Carp

Discussion in 'Warm Water Species' started by Rob Zelk, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. Rob Zelk

    Rob Zelk I swing, therefore i am.

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    Here's one for fellow carpers...

    I'm wondering if you all have had similar experiences when rating the fight of these fish during the beginning and end of the season. From personal experience, I've found that the carp i hook in spring have had much less fight in them as the same size fish hooked in the end of summer. My guess is that their metabolism is slower from the winter and just takes time basking in the hot shallows to gear these fish up. Any thoughts?
     
  2. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

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    Carp are quite the fad these days as you know. This is a good question for someone planning a carp trip.
    A good trip would be to the Great Lakes. This is a developing fishery and I think there is plenty of room.
    For some reason unknown to me, Eastern carp are huge compared to ours. 40 to 60 pounders are not uncomomon.
    I hate carp (an old childhood prejudice) but a fifty pound fish well spooked in skinny water sounds like something I might crap my pants over regardless of the fish.
    Bob, the Gimme some big carp and a big package of Depends please.:rofl
     
  3. Teeg Stouffer

    Teeg Stouffer Fish Recycler

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    I'm not sure about them being lethargic fighters in cold water. I used to fish for them as soon as the ice came off the lakes back in Iowa, and those fish were in really cold water - but they fought like mad.

    Bob's right though - they do get huge in some drainages. I've seen dead ones on shore that have gone 60 pounds easy at a particular reservoir that I used to fish. The biggest fish I've ever caught was a carp, at 30 pounds. Came from a shallow, muddy river just before dark.

    Teeg.
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    You can be a fish recycler, too. Let 'em swim.
    www.recycledfish.org
     
  4. dude_1967

    dude_1967 Chris

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    You know,

    In Europe carp are a sought after game fish, but still mostly by gear fishers. They are lured in with all kinds of chum and bread crumbs. I sometimes get them by chance in local rivers and I must admit they are simply strong.

    Huge carp in clear, highly-fished streams are wise to the ways of the angler. They can be hooked with stealth and sometimes in cloudy water. In clear water, they go for tiny stuff maybe even so unobtrusive as a size 20 bassie.

    I find that carp in my area are very strong fighters in the late spring before the heat of the summer de-oxygenates the water.

    Bob, don't you mean 'carp your pants'?

    Sincerely, Chris.
     
  5. msteudel

    msteudel Mark Steudel

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    For those uninitiated in the ways of carping ... how does one target carp?
     
  6. Andy

    Andy Workin in a sweet mullet

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    very carefully......

    DreamChaser took me "carp stalking" one hot day this summer in Eastern Washington (105 degrees at least)

    there were hundreds of them milling about in the shallows, but by the time we could get into a good casting position, they spotted us and moved out of range.

    RZ (dreamchaser) did manage to hook one fish, he threw a stonefly nymph on a floating line with a long leader out in front of some fish that hadnt spooked yet, and kinda bounced it REALLY SLOWLY off the bottom, until one of them ran across it, and sucked it up. (it was actually foul hooked, but we'll leave that part out) But according to RZ, that is how you do it. I didnt even get close to hooking one. I think you get about one cast (no false casts) and it has to land softly and in the perfect spot. You cant let them see you, and you cant move or they will see you.
    The whole experience gave me a new appreciation for these fish. I used to catch them on worms way back in the day, and put holes in their head with a .38, but never again will I do anything like that. I had previously tried to catch them out at lake tapps (for years), but never had any kind of strategy, just went to the shallows and threw buggers and nymphs across the flats, never got a hook-up.

