Why has carp fishing become more popular than fly fishing?

hutch6

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Saw a grass carp, cast a nymph to it and it took it. I then proceeded to just haul in the slab of fish as it laid on it's side. One cast, one fish. It's not a challenge at all ;) 😜 yet folk spend literally pounds on baits to wang in the water by all manner of methods for the chance that what they offer might attract a fish somewhere near them in the next 48hrs.

All the best to folk who enjoy that type of fishing but it's not for me. Used to be when I was a kid for ten minutes until I saw the fly fisher folk and I lost interest then.
 

iainmortimer

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I think the issue is that its easy to start and can yield a little success with virtually no skill. a few examples of genuine conversations from years ago that took place while carp fishing various reservoirs on the Walthamstow complex in London.

1. Right question, wrong result.
Walthamstow No1 As I landed my 3rd carp of the morning chap next to me walks down.
"Another one! I don't think anyone else has caught yet. Whats your secret?"
"Well commonly old baits and other food items are thrown in the margins but everyone casts to the island and so the fish in the margins rarely see a hook. I'm just droppng my rig pretty much under the rod tip"
" Oh I thought I hadn't seen you wind up a cast. thanks very much"
...he then preceeded to walk the 30 yards back to his swim and cast both his rods out to the island margins, or rather 20 yards short as he couldnt catss that far!

Similarly a conversation on Walthamstow no3 when everyone tried to use catapults or throwing sticks to get free offerrings out to...the island margins. Most of the time the bait feel way short while being a shorter cast rigs were within a few feet of the margin where the anglers wanted them. I took advantage by always casting short to where most freebies ended up but rarely a rig. Often that resultedin people even asking if I wanted them to cast to the island for me as 'thats where the fish are...

2. Wrong question, wrong result
Walthamstow No2 on another successful day fishing down the margins and our into opene water
Inexperienced teenager: "your rods are all pointing different ways you should get a pod so that they are all lined up beside each other, its easier than bank sticks and all the top names are using them now"
I explained that I wanted them pointing them to where my bait was to get least resistance as I was using running leads.
The result was a second incredulous look and mini-lecture about using bolt rogs the same as everyone else does and most importantly his hero's, finished as I hooked another fish which he netted for me which led to conversation on how could I fish into open water with no island to cast too
I suspect he went off to unthinkingly copy his hero's but hopefully some of what I shared sank into his ponderings and approach.

The problem is I think that often carp fishing (ignoring the three households worth of gear many lug about) can be fairly lazy and rather than hunting has become trapping. i.e. set a trap, wait for the fish to come to you allowing to just chill with your mates until the bite alarm tells you a rod needs attention.

That part of chilling with your mates is also a big attraction. Its sociable to the extreme whereas fly fishing is often solitary in approach and requires constant effort.

Then there is the fashion bit because its sociable. I get to show everyone my fancy new rods, on their fancy new set up from my fancy up to date bivvy and talk about all the new fangled gear I've got, developed etc.

Finally, so long as I can get a bait in the water I will eventually catch with virtually no skill simply due to the time spent 'fishing'. Even better, if its a big fish with a name everyone knows it took effrot to catch and my name is now linked to the famous people that caught it before me or fish the same venue. That means I need very little coaching or support to see myself alongside famous people.

In many cases to do the same in fly fishing is much harder both due to available and affordable access to waters and the need learn how to cast requiring someone that knows. Plopping a float out or lobbing a big lead weight and boilie is much easier when joining a few mates on their water for a bit of camping or just an hour or two. Its much harder to just roll onto a trout fishery for an hour two to meet some mates that fish and have a go without being collared for a ticket and then I might have to kill what I catch when I'd much rather just return it.

A lot of rambling but I can see a lot of reasons why carp (coarse fishing generally) is more attractive. if you do open the door to all coarse fishing, then you also have the attraction of instant results with hoardes of little roach or rudd to give you instant bites and so that feeling of success right from the off...
 

Jason 70

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The congested SE
I think the issue is that its easy to start and can yield a little success with virtually no skill. a few examples of genuine conversations from years ago that took place while carp fishing various reservoirs on the Walthamstow complex in London.

1. Right question, wrong result.
Walthamstow No1 As I landed my 3rd carp of the morning chap next to me walks down.
"Another one! I don't think anyone else has caught yet. Whats your secret?"
"Well commonly old baits and other food items are thrown in the margins but everyone casts to the island and so the fish in the margins rarely see a hook. I'm just droppng my rig pretty much under the rod tip"
" Oh I thought I hadn't seen you wind up a cast. thanks very much"
...he then preceeded to walk the 30 yards back to his swim and cast both his rods out to the island margins, or rather 20 yards short as he couldnt catss that far!

Similarly a conversation on Walthamstow no3 when everyone tried to use catapults or throwing sticks to get free offerrings out to...the island margins. Most of the time the bait feel way short while being a shorter cast rigs were within a few feet of the margin where the anglers wanted them. I took advantage by always casting short to where most freebies ended up but rarely a rig. Often that resultedin people even asking if I wanted them to cast to the island for me as 'thats where the fish are...

2. Wrong question, wrong result
Walthamstow No2 on another successful day fishing down the margins and our into opene water
Inexperienced teenager: "your rods are all pointing different ways you should get a pod so that they are all lined up beside each other, its easier than bank sticks and all the top names are using them now"
I explained that I wanted them pointing them to where my bait was to get least resistance as I was using running leads.
The result was a second incredulous look and mini-lecture about using bolt rogs the same as everyone else does and most importantly his hero's, finished as I hooked another fish which he netted for me which led to conversation on how could I fish into open water with no island to cast too
I suspect he went off to unthinkingly copy his hero's but hopefully some of what I shared sank into his ponderings and approach.

The problem is I think that often carp fishing (ignoring the three households worth of gear many lug about) can be fairly lazy and rather than hunting has become trapping. i.e. set a trap, wait for the fish to come to you allowing to just chill with your mates until the bite alarm tells you a rod needs attention.

That part of chilling with your mates is also a big attraction. Its sociable to the extreme whereas fly fishing is often solitary in approach and requires constant effort.

Then there is the fashion bit because its sociable. I get to show everyone my fancy new rods, on their fancy new set up from my fancy up to date bivvy and talk about all the new fangled gear I've got, developed etc.

Finally, so long as I can get a bait in the water I will eventually catch with virtually no skill simply due to the time spent 'fishing'. Even better, if its a big fish with a name everyone knows it took effrot to catch and my name is now linked to the famous people that caught it before me or fish the same venue. That means I need very little coaching or support to see myself alongside famous people.

In many cases to do the same in fly fishing is much harder both due to available and affordable access to waters and the need learn how to cast requiring someone that knows. Plopping a float out or lobbing a big lead weight and boilie is much easier when joining a few mates on their water for a bit of camping or just an hour or two. Its much harder to just roll onto a trout fishery for an hour two to meet some mates that fish and have a go without being collared for a ticket and then I might have to kill what I catch when I'd much rather just return it.

A lot of rambling but I can see a lot of reasons why carp (coarse fishing generally) is more attractive. if you do open the door to all coarse fishing, then you also have the attraction of instant results with hoardes of little roach or rudd to give you instant bites and so that feeling of success right from the off...


I grew up fishing the "Stow" started off around our canal in Hackney, then used to get the bus up from Dalston Junction to fish the Coppermill Stream and I preferred the Lower Maynard for Carp. Less pressured and was shown by a couple of old hands, that you could creep about and float fish close in. The Bream shoals and big Bream at that around '87 in the LM were a sight to see. Keeping with the Carp theme, one of my favorite books is the "Carp Catches Club", published by the Medlar Press, it's one long "Rotary Letter" from the likes of Walker, Inghams, Thomas, BB, etc, I doubt very much we will ever see a book published like this again, it is a beautiful book, with handwritten notes from some of the greats.

Back to fly fishing, I enjoy it, as I do my lure fishing. I can't sit on my arse anymore and just wait, been that way for around ten years or more now. But fly fishing is not all about Trout, it's been mentioned here at times that youngsters are not fly fishing? I'm 51, but see plenty of anglers both male and female flinging fluff for various species in their 30's they are young to me. A certain snobbery does seem to exist, in that if it has not got spots it does not count.
 

shropshire_lad

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Too far away from the wild places!
I grew up fishing the "Stow" started off around our canal in Hackney, then used to get the bus up from Dalston Junction to fish the Coppermill Stream and I