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Why Fish for Carp?

Over the past few years, I have been asked why I fish for carp and ridiculed for doing so.  Carp are viewed as trash fish and most anglers, especially fly fisherman, ignore them.  So I am going to spill the beans for you and give you the top 5 reasons on why to fish for carp.

Reason #1: Carp Get Really….REALLY BIG!
Carp grow to enormous sizes. The average fish in the South Platte River is 8-15 pounds, with a large amount of fish growing to well over 20 pounds.  Catching a 20 pound fish, on a fly rod and in a river is very special.  To land a 20 pound fish, in moving water, your angling skills must be top notch.  Carp do fight hard.  Maybe not as hard as a Trevally or a Tarpon, but when you live in Colorado, a carp is the next best thing.  Carp are bulldogs, and fight just like it.  They play dirty, running into logs and wrapping you around rocks.  They use their weight against you and never seem to give up.  Carp are stubborn creatures and will fight till the bitter end.  Just as you think you sealed the deal, one flap of the tail and the fish is making another run!

Reason #2: Carp Will Challenge You and Make You Better
Carp are not easy to catch.  Everyone ignores this fact or does not believe it.  In a previous blog I explain Why Carp Are So Hard To Catch.  Fishing a unscented fly, on a fly rod and getting a carp to eat is not easy.  Carp are big targets and are easy to snag.  Snagging a fish is not the same as getting one to eat.  Scenting your flies or using bait is not the same.  Just as using the same tactic for trout is not the same.  Fishing for carp makes you a better angler….Seriously!  If you can consistently catch carp on a fly, then trout and other species will come much easier.  Carp fishing also makes you a more well rounded angler.  Understanding more about the sport and about how other fish act will give you a deep understanding of fly fishing.  Most people who turn their nose up at carp, cannot catch them in the mouth or have never tried it!

Reason #3: Carp Live Close to Home
With gas prices on the rise, staying close to home is more important than ever.  For me, staying close to home means I get to fish more.  I am able to fish for a couple hours, before or after work.  Carp live in urban areas, such as the South Platte River in Denver.  Carp can live in ponds, rivers and reservoirs all the same.  This is what is so great about carp.  They can be found everywhere, big and small.  They live in golf course ponds right in your back yard.  Many people are less than 15 minutes away from a carp fishery.  Carp are spread though out the United States.  They can be found all over the place!

Reason #4: Crowds
Fly Fishing has become a popular sport.  The growing number of anglers are beginning to crowd our more popular rivers.  This is not a negative thing, it just is what it is.  I welcome new fly fisherman and love teaching them the sport.  Carp fishing is a good excuse to get away from the crowds.  Our western tailwaters become very crowded on the weekends, and carp fishing a breath of fresh air.  I rarely see other anglers fishing for carp, and when I do I usually know them.  It is not something you have to do every time you go fishing, just do not be afraid to try it!

Reason #5: Carp Fishing is FUN!
This is the real reason why I fly fish for carp.  I enjoy it!  For me, it is as simple as that.  Fly fishing is supposed to be fun.  Your fly fishing experiences are your own and no one can take that away from you.  For those of you who do not agree, that is fine.  You are entitled to your opinion and I am as well.  Most who do not agree, are fly fishing for the wrong reasons.  And that is perfectly fine.  Just leave the people having fun alone!

One of the arguments that I hear a lot is that carp are stinky.  Well..they may be, but every fish smells just like a carp…FISHY!  And yes they are slimy, but what fish isn’t?  Trout, Bass, Bonefish and every fish is slimy.  That is how they stay alive!  Carp are just big and come with more slime.  Everyone who trash talks carp, has never tried to catch one.  Once you get past that, you are in for a real treat!  Check the videos below!

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11 Responses to Why Fish for Carp?

  1. When the going is tough like it was earlier last year I switched to warm water. I guess it’s just a matter of time before I accidentally catch one. It will probably be the last I catch.

  2. Yeah, anybody who ridicules it ought to go try it. I landed a big ole carp on the Platte last winter. It took me 15 minutes to haul him in and my arm was sore for two days because of the fight. I could barely hold him up for a picture. Long live the dirty nymphers!

  3. I got turned on to carp last summer and never looked back! I’ll never forget that feeling…you know the one where you’ve been fishing trout on some some sissy rod with 8x tippet and you think “Oh, I’m sure a 5wt rod and a non-tapered 8lb test mono leader is probably overkill.” NOPE
    The second he turned to take my fly I knew I just brought a knife to a gun fight!

    Oh, and I heard that a carps IQ stands around a 6. That’s double the IQ of a trout!

  4. I saw a video from your site on catching grass carp what kind of fly do you use to catch grass carp? How do you tie it please? I have 25 year old grass carp by my house that are 75 pounds I want to catch them on a fly. Help?

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