Wednesday, December 17, 2014

2014 MVF (Most Valuable Fly)

It was about this time last winter when I started working on the Chubby Chaser Leech.  Pat Cohen had sent me some of his Carp Dub and it gave me an idea and about 30 prototypes and several landed carp later I had finalized it and named it.

Well, I was going through my log last week and figured out that it only took one year for the Chubby Chaser to become my second most productive carp fly ever!  I caught more carp on it this year than I ever have on a single fly pattern in a single year before - by a wide margin.  I therefore declare the Chubby Chaser Leech my MVF (Most Valuable Fly) of 2014.  It is probably the name.  Must be the name.

I would have never guessed that this fly would work as well as it has.  It worked in ponds, the Denver South Platte, big lakes and little lakes.  It worked in the Spring, Summer and Fall and has been ridiculously effective in the Winter.  I caught tailers, shoppers, cruisers and even sunners (on a lightly weighted version).  I caught carp varying from aggressive to ultra passive.  I caught big carp, little carp, medium carp and mutant carp on it.  It fooled carp in clear water and absolutely destroyed them in dirty water.  Essentially, what I am saying is that it seems to be a shockingly flexible carp fly that works across a wide range of scenarios.

The crazy thing is that this is a pretty big fly.  Actually this is a ridiculously big fly to be as universally effective as it was.  Somehow it defies expectations.

Chubby Chaser Carp Fly

I love you Chubby Chaser Leach.  Is that so wrong?

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Carp On The Fly On THe SUP: Event Horizon

The finale to Carp On The Fly On The SUP is finally up on Youtube. It took so long because I wanted to get this one just right - and I am extremely happy with it. I really wanted to try and get across how it FEELS to catch carp on the fly.  How did I do?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CARPTORIOUS: November to Remember

I have caught hundreds and hundreds of carp since starting Fly-Carpin.  I have posted about quite a few of them.  At some point, however,we have all been here before.  I saw a carp.  I cast at a carp. The presentation was perfect, I timed it just right and I caught the carp.  

Nevertheless I need to write about this November.  I need to write in order to remember.  To remember the differences.

You see, after you have done this long enough, carpin is like the movie Groundhog Day.  Everything repeats over and over, except everything is actually just a little different every time.  If you look hard enough you find that every single year is different.  Every month, every day and every single carp is different.  

This carp was resting with three others 15 feet from the bank in the back eddy of a small seam in 8" of water.  It was the smallest of the bunch, but because it was between me and it's bigger brethren it was the best shot.  Nothing new, except I had never seen a single carp in this section of river. Evidently construction had driven a well-know pod of carp downstream from their normal holding water.  

That is not all that was different though.  As usual I presented the fly with a drag and drop.  The current was a little more energetic than I expected though, and the fly ended up landing a good 6" upstream of where I wanted it.  Then things got a little crazy as this carp charged the fly with summer-like vigor as soon as it hit bottom.  That is certainly unusual in November, but to my surprise she somehow changed her mind and put on the breaks.  I usually avoid the term he or she for carp - but this was clearly a she.  Changing her mind is, after all, a females prerogative. 

And this is where everything is different.  Just a year ago I would have stripped the fly, or twitched the fly, or wiggled the fly.  I would have somethinged the fly in a desperate attempt to re-capture the magic.  I would have failed.  This time I just left the fly (a Chubby Chaser Leech) sitting there on the bottom, tail up and gently wiggling in the current.  A split second passed, and then another and finally an eternity as she held in position and carefully inspected my fly.  Then my fly just disappeared. 

This carp above was circulating in a clear pool.  I must have presented the same fly to it 15 times.  On the sixteenth it just swam through the fly and ate it so quickly and subtly that if I didn't see the fly go in it's mouth I would have never known.

This one was tailing in inches of water in a sewer outlet where I have never seen a carp.  The carp was so shallow that when it charged it threw a wake.  Feeding all those crazy primordial belly scales must make it hungry.

I was blind jigging my fly a couple of inches off the bottom in a deep run next to the bank as a steady stream of carp swam by.  I never saw the take, or the carp for that matter, but it actually worked and my line just came tight.

As much as everything is the same, it is always different.  I will remember.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fly Fishing For Carp Survey Results: Carpin's Dirty Little Secret

Fly fishing for carp has a dirty little secret. I am willing to share that secret but you gotta promise to keep it between us OK? Actually, I change my mind. Please share the hell out of this because I think it could really help people new to the game gain critical perspective.

The secret is this: It turns out that you don't have to cast very far to catch carp. As matter of fact it turns out you barely need to be able to cast at all - at least in the traditional sense. I bet some of you don't believe me, but that is OK because I come armed with data!

The following graph charts the distances where the 200+ respondents to our recent fly fishing for carp survey catch the most carp. Well over 50 percent of the respondents fly fishing for carp survey catch most of their carp at less than 20 feet. Almost 90 percent of the participants catch most of their carp at less than 40 feet. Most shocking of all perhaps, about 17 percent of them catch most of their carp at dapping range!!!!!

Chart of Survey results - At what distance to fly fishermen catch the most carp
The Internet has spent years and years convincing us that only master fly casters can catch carp on the fly.  Well, sorry to disappoint, but at least when it comes to distance it just is not true!  Personally I would actually counter that even trying to catch them at any significant range is usually counter-productive and damaging.

Now, that does not mean that a certain level of skill doesn't help - just that distance has absolutely nothing to do with it!  Getting close and presenting the fly are actually orders of magnitude more important.  Instead of practicing casting a line 80 feet you should first work on mastering your crouching tiger stalking heron. Once you have gotten the hang of getting close you should master several different short range casts and presentations that make a huge difference - some of which can be seen here:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Carp On The Fly On The SUP: Episode 5

Not only was this my biggest carp of 2014 (so far), it was one of the best takes I have ever gotten, and it all went down on my Standamaran SUP.

For some details - You may notice that the carp initially starts to swim towards something that is NOT my fly (a Sculpin Helmet McLuvin).  I actually believe that the fish had detected the disturbance my fly was making during the drag part of the drag and drop and was moving towards that disturbance to investigate.  That is an aggressive carp!!!!  Way more aggro than I am used to around here.

At the time of course, all I knew is that it was not moving towards my fly, so I popped my fly a little off the bottom and then let it drop still.  The carp noticed my fly at that point and turned slightly to the left and accelerated to attack.  Sight fishing?  In clear water?  From a SUP?  To an 18lb carp? That attacks your fly like a bass?  And then smokes your drag?  Life doesn't get much cooler than that.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Carp On The Fly On The SUP: Episode 4

In this latest video I landed one of my biggest mirror carp ever and at that time it was the biggest carp of the year.  That is awesome in an of itself - but what is even cooler is that this carp was a topwater sunner in chest deep water.  This was essentially an open water sunner - which are often virtually impossible on foot.  I made the Standamaran SUP with the intention of being able to target carp in different scenarios - and here is one example of how it worked out.