Carp on the Fly - When one fly is just not enough!
by Paul Sharman
So far, all my columns regarding catching carp on the fly have accepted the usual approach of using just one fly on the end of the line. Pretty normal stuff, same as most fly-fishers do worldwide, or do they?
From my own childhood roots I remember my holiday's way up in the highlands of Scotland being taught to fish teams of 2 or 3 flies for wild brown trout while drifting across the lochs. Nowadays there is also the common practice when trout fishing of using either teams of nymphs or a dry fly to float as an indicator with a nymph suspended underneath. It is probably from this source that one of my fellow writers in the UK decided to start using teams of 3 flies to target his local carp and reported great success.
It is not hard to understand why perhaps if you view this simply as giving the angler the chance to have 3 different flies in the water instead of just one thereby tripling your chances of a take. However, it is not quite as simple as this and a little thought goes a long way into selecting just the right flies to make up a balanced outfit that is not going to end up tangling itself (it will eventually by the way - just so you know!) You are going to want your heaviest fly at what is called the 'point' or on the far end of the tippet to help it straighten out when you cast and to keep the flies in line in the water. Above this the other fly or flies are attached to short lengths of line known as 'droppers' that help them to stand away from the main line to both avoid tangling and to work effectively. The best way of providing the length of extra line needed for a dropper is to leave one end of the knot uncut when tying on your tippet at around 4 or 5 inches long.
You will need to experiment with your own fly patterns to see what works well for you but I have been doing well with different sizes of pheasant tail nymphs. The largest and heaviest on the point, and a lighter smaller version higher up. Although you can work the flies at normal retrieve speeds, it often seems to pay, especially with carp, to let them sink to the bottom and then slowly twitch them back towards you inches at a time. This can also work particularly well other nymphs and particularly bloodworm patterns that would normally be found on the bottom of course. You don't necessarily need to try for long casts when using multiple flies and in fact it is often much better used as a margin searching tool along reed and tulle lines with short targeted casts.
I hope this gives you some ideas to try something new in a future trip and that this short series might have encouraged you to give carp a try.
Articles by the same author
- Essential Skills - Dry Fly and Mayfly with Oliver Edwards
- New Canadian Beaver report spells doom for Scottish salmon
- Fly Fishing for Atlantic Bass - new book reviewed
- The Streamside Guide - Road Trips
- Wet Fly Fishing on Rivers - Essential Skills with Oliver Edwards
- Venezuelan smorgasbord at Los Roques
- Pope of the Madison
- The principles of layering - the base layer
- Game Fishing by Bob Church
- The Streamside Guide - Planning the Trip