Based in the North-west of England I am very lucky to have some superb fishing on my doorstep and only a short drive from the house there is ample opportunity for catching a variety of coarse and sea fish.
I’ve been an angler all my life and a big part of my fishing has revolved around lure fishing – I’ve caught Pike, Perch and I’ve even been lucky enough to catch Zander and Catfish on lures abroad.
What’s this got to do with Carp I here you ask? Well, What if I told you that at the right time of year you can treat Carp like a predator and strip lures for them? To watch a Carp follow and turn on a Fly as it engulfs it before ripping the backing off is a sight to behold, Intrigued!?
As a schoolboy some years ago I was fishing a local canal for Pike, It was mid-summer and the canal was very clear. The clarity enabled me to watch my Rapala Minnow bait being twitched back at a healthy pace. To my surprise it wasn’t a Pike that followed and attempted to take the Lure that afternoon but a Common Carp of around 6lb’s, and with this image I bring you back to the present with my findings and captures over the last couple of years.
As I have gotten older I have maintained my love of lure fishing for Pike and many other species and in recent years taken up Fly fishing.
The ponds local to me are stocked with a good head of Carp and once again whilst fishing small soft plastics mounted on Jig Heads intended for Pike and Perch I received a follow from a Carp, This wasn’t a one off as it became a regular occurrence over the summer.
Slowly this started to make sense and my mind flashed back to memories I had from the canal all those years ago.
With a bit of research from the likes of YouTube I suddenly became aware of what anglers in other parts of the world were doing to catch their Carp and what really grabbed my attention was anglers from the U.S. and Europe and their use of the Fly rod, This led me on to buying great Carp books by the likes of Dan Frasier and Barry Reynolds.
Some of you may have witnessed Carp harassing fry in summer and blasting through their shoals devouring anything that happens to be sucked into that vacuum like mouth?
Here in the U.K. when we think of Carp fishing with a Fly rod, Pellet/Bread Flies, Nymphs and Buzzers are the usual patterns associated, However if you open your mind to how predatory Carp can be there is a vast array of patterns that will catch Carp, and on the right day stripping a lure can be just as effective.
My first lure caught Carp came on a warm summer’s day where I had taken the Fly rod with an array of floating patterns like G&H sedges’, Egg and Pellet Flies.
This particular day the Carp weren’t playing ball and I spent the morning chasing fish that were reluctant to take a bait off the top, insisting on sitting just under the surface. ‘Do I go home, persevere or try something else’!? I asked myself.
I reached into my jacket and took out my Fly box, I tied on a Sz 8 Pink Fritz Goldhead, A lure I had in my box from a previous session fishing for Rainbow Trout, and so I decided that if the Carp wouldn’t come to me I’d go to them and give them something they couldn’t miss.
I made several casts in the vicinity of cruising Carp stripping it back fast as to intercept the fish as they swam past. An hour or so passed with no luck until I noticed a Common Carp follow the lure in to the margin before briskly turning away at the last minute.
This gave me the confidence I needed to carry on and continued to cast out, stripping the lure fast and aggressively. This was to be the cast that changed it all!
As the Lure came into my sight a Common Carp swam straight for it, Head down, gills flaring. As I continued to strip the last few feet of Fly line the Carp turned on the lure, engulfed it and swam off at lightning speed. That Carp nailed the lure like a Pike or Trout with intent and aggression, Amazing!
All my captures have been in conjunction with using bright pink lures with lots of flash and although I have used other colours it’s been pink that’s worked best for me!
Interestingly, Although I have caught both Mirror and Common Carp stripping lures I have found the Commons to show a more aggressive behaviour often willing to follow more than once and naturally being more keen to follow in the first place.
The Tackle I use is a Greys 8wt coupled with a matching floating line and lots of backing on the reel. I find a leader length of around 5ft to be ample and I often smear this in Muscilin – I use a hook length smeared in Muscilin as I feel it stops the fly from sinking too fast and away from the strike zone when the lure is in front of a Carps face.
This style of fishing is something I am very passionate about and I feel that there is a lot of scope for people becoming more aware of the alternative methods out there.
For me its about having no rules and experimenting using different patterns and styles and ultimately, having fun.