Monday, August 12, 2013

Carp on the Flats

I have made a conscious choice to spend more time fishing wade-able flats on still-waters this summer. Between Lake Michigan and a couple of local lakes it has really paid off and I have had my best four months of fishing...ever. I would like to share a couple of tidbits that have been helping. Note that John Montana showed me all of this in my two trips out to Oregon. It just took some experimenting on my own for it all to sink in!

1) Structure:  Even on a flat structure matters! Look for transitions between soft mud, fine sand, coarse sand and gravel. Most transitions tend to concentrate carp. Combine a transition in bottom composition with a change in depth and you are really talking potential. In other words gravel bars rock!

Lake Michigan Gravel Bar Carp
2) Fear-Not the Deep:  While it is true that if you can find shallow carp they are often easier to catch that doesn't mean that you should always be wading in calf-deep water. When fishing gravel bars or shore-line give wading deep and looking shallow a try. This is an approach that had never occurred to me until John Montana showed it to me and it can be extremely effective. Additionally it is almost always true that there are more carp in knee-deep water than calf-deep. Whenever I can find enough clarity to have a chance I spend 80% of my time in knee-deep water.

A Mirror from the only knee deep water in a shallow bay
3) No Tunnel Vision:  I have a really hard time with tunnel vision. I will get into a mode where I am walking along focused on the bottom three feet in front of me. DON’T DO THAT!! It is a terrible mistake. Instead you should be constantly scanning out and back and if anything spend more time looking at a distance than close. That might be 50 to 60 feet in calf deep water or 30 feet in knee deep water.

A gravel bar 20 - spotted and caught from 40 feet away - ONLY because I was looking that far.

4) Drop-Pop-Pause-Set:  I have been spending a considerable amount of time fishing flats where the fish are keyed in on crayfish (or gobies in the case of Lake MI) this year. These fish are aggressive and will move to a simply stripped fly but really is not the the most effective presentation. One particularly effective presentation for me lately has been a Drop-Pop-Pause-Set. This starts with a drag and drop where I drop the fly just to one side of the head with a slightly raised rod. When the fly hits bottom I lightly pop it once (roughly 6” forward) with the rod and then kill the fly with a pronounced pause and then set the hook when the carp turns. There is a certain rhythmic quality to this presentation akin to slowly saying it. Drop-Pop-Pause-Set.

Drop-Pop-Pause-Set!

10 comments:

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    1. Gratzi Miles. You remember how the carp were acting at the edges of that gravel bar on the flat on Lake MI? Awesome.

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    2. Indeed I do. Pretty sweet.

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  2. A good collection of tips. Thanks!

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    1. You bet Jorge. The last tip can be pretty regional for aggresive fish but the other tips should apply across continents.

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    2. This last tip also works here with highly active and aggresive fish. I use the DPPS presentation with my fly 'cangrebou' (you can find it in my blog) and it's very effective. I love the name you chose fot it.

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  3. shhhh! you don't want to give away all of our secrets! haha

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    1. These are low level secrets. Gonna have to pry the high level secrets from my cold dead hands.... Of course the only high level secrets are spots.

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  4. All good! My fish where I have access to though rarely respond to anything but a slowly sinking fly or even stationary at times. I long for the predator carp that are scarce for me as hen's teeth.

    Gregg

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    1. I am pretty excited to find some predatory carp here myself Gregg. Most predatory bunch I have found in CO by a good margin.

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