    Andy
     
  7. clockwork

    clockwork New Member

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    the primary way to catch them fairly from what ive heard is flies that imitate cottonwood seed. apparently they are extremely difficult to catch with flies but they will take these imitations off the top when there is alot of seed in the water. never caught one on the fly myself but few fish if any fight as well. ive seen 40 pounders in Lake washington over by Boeing a lttile intimidating for my 5wt. i hear they like big weighted treble hooks the best, but you didn't hear that from me.

    as much as i think the columbia/Snake river systems would benefit from a bounty on these things, in reality these fish are some of the coolest and most remarkable. i don't think there is a tougher or hardier fish. plus studies have found them to be of the smartest fish. couldn't bring myself to hurt one although im sure they are a major ecological problem to the native fish. -ryan
     
  8. sjterry

    sjterry Sr. Lurker

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    Although I have never fished for bone fish, I believe from what I have read that fishing for carp is similar. Success depends on stelth, a soft cast, and a little luck in leading the fish far enough out so that your fly has a chance to sink so that you can twitch or jig it as the fish gets near. They are very sensitive to movement and/or sound/vibrations. Fishing from a pram or low draft boat in shallow water on some of the larger lakes can be a great way to get to the fish without spooking them. Anticipating the movement or feeding patern of the fish is key. Most nymph patters will work, but I have not found anything that is a sure bet.

    As for fight. The allways pull like hell. The bigges carp I hooked took a size 10 hears ear in a shallow eddy on the Snake. I would guess it ran between 25 and 35 pounds. I had a 8 Wt. rod with 2x tippet. The fish stripped me to my backing and snapped me off when I palmed my reel. It never even slowed down.

    Crab Creek can be a good place to fish for carp between 2 and 8 pounds. They are tough to land though because they fight so hard and there is offten a great deal of weed growth. Fun fish but they don't rise to a dry very well.:bawling
     
  9. Teeg Stouffer

    Teeg Stouffer Fish Recycler

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    They can definitely be fair hooked.

    Just like any fish, different techniques work for them at different times.

    Cottonwood seeds work great when they're sclurping, but that's not often. But when it is, you can find hundreds of them doing it all at once, and it's a frenzy.

    Most of the time they're vacuuming the bottom, and they're going to pick up something that seems interesting.

    Since they eat any organic material (omnivorous) they could pick something up that they don't even think is a bug.

    There are a bunch of different varieties of Carp, too. There are some species, and even common carp in highly oxygenated water will do this - that become piscivorous. I've had them nail a variety of minnow-imitating baits retrieved slowly.


    :professor Viva la carpie

    Teeg.
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    You can be a fish recycler, too. Let 'em swim.
    www.recycledfish.org
     
  10. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    Like bonefish, carp are often hooked with corn in muddy rivers. Oh wait... nevermind. Like bonefish, you may sight fish them while tailing. Occasionally in college some friends and I would partake in drink and smoke and hook dozens upon dozens- they pull like the dickens. Once I landed an unfortunate carp... some unsavory character had rigged him up with a 20 oz plastic Mountain Dew bottle attached to 3ft of fishing line. Who knows how long he'd been dragging around this large green bobber?! No message in the bottle, and I set him free to slurp bottom once again.

    I've seen carp shot with .22's, thrown 200ft+ off bridges, and blown up with m80's. For this I might rot in H E double hockey sticks. While I don't see them on the westside or travel to target them, they are are a worthy fish. They don't deserve to be hogged in on a Zebco 404 with corn bait and blown up with firecrackers. I bet they get more $$ than pinks or chums off the dock these days!
     
  11. Fish Stick

    Fish Stick New Member

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    Um, do you have any good cottonwood seed patterns? Maybe marabou pond scum flies? ...So sorry, I do jest.

    Actually, what fly would you use? I've caught a bunch of G-lake trout, but they're not half as big as the carpsters. Someday, I may even hook a Tiger Muskie, but I'm pretty sure I'll wet my waders if I do. I'd of course provide a full report.

    DP
     
  12. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    On with the tiger muskie/carp thread... right around the same time I was harassing carp in the Mississippi during college (years after the youthful firecracker indiscretions) I fancied myself a beat poet style urban fisher. Port wine rough fish. We had many urban lakes, nothing like Greenlake, they were cold and clear mostly, but like Greenlake stocked with everything under the sun. A local at my bait shop had been after the tiger's for a few years. He eventually hooked and landed the state record (at the time, late 80's), 33lbs I think, and carried to the grocery store two blocks down the street to weigh on the meat scale (certified). Classic! I think he got it on a big chub minnow and bobber near a bridge drop off channel where the tigers would hunt. Back in those days tigers didn't get the attention like the real strain native muskie in the larger lakes, they were introduced to eat up the over population of perch and sunnies in the smaller lakes.
     
