Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Choosing the Right Carp Fly

Via In the Riffle:

Backstabber Carp Fly
Choosing the right carp fly is very important.  I prefer to choose a fly based on the conditions and not how the fly looks or it’s appearance.  Many fly fishers choose a fly based on looks and not by the properties the fly has.  Every fly acts different in the water, sinks at a different rate and moves differently depending on the material.  There are three main guidelines to follow when choosing the right carp fly.  First and most important is weight.  Some carp flies are heavy and others are light.  The wrong fly can easily be chosen if you ignore the weight factor.  Tungsten and lead eyes flies are great for deep water.  Carp need the fly on the bottom, so a heavy fly is need in deeper water.  A heavy fly in shallow water will spook every fish in the area and a light fly in deep water will never reach the fish.  Weight is the most important property in a carp fly.  Below is a rough list of different flies and when to use them.
Deep Water Flies (3+ Feet Deep)
Medium Depth Flies (1-2 Feet Deep)
Shallow Water Flies (1 Foot or Less)
Hula Damsel Carp Fly
The next thing you need to think about is what the fish are eating and what food is available to them.  Most lakes and rivers have crayfish and crayfish play a huge role in the diet of carp.  So crayfish go across the board as an effective pattern for carp.  The other food types can vary depending on whether the carp are in a lake or river.  Stillwater carp have very different feeding habits than river carp.  Stillwater carp feed heavily on aquatic vegetation and insects, along with other things that fall into the water (and of course crayfish too).  River carp feed mainly on crayfish, aquatic worms, leeches and some aquatic insects (though they are different than stillwater insects).  Stillwater carp eat a lot of damsel flies, callibaetis, cottonseeds, aquatic vegetation, minnows, eggs, seeds and just about anything that falls into the water.  Below is a rough list of the different flies for lakes.
Stillwater Carp Flies
Movement is also very important in carp flies.  Some carp flies are meant to be stripped/moved and others are meant to be eaten on the drop and not moved at all.  Flies that are eaten on the drop are tied with materials that move in the current and require little to no movement by the angler.  The materials themselves, such as rabbit and marabou, do all the moving for the fisherman.  Now, some are meant to be both and fish very well either way and can be used in both situations.  Below is a rough guideline.
Flies Meant to be Moved
Flies That Need Little to No Movement
Pay attention to these 3 guide lines: weight, available food and movement.  It will take the mystery of choosing the right carp fly for the situation.  There are many carp flies out there, but these are tried an true and have caught many fish over the years.  Keep in mind, that a good presentation is more important than any fly out there!

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