It just might be time to give carp fishing its due.
Carp fishing has seen somewhat of a resurgence lately all across America. Carp are big business overseas, but here in America, they are still degraded daily as a junkfish.
Yes, it's true you can't really eat them, although some do. Yes, it's also true that they are also actually labeled as non-game fish in most, if not all, fishing indexes, but there is one thing all those books, guides, and fishermen are missing; carp are an incredible rush to catch!
Luckily for us in America, carp are found just about anywhere there is water. There are multiple species of carp, but the common carp is one of the most readily available fish of the species. They are out there waiting to punch you in the face and give you a sore back as we speak.
As a matter of fact, I would be willing to bet a large sum of money that carp are probably swimming in great numbers within a few miles of wherever you are right now. Just take a walk down a river bank and you will see them yourself.
When it comes to catching carp, carp sure don't discriminate what they want to eat. They are always cruising for an easy meal and will chow down on bugs, berries, crawfish, minnows, corn, dough, liver, worms, or about anything else that they can fit in their mouth. Just put your lure in front of them, and more than likely, you will be in a for a battle.
When carp fishing in rivers, search for deeper holes in the afternoon, or shallow flats in the mornings and evenings. If you are carp fishing with kids, chum some corn in a hole, wait about 20 minutes, sink a hook with bait and just hold on. Even small carp are about all a young kid can handle.
If you are looking for more of a challenge, go at them with a fly rod. Carp quickly turn from a junk fish into "golden ghosts" that require expert-level casting, expert-level stalking, and expert-level presentation skills just for a single opportunity. When that opportunity arises, you may never go back. At the very least, these fish will rise to the top of your current fishing preferences.
I would recommend a 6wt rod with a good backbone. Also, more importantly, is a reel with a great drag. They will take you down to your backing and if your reel isn't up to par, you will suffer the consequences. With this in mind, look for a Taylor reel.
Thank me later.
When carp fishing, any flies you choose can be effective, however, flies that can hit the bottom quickly tend to get the most attention. Your local fly shop can point you in the right direction, but if you are a do-it-yourselfer, crawfish patterns will pay off dividends.
As far as timing, I usually find the best carp fishing action to be right in the dead middle of the afternoon. With the sun high in the sky, it is awfully hard for carp to hide. Make sure you take care of yourself while out there on the water in the dead of summer too. Wear sun protection, like the Huk Gear worn in all the photos, just to be safe.
Summer is just getting started and there is plenty of time out there to find new water and maybe even your new favorite fish. Just keep an open mind and don't get discouraged if you find catching carp on the fly isn't as easy as it sounds. They don't call them golden ghosts for nothing.
Photos by Brad Smith and Mike Malchow