Fly Fishing for Carp, why do people fish this way

Why Fly Fish for Carp?

Fly fishing for carp is one of the most enjoyable ways to catch a carp, one reason is the fact you’re using lightweight gear and you can feel every movement of the carp in the water. A 62LB Grass Carp was caught in Alabama and you can only imagine how great that felt on lightweight tackle.

Surface fishing in the warmer months for carp has always been a preferred method of mine. I have done a lot of stalking with a carp rod and dog biscuits trying to pick out that top feeder, however, even though it’s relatively new to me, fly fishing for carp has certainly won me over.

Red Plamer for Carp

Where do Carp Feed (surface feeding in warmer months?

Carp tend to come to the surface in the warmer months of the year. You can often find them slurping around the edges of a lake, sometimes in the debris or around lily pads. That said, carp in the hotter months of the summer can be found not feeding but simply sunbathing in the shallower depths. Most of this time they won’t be interested in feeding so don’t waste your time, wait until the sun starts to go down, carp will want to feed at some point of the day.

What do Carp Eat?

When surface feeding in a pond/lake they tend to rise to the surface to eat mayflies or summer berries that have fallen into the water from overhanging plants. If near civilisation, carp will feed off breadcrumbs that children have used to feed the ducks. Other natural foods that carp eat include; worms, insect larvae, algae, small crustaceans including freshwater shrimp and insects.

Best Flies to use for Carp Fishing

Bread flies best, berries, however, carp will take most of the flies we use for salmon and trout. People have had great success with weird and wonderful flies in various colours.

Tips and Tricks

Cast in front of a fish with minimal surface damage, if the carp is heading towards your fly then wait to see its reaction, if it heads away gently twitch the fly. If the carp bites then strike!

The Approach

Carp have sensors running down their spine, and any slight movement will make them spook. Tread very carefully when approaching the bank, make small and slow movements when casting and try to avoid being seen. Carp are very wary creators you have to follow these guidelines if you stand a chance of succeeding. The beauty with fly fishing is you can get the fly further than you could a dog biscuit with much disturbance to the water.

Playing Carp

As you can imagine, playing a carp on light tackle needs some skill and persistence. If you’re used to fishing for carp you will know they tend to head towards snags after being hooked. Play them firmly and use your existing skills to steer them away from these snags. Contrary to popular belief, you can land a carp relatively quickly on fly gear, if the carp is ready! A great indicator that a carp is ready, is to lower the net into the water when it’s near and if it’s ready it will go straight into the net, otherwise, it will make a dash for it. You will need to play the carp until it tires.


Fly fishing for carp has become popular across America, Canada and now Europe. There are more and more books and videos being produced so I can only imagine it will grow more over the next few years. The international Game Fish Association even keeps carp fly fishing records. It is also a relatively cheap way to get into carp fishing, there’s no need to expensive bivvies, bite alarms and other tactical gear. You can pick up a half decent fly rod and reel for next to nothing nowadays.

Let us know your fly fishing for carp stories.

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