Thursday, November 21, 2013

Good Dry Flies For Carp - Reader Recommendations

In my last post I asked for advice from my readers on good dry flies for carp.  The idea was to make a list of what dry flies people have actually caught carp with and then use that as the starting point for building my carp on the dry arsenal this winter.

The response was awesome - thank you so much everybody who responded on this blog, facebook or the CarpPro forum!

What was shocking to me was how many times hoppers and cicadas and other larger meatier dry flies came up in the conversation.  I have mainly been thinking (with significant trepidation) that the main thing that would work would be the same little itty bitty cute classic dry flies that I grew up catching Trout on or even smaller in the case of midges.  While those are on the list it would seem to be not absolutely necessary.

Here were the recommendations - x4 would mean that at least 4 people mentioned that fly:
  • Small Hoppers (x6)
  • Adams in several variations, recommended by many (x4)
    • Parachute
    • Normal
    • White
  • Cicadas (x4)
  • Mulberry Flies (x 3)
  • Elk Hair Caddis (x 2)
  • Deer hair pellet fly (x2)
  • Cotton wood seed pattern (x2)
  • Small Stimulators
  • Small Muddler Minnows (grassies)
  • Size 16 Griffiths Gnat 
  • Damsel Flies (picture below)
  • Small black ants
  • Small black beetles     
  • Floating eggs
  • Gray Drake
  • Skitters (picture below)
  • Tarauntulas
  • Madam X
  • Droppers
  • Suspender Buzzer 
  • Inch worms
The Skitter (Compliments of Mr P at Got Backing)

Spearyhopper sent some pictures of super sweet damsels tied with furled flash foam from craft stores.  The version he has caught carp on is the single (non-mating) on the left.  I like these allot.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Need some help - Dry Flies for Carp

One of my off-season goals is to go into next spring with a full arsenal of worthy dry flies for carp.  I have never caught a carp on a dry fly and I really should fix that next year.  I don't really care mind you, I would not be upset to never check that off my bucket list, but this fall there were several outings where if I had a little more confidence and a dry fly arsenal on hand I could have cleaned house.

On several occasions I literally walked by pods of 15 to 20 midge cloopers out of lack of faith and on another got refusal after refusal on a size 12 Adams which is all I really had available.  

Now, if possible, I would like a little help from my readers.  If you have the time, could you comment with a list of dry flies they have actually caught carp on?  I will update this post with the full list from here and various forums / social media sites and over the winter I will try and put together an arsenal based on it.

Note:  I am going to move the results to here

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Standamaran: My Plan for World Stand Up Paddle Board Domination

UPDATE:  You can view the full instructions for my finished standup catamaran here.  You can view all the posts relating to the Project Standamaran here.

There has been some buzz in the fly fishing for carp community that stand up paddle-boards are the future.  The easy-transport-self-powered stand-up watercraft best suited to carp and other flats species.  After some research I buy it and am going to join the SUP craze this spring.

Actually though, after some research and thought I think it is very likely (certain) that the best option is actually a Standamaran - or stand up catamaran.  Something like this:

The physics are clear (I apologize for going all rocket scientist) - a catamaran design is going to move the bouyancy to the edges and have orders of magnitude more stability than a normal SUP with little or no loss in ease of paddling.  There is probably a substantial loss in maneuverability which we probably usually don't really care about.   Stability is the key though, and critical for stand-up fly fishing flotation.  

Now, there are problems with what I have shown above.  First of all the Standamaran in the video costs thousands of dollars, is made of carbon fiber and is designed for racing.  As such it is relatively skinny and does not have the maximum stability you would want for fly fishing.  

The only recourse is to build one your own.  Something like the instructible at this link would do the trick nicely.  

Of course, this gentleman made his skinnier than need be as well - which makes sense because his catamaran at 29" would still be much more stable than a very wide 32" SUP but I want all the stability I can get.  I also question the long term wisdom of his hollow design.  While it looks super-duper easy to build up the pontoons, one pinhole leak and all of your effort is wasted.

So this winter I am going to build this (click to enlarge):

It should take about 300 bucks and more time than I have.  Much much more time than I have.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Slow. Slow. Slow. Did I Mention Slow?

We are fully and completely in the off-season here now.  Any and all still-water carp are shivering the depths.  Even the ponds that so surprised me to weeks ago appear nearly devoid of life.  I am lucky to have the river though.  The river is my last recourse now and will be until roughly late February.

So now it is time to commit to changing gears.  Off-season carpin is like 4 wheel driving in that if you aren't half mad with how slow you are going then you are simply going to fast.  Slow down and then slow down a little more.  

You must walk slowly.  You are looking for that magical fish that is feeding, and you may only find a couple of those in a day!  Go too fast and you might miss it.  Even worse, go too fast and you might startle it.  There is nothing more demoralizing than walking right up to your only shot of the day and watching is swim away with a desultory flick of the tail.

You must present slowly.  Even an aggressive winter carp will never chase a fly.  Food that is hard to catch is simply not worth chasing.  You fly should move slowly if at all!

You must give a longer pause on the take and set the hook slowly.  Winter takes are in slow motion.  If you are setting on the same hair-trigger and with the same velocity you used in the summer you will pull the fly away before it even enters the mouth.  

Go slow, be patient, get a little lucky and it will all turn out.  Eventually. 

Incidentally - notice anything different?  This is my first DSP carp with my new glasses (old-fogey blue-blocker looking cocoons not shown).  My vision was bad enough that they had to give me partial corrections to 20/25 in one eye and 20/30 in the other for a while in order to get used to it.  Pretty soon I get a pair that corrects to 20/20.  Not sure how I have managed all these years, the carp could be in deep trouble.