It’s All About the Strike Zone

Earlier this summer one of Steve’s customers, about half way through a somewhat frustrating day, asked Steve to give his rod a throw and see what he thought about it. Steve grabbed the rod, looked out and threw at the closest carp. A few strips and a hook-set later and the rod was doubled on a carp. The customers reaction was how the did you get a fish with one cast after I’ve shown the fly to so many.  The fact was, that after endless opportunities, the customer had only put the fly in the strike zone to a couple fish.

Our effective zone for smallmouth on a hot bite may be thirty feet, for carp it is three straight feet in front of them. I like to picture an orange construction cone with the small end at the carp’s head, that makes a good reference for a three-demensional strike zone.

To be good at carp you must: 1) make a cast that doesn’t spook the fish. 2) place the fly in the strike zone.  3) give the proper presentation for the situation. 4) allow and possibly make them eat once their interested.

The best tip I can offer is to only have as long of a leader as you need to get the fly to the level of the fish. In anything less than three feet of water, I like five feet from the end of the fly line to the fly. Using the end of my fly line as a reference, that short leader allows me to know exactly where my fly is — when the end of the fly line is a carp length past the fish the fly will be right in front of their face.

michigan carp fishing

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