Carp Like It Nice and Quiet — Part 2

This series started with Carp Like It Nice and Quiet — Part 1. Where I went on a rant after another frustrating day of trying to guide people into carp on foot.

Scouting for fish is NOT a knee deep gallop through the water. This approach ends with few fish seen and no fish landed as all of the good and happy carp move into deeper water past the limits of your vision. Instead you need to scout on dry land, only entering the water if absolutely necessary. Then stand quietly in one spot and watch for 5 to 10 minutes, stay as shallow as possible.

Ok, we found some fish. For new anglers I like to break approaching a group of carp into three goals: 1) Approach within casting range with the carp in a normal calm state. 2) Patently wait for good casting opportunities that spook no fish. 3) Catch a carp.

Successfully approaching carp in the shallows is far from impossible and is actually easy, it just takes a plan and patience. Putting a plan together starts by answering two questions: 1) Where is the perfect spot for targeting these fish. While considering wind direction for casting and best visibility look for a spot that allows you to easily cast to the fish without any of them running into you and spooking — an ambush position. 2) What is the best route to get to this spot. Is there a soft bottom option that will avoid noisy rocks? If noisy rocks are the only option, then it is going to be slow going but perfectly achievable. You simply need to keep an eye on the fish, when their behavior changes, you need to STOP and wait a few minutes for them to settle back down.

Don’t follow bad with more bad. This is a saying I often find myself using as we observe the fish and see that they’ve spooked. For whatever reason, people want to rush when the fish spook, take five hurried steps and bomb a couple sloppy cast as the fish are moving out, this never works and why would it. Isn’t it unreasonable to think that they would bite after being spooked? If a monster jumped out of the bushes in front of most people, they wouldn’t take three jumps and then stop for a Dairy Queen Blizzard even if it was chocolate Oreo with peanut butter.

Your goal is to approach within easy casting range, it is tough to have the precision required for shallow fish while making long casts. While watching the mood of the fish, move close enough for accurate casts and precise presentations. If you line a fish or spook one with a cast simply STOP and wait for them to return to normal.

Again, the goal is to position yourself so that you can make accurate casts to the edge of the group in a spot that the fish do not swim. If a carp or two runs into you and becomes startled, they will likely release the evil “spook pheromone” and ruin the area.

Choose a fly that will land gently. If you don’t get bite within the first several presentations, change flies. Always wait for perfect shots, robo-machinge gun casting will not put more fish on the end of your line. And by all means, never throw the long cast across them and drag it through, these are carp not perch.

In summary: 9) Watch the mood of the fish and STOP everything whenever they get nervous. 2) Each time you make a mistake and spook or make the fish nervous you’ve made your job of getting bite a notch or two harder. 3) Patently waiting for the fish to calm down will erase many mistakes. 4) Following bad with more bad will ruin the spot for good.

fly fishing carp

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