  13. Tightline

    Tightline Brian Perry

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    Ahhhhh... the Golden Ghost. The freshwater Bonefish. Until you catch carp on a fly rod, don't knock it. You'll only eat your words later.

    As a response to the original question. They are much more active in late summer, because this is when they are spawning. Could it have to do with all those extra hormones? Could be ;)

    :dunno
     
  14. tyeechuck

    tyeechuck Member

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    I have to agree crap are great fun. Most of the carp I have caught were on small black mohair leeches. But I did have one that I lost on a dry. As mentioned earlier they are omnivors. When visiting the east coast a few years ago I was walking along New Jersey's Passaic River in it's tidal zone. The Passaic is best known for it's hatch of bloated bodies planted in the river by the family and friends of Tony Soprano. This warm June day I saw rise rings under an overhanging mulberry tree. In June most fruiting trees have a "June drop" a natural thinning process. Below the tree rising were carp eating each berry as it hit the water. I went that night to a old fishing buddy's house and we tied up pink and gray spun deer hair. Dead drifts didn't get much intrest. Presentation was everything Finally saw the the fly had to be splated on the water as if it just fell. The take was not subtle and the fight was short and hard. The light trout rod that I borrowed with it's light tippet wasn't really enough. Here in Washinton I usually use a 7WT.

    Jim
     
  15. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

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    For a primer on carping, pick up a copy of Carp on the Fly. I'm not sure who the authors are but they are based out of the Denver area.

    I got curious about carp a few years ago but didn't fish for them until this past summer/fall in Wyoming. Western WA is not prime carp country. I think you need a more arid climate and large reservoirs with extensive shallows. If you find a large group of carp on the feed (tailing), they are not difficult to catch. My best fly is a #8 olive seal bugger weighted to sink quickly. Stealth is the key to getting close enought to cast, but all it takes is getting your bug within a couple feet of their face and giving it a little twitch.

    Sight casting to 10+ lb cruising fish is awesome. A 6wt with floating line + 100 yds of backing is all you need.

    Rod:beer2
     
  16. WT

    WT Member

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    Acording to my observations and the writings of Reynolds, Befus, and Berryman in the book Carp on the Fly, carp are spring spawners. In the Basin they spawn right around the general lake opener, late April.

    This is one of the best articals on the subject, its by Dave Whitlock: http://www.flyfisherman.com/midwest/dwcarp/index.html

    Here is a report from last summer:

    I had one of my best days fishing last Thursday. Being new to fishing the flats for carp I am normally content to land one fish, I guess I was seven times as content that day. Thats right I landed seven carp.
    Here follows some things I learned on the flats recently.

    #1. Accuracy is paramount. It way better to cast the fly right into the *zone rather than casting past it and stripping the fly into the carp's field of vision.
    *I figure the "zone" to be an area in front of the fish that is a half circle with a two foot radius, give or take.

    #2. You will rarely, if ever feel the take. Carp have very sensative lips,like prehensile appendages. A carp could untie the fly from your tippet with said lips and you would never know.

    #3. Never second guess yourself as to when to set the hook. If you're thinking, "Did that fish just tip onto my fly?" its too late. You need to be waiting to set, for the carp to give you an excuse. Something like a twist, a tip, a weird flash in the water, or a puff in the mud is a good excuse to set the hook. Maybe he's been hovering in the vicinity of your fly for too long, if so set the hook.

    #4. When a carp takes a fly its not an anomaly, they really eat many of the same things that trout and bass eat. Stick to it, catch a couple of fish and gain some confidence in your ability.

    #5. Carp like crawdads. My best pattern has a peacock herl body, palmered hackle and rubber legs. It looks sort of like a crawdad.

    #6. Carp pull really hard. Its not the dynamic battle of a rainbow or the frantic fight of a cutt, its more like the unrelenting pull of a foul hooked Amtrack. Sometimes they take off like a rocket and other times they just slowly swim away despite your highest drag setting. Either way chances are good that you are going to see your backing.

    #7. Site fishing for carp on the flats is a blast. It involves stalking, stealth, an accurate presentation, and fish playing prowess. Mostly though it just kicks ass.

    Well there you have it, the depth of my carp fishing knowledge, take it for what its worth.

    To answer the first question I have to say that the only time I noticed a difference in their fisht was during the hottest part of summer, they seemed a little lethargic.

    WT
     
  17. Mike Etgen

    Mike Etgen Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

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    New River Mike

    "Carp pull really hard. It's not the dynamic battle of a rainbow or the frantic fight of a cutt, its more like the unrelenting pull of a foul hooked Amtrack."

    What a great description! When I was fortunate enough to hook a couple this summer while fishing with wrench, I had the same thoughts, but not nearly as well expressed.

    They sure made a believer out of me...


    :7
     
  18. Shakes

    Shakes New Member

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    WT,
    I have to jump in on the carp thread because it is one of my favorite fish on a fly. I fish them much the same way I do for bonefish. Mater of fact, most of the time I actually use bonefish flies, without the eyes for less weight. Carp are very finnicky eaters. They will eat crustaceans(shrimp and snails), aquatic worms, seeds(willow, and berries), and even tiny midges. When setting the hook on a carp, never lift your rod until you feel the fish in your hands. If you pull the rod up hard and the fish isn't there, then 9 out of 10 times you have spooked the fish. If you just give a little pull of the line, then you definitely know wether the fish has eaten the fly or not. If not, then just let the fly reset to the bottom for the fish to find it and give the fly a little pull for attraction. Just my two cents on hooking the freshwater bonefish.:professor
     
  19. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    Carp have been very frustrating to me, but after a lot of reading and time on the flats, I started to get some consistent results last summer on the Lower Columbia ponds.

    I learned from the authors of Carp on the Fly that I had to ignore the giants basking on the surface. They are in some zone of piscatorial bliss without of worldly desires. I ignore the shoals of carp basking in the shallows, although sometimes I can cast in to shoals of hundreds and find one that hasn't fallen asleep. Ignore the cruisers moving steadily through the flats on the way to parts unknown. Your fly is not going to stop them from their unknown mission. But be watchful for a cruiser that pauses to nose the bottom. That's your chance to make an accurate cast on his nose and get a take.

    I found that I spent a lot of time standing motionless, leader in hand, waiting for the right fish. Not very aerobic. But I didn't want to spook any of them by casting to low percentage fish. I'd wait until I'd see a fish pause and but his nose down, tail up. If the fish continued in his feeding pattern to make a little puff of mud, and I successfully make a cast within a few inches of his nose, within the mud puff, it was just like Jim Teeny's boast regarding steelhead: "If I can see them, I've got them!"

    I continued to fish the carp woolly, the fly that looks like a griffith's gnat on steroids. It doesn't look like anything else in particular, but it lands softly, and sinks quickly enough. I've been wondering lately that if carp are such an omnivore if they actually like the taste of feathers. Maybe feathers are something they eat and a palmered fly is actually more like bait fishing than we think. I noticed last summer how each evening canadian geese came in to the same beaches that were used by the carp in the morning. I had this idea that the carp might be feeding on goose droppings, so I tied some goose poop flies. They were simply a couple inches of skulpin wool about 3/16 in. in diameter, tied on with olive thread and a few strands of krystal flash. Didn't work. I went back to the carp woolly.
    http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/gallery/data/537/100568Carp_Wooley.JPG

    I liked Shakes explanation of setting the hook. Ripping the fly back without connecting can unsettle the whole flat. I remember one large carp at Celilo last year I tightened up on, and levitated up off the bottom. The fish was confused, but not really concerned until his back broke the surface. Suddenly he decided that he didn't like it, and blew through my 8 lb tippet. After that I decided to go no lighter than 12 lb.

    Watch out for the spinning reel and don't get popped by the handle!

    President-for-Life
    Moclips Surf Club
    Driven by Irrational Exuberance!
     
  20. WT

    WT Member

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    Shakes,
    Good point about setting the hook. Even if you don't spook the fish with and aggressive set your fly is so far out of play that it may as well be out of the water. The strip set you described works well but it is still a little counter-intuitive to me, my reflex is to raise the rod tip. I'll work on it next year.
    WT
     

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