Although for many, perhaps due to lack of knowledge, fly carp fishing is not attractive enough, for others it can become the most addictive fishing and it is that fly fishing of these large specimens that exceed two weight figures can be a challenge for any fisherman, even for the most experienced.
When we talk about fly fishing big wild carps, we are talking about one of the most demanding and technical fishing of all that we can find, and that is that these fish possibly have one of the highest alert levels that we all can face, sometimes making things very, very difficult, even despairing the most experienced fisherman.
Of course, Spain is one of the paradises for fishing, since it has some of the most famous reservoirs in the world for fishing these large specimens, in addition, it has a great fly fishing culture and optimal conditions for this fish. We can practically fish them throughout the year, although the best months to do so go from the end of February to October, being May, June, July, September and October the best and most productive.
If there is something that this type of fishing has is that it is a very complete fishing since it requires the fisherman to know both, the habits of these fish to be able to locate them in the different months of the year, as to know how to move along the banks of these reservoirs to approach them close enough to be able to put the fly with precision and delicacy, since these large carp fish get scared very easily and any noise both outside and inside the water can make them detect us and it would be impossible for us to present our fly even once, something that can be quite frustrating. If we add to this the large doses of adrenaline that cause fights with these large specimens sometimes even spending 30 minutes, without doubt this type of fishing will delight any fly fisherman, even the most demanding, not in vain the one who tries, repeats.
Fly fishing of big carps is a mostly visual fishing since we will walk through the reservoir looking for them along the banks, areas of seaweed, recycled with the bottom of mud, etc… Once they are located a game begins in which stalking, approaching and our positioning towards them will play a fundamental role, since it will be a very high part of our success or our failure. These fish usually give us second chances and at most we will have a couple of attempts to place the fly in the perfect place. According to the conditions of the bottom and behavior of the fish at that time we must face one strategy or another to get the attention of the carp or make our imitation work in the right place where she is feeding.
Equipment for carp
For this type of fishing we usually use rods that go from number #6 to sometimes even to the number #10, the most versatile rod line being #7 or #8. The reels that we use must be reels with a good backing capacity and a good axle since we will put them under a lot of pressure during the fight. Something very important is that it has to have a very powerful brake, not in vain sometimes some of these larger fish can get us to get even more than 100m of backing, we must take into account that they are a very strong fish and that they will try to look for all kinds of obstacles in their escape. Depending on the conditions of the day we will use more or less long fluorocarbon leaders that will go from 10ft to 18ft including 20ft to which we will attach a 0.30mm, or 0.35mm tipets depending on the area of the reservoir that we are going to fish. You also need good polarized glasses to be able to locate them underwater and a cap.
Something that we must take into account is also that we will face long fishing days in which it is not uncommon to walk more than 10, 15 or 18 km in a day, with temperatures sometimes above 30 degrees, therefore we must carry a good backpack where we can carry a large fishing punch, a good amount of fresh water, some food and everything we may need. Personally I also like to take a spare reel with a different line in case the conditions of the day suddenly change and it is necessary to use lines with a more aggressive or lighter profile, in addition to that a spare rod in case we have any accident with the one we are using and if it happens far from our base camp.
Fishing techniques for carp
Fishing techniques for large carps can vary greatly depending on the behavior of the fish, the conditions of the reservoir or the time in which we are. In general, when these fish exceed certain sizes, they can become true predators and it is not uncommon to see them with the most aggressive behavior by hunting down all that moves.
Next we will detail some of the most typical situations that we can find with these fish. When we find the reservoir without any air, very sunny days, very clearly and very clean waters we must prepare for a more technical fishing and these fish will usually have a much more distrustful behavior, and as a good friend says these days you must be like a cat. For this type of conditions, I usually use lighter flies that sink very slowly, less aggressive floating lines of lower numbers than those marked by the cane and quite long basses.
For example, one of the equipment that I use frequently for this type of situation is a Guideline LPXe 9´6 ft # 8wt rod or the 9 ft # 7 Elevation rod with both I usually use a Guideline Experience line number #6 and low fluorocarbon between 15ft and 20ft finished in a 0.30 mm type of fluorocarbon.
The presentations of our flies in these cases should be as subtle as trying to not let the fish feel or see our fly fall, for which we can make longer casts ever on the fish, exceeding the carp position by several meters and then pulling, dragging our fly over the surface and then stopping to let it deepen in the place we want. Usually the carps when they are feeding tend to take a path that is where we should place our imitation and move it with one or two subtle pulls to get the attention of the fish when it is half a meter from it or less or just leave it there until the fish finds it and sucks it in.
Another of the conditions that we can find are days with a lot of wind where normally the fish are usually more confident and aggressive, although the difficulty to see them will be greater, but our approaches will also be easier. Normally in these conditions we will find the fish on the banks where the air hit us in the face, something that makes our fishing sets more complicated, in these conditions I usually use somewhat heavier flies, shorter leaders and lines of the same numbering rod or above being my favorite the floating Guideline Pike, a line I can cast without problem, even when having a lot of air against. In these circumstances, the big carps are usually eating upside down where the water is more stirred up in the air, almost always leaving their tails in sight, something that we will use to locate them. Perhaps the most effective technique in these cases is to throw our flies to one or other side of the fish, trying to locate its head depending on the position in which we can observe its tails, exceeding with our set its position two or three meters, let our fly deepens to almost the bottom and come picking up very slowly until we feel how our line stops or we see how they start to get tense and move somewhere, at this point we will nail with decision.
Another of the very typical situations that we encounter when we fly fish big carps is to find them in somewhat deeper areas and away from the shore eating and removing the bottom alone or in groups of several specimens, perhaps this is one of the most propitious situations and maybe easy to fish, since the only thing we have to do is either drop the fly over the cloud by throwing a little beyond it and let it deepen by paying attention to any movement in our line leader always keeping some tension, but without pulling it. We can also cast crossing the dirty water cloud we are seeing three or four meters away from it, let the fly deepen to the bottom and begin to pick up very slowly and continuously until our line tenses or detects the bite. Faced with this type of situation, intuition plays a fundamental role to know more or less where our fly is and thus be able to make a more effective fishing.
Flies for carp
The flies that we will use will depend on the situation that we are in each moment or place of the reservoir that we are going to fish. The sizes of the hooks will normally go from number #6 to #12 always mounted on very resistant hooks and in different weights and colors that we will use depending on the conditions of the reservoir, fish behavior, water clarity and the type of fishing that we are going to do at that time being able to be giving more movement to our flies or doing a much more static fishing with them.
Here I leave some models that usually give very good results and with which you can cover all kinds of situations.
To fish in somewhat deeper areas or high air situations with more murky waters, we will use flies with diabolo eyes or larger chain eyes and more striking colors.
For situations of very clean waters and very sunny days on the contrary we will use lighter flies with smaller chain eyes, of more natural colors and that have enough movement by themselves to be able to do a more static fishing if the situation requires it.
Author: Javier Peña.
Photography: Eris Prado and Javier Peña.