand until you figure out what works best in your water) and mess with your lead and your twitch and watch the carp's reaction. You don't wade because wading is noisy, you waddle and glide by shifting your weight from one foot to another. You don't push water ahead of you (much) and you can't hear yourself move.

Honestly if you were to tie on like a 9' 10# or 1x leader and go to the uncommon carp site and get a "Beach Ball" and a "Crazy Dad" well a few of each you'd probably be able to catch carp over 99% of the world day in and out. Not that all those other flies won't work, but you'd have a heavy and a light and you'd be good to work on your stalking skills.
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By Bobwhite
#229718
Thanks Dave,

I appreciate the advice. This is going to be big fun... your description of fishing for carp sounds exactly the way I like to fish for trout; get close, figure them out, make the right presentation.

Funny thing... I have this sort of "click" in my right knee , but only when I'm moving real slow, and I swear it's spooked fish when I'm sneaking up on them. This is going to be fun... thanks.
User avatar
By Bad Fish
#229730
[quote="Long Haired Dave"]I get really close to my carp (I have to in order to present to them because I just can't cast that accurately from a distance and also because I can't see them) so I often overline.



I often get close enough to the carp that it looks like you could dap for them... but you're really about 16 feet away and your arms just aren't long enough so a short cast is necessary.



You don't wade because wading is noisy, you waddle and glide by shifting your weight from one foot to another. You don't push water ahead of you (much) and you can't hear yourself move. [/quote]


All of the ^^^^^ is great info, probably the most important info for stalking catchable carp posted yet.



I'll often walk the bank looking or rooters, when I see them I'll rudely interrupt their activities by walking into the water, stopping within hi-sticking distance of where the fish were feeding. I'll then just stand there, scanning for carp moving back in. Within a few minutes, sure as shit, they will start moving back to the very same feeding spot I just spooked them out of. So long as I don't move my feet they will be completely oblivious to my presence. Once a fish gets within hi-sticking distance, I target that fish and that fish only, even if there are a few others hanging around or beginning to move back in.



Watch this vid - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU9qR3E8-zw



The very first clip where you see waves is actually me walking into the water, spooking fish. All those waves are fish backs. Then you’ll notice how close the fish are to me that I’m sticking (kinda hard to tell because the vid quality is so crappy but if you look closely the darker spots are carp), especially the first fish I’m casting too. This fish rises because I pulled the fly out of its mouth, but I didn’t move and got 2 more casts in before sticking it. Notice how close my casts are, it’s just a little flick of the rod tip. You can see my fly plopping into the water and like Dave said, it has to be within a dinner plate sized area. Lastly, keep an eye on the bridge in the vid, I never once changed my location. I found feeding fish and I stuck to the same spot. Catch a fish, wait for a new one to move back in, catch it, etc.



I think carp are super hyper sensitive to vibration, especially vibrations on the river/lake bottom. I know guys that tried poling in lakes but went back to trolling motors and oars because the pole making vibrations on the lakebed seemed to spook carp much easier and at a much farther distance than oars/motor.



Moral of the story, be stealthy and have fun. Watching a carp eat your fly only a few feet away then exploding is just awesome.

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