When the temperatures rise in the height of summer and the trout fishing becomes difficult, fly fishing for carp can provide some welcome rod bending action.
The fish in the video was taken at Burton Springs Fishery in Somerset who actively encourage fly fishers to target carp when the trout aren’t playing ball.
Although the fish isn’t massive in carp terms, it was really good fun on a fly rod and I would recommend giving it a go if you ever get a chance.
Carp can be taken on all manner of techniques and flies. They will readily take natural offerings like nymphs and dry flies or can even be taken on lures such as blobs and boobies. One of the more popular methods is to get the carp feeding on the surface with dog biscuits then use a deer hair imitation biscuit to tempt the fish. The key to this particular method is to feed the biscuits little and often and really get the fish feeding confidently, almost competing for your offerings, before you cast your fly onto the water.
One thing to remember when you fly fish for carp is to take an unhooking mat to protect the fish when you have it on the bank. Also carry a decent size landing net as a lot of these fish just aren’t going to fit in your traditional trout scoop net!
Yesterday I had a few hours to kill and fancied wetting a line. Although I love catching game fish on the fly, yesterday I thought I might try for another species so decided to shoot down to Burton Springs fishery and try for a Carp and ended up banking little and large.
Down at Burton Springs they have just opened a new coarse lake for the pleasure angler with various species including Carp to around 10lb, ideal size for trying them on the fly. I made a quick call to Adam the fishery manager, he said there was space on the lake but as conditions were overcast with a blustery wind it maybe difficult to get them feeding on the surface. This didn’t put me off as there is always the Trout lake to fall back on if things didn’t work out with the carp.
On arrival at the complex I had a quick walk around the coarse lake and found absolutely no sign of a fish! Undeterred by this i still decided to give it a go so grabbed a rod and a bag of dog biscuits and made my way back to the lake.
Because the wind was up, even though the lake is quite small, I opted for a seven weight set up to give me a bit more control but before setting up I started firing out some biscuits on the surface to get the fish feeding. i fed two lines, one directly in front of me in open water and one to the left in a sheltered bay hard against a reed bed. After trickling in the feed for an hour, still no sign of a fish, only a Moorhen near the reeds wolfing down my free offerings!!
As there was no sign of a fish I decided to set up anyway and fish the margins with a buzzer under an indicator to see if I could pick up anything. First cast and the indicator slid away as the buzzer was on the drop so I quickly struck and was met by one of the smallest Perch I have ever caught, in fact if I had struck much harder it would have been flying past my ear!! It was still a fish though and while removing the buzzer from its top lip (not sure how it managed to get it in its mouth), I caught sight of some Carp moving on the far bank. These fish had started feeding on the biscuits after they had drifted right the way across the lake, this gave me hope so I changed my set up to a deer hair biscuit imitation and made my way around the lake.
Positioning myself behind some tall reeds for cover I put in a few more lose offerings, its important to really get the fish feeding confidently for this type of fishing as the fish are easily spooked and can refuse your imitation time and time again. A further 15 minutes of feeding and the fish were feeding but without any consistency so I decided it was now or never and carefully de-greased my leader and made a cast. Instantly my offering was met with a nosing by an inquisitive fish but no take, this happened again with another three fish and in a twenty minute period I only had one proper take which after a perfect strike, or so I thought, was met with no tightening of the line.
With the blustery conditions I decided that the presentation of the fly was not quite right so proceeded to trim down the underside of the biscuit fly so it sat lower in the surface film thus giving it more stability. The trimmed fly was recast out to the feeding zone and was instantly sucked down by a cruising Carp. I struck and instantly all hell broke lose! I realised after a strong run this was a good fish and adjusted the drag on the reel accordingly but the fish just kept stripping yard after yard of line.
After playing the fish for ten minutes my concern was that the landing net would not be big enough although I hadn’t seen it yet but could tell it was a big lump. Fifteen minutes passed and I got my first glimpse, a Common which must have gone double figures. Luckily Adam the manager had turned up and was able to land the fish for me, twenty minutes of arm aching fun followed by a beautiful 10 – 12lb Common Carp was on the bank beating my previous best on the fly by 6lbs!
After a break I had a few more casts but decided to call it a day as I surely wasn’t going to beat this fish but I will be back to try again another day……..when my arms have recovered!!