The internet is full of instructions, but few will direct you how to successfully be a no-show at several backyard BBQs, miss two hometown basketball games, and yet maximize your alcohol consumption just the same. Fly fishing for carp can do that to a person.
Find a local park pond teeming with carp. These carp should be in a post-spawn feeding mode, heads to the floorboard and tails held high.
If you haven’t learned how to spot tailing carp yet, just remember that virtually every stillwater in suburbia has a high probability of holding carp. But if you think your chosen aquifer might be contaminated, don’t worry – carp are known to live in the nastiest places. If that’s not comfort enough then check for other wildlife. Ponds also hold ducks, and around this time of year there may be plenty of them. Ducks like bugs, and so do carp. This will all make sense soon, but for now spend your first day watching ducks while your friends catch big carp. Catch just one small one yourself to keep things interesting.
Those carp that aren’t tailing might be milling around just sub-surface, sipping on something microscopic (or at least out of your eyesight range). Don’t worry about them for now – you’re going to strip small leeches. Make them like #8s, with a bit of black marabou up front and a little purple or red tail. You want to want long and steady strips. Now a lot of the carp are going to spook when those leeches swim by, but every once in a while one is going to decide to pound it. These are the carp you want. After a while, you will loose all your leeches – some will get snagged on the bottom, while others will just get pinged the moment you set the hook on some pig. Then the rain will come, and you will decide to go home.
Go to the fly shop and buy more leeches. Then call the folks you are planning on fishing with the following day and tell them leeches are the ticket. Make sure those peeps are fly tying fanatics. They’ll talk smack about all the whiz bang creations they’re about to come up with, when you know it’s going to be a few mods to the standard wooly bugger. They’ll show up ready to do battle, and certain of their superior firepower.
Pray for another front to roll through, slowing down the carps’ feeding habits just enough that all leeches become totally ineffective. Regardless of your initial inclination that your colleagues would arrive for the bank robbery with paintball guns, everyone is now on an even playing field.
Go back to the same pond, for the third day straight. Since that rain has been passing by each afternoon, the water is now a little cloudy. And you have all these leeches that seemed to be working on day one, but aren’t anymore. You should throw those for at least a few hours. This operation becomes more effective if you loan your go-to carp rig to a friend, and pull out an aging 9-weight RPLX strung with a fat GPX line. You can now throw that leech a country mile, which will give you ample fly fishing satisfaction right up to the point the line hits the water and the tip starts to sink. Sinking tips won’t help you recognize the subtle strike of the Carpio, and that has the added benefit of convincing you that it’s not your fly choice but your equipment that is preventing you from hooking fish.
Back at step one I mentioned ducks. And bugs. Those carp lingering near the surface are very likely eating the same bugs the ducks are. All you have to do is
kidnap one of those cute baby ducks and pump it’s stomach like you would a trout run a seine over the water surface, and find out what’s cooking. Chronomids!
Go home, eat pizza, drink beer, and wait until next weekend. And don’t forget your nymph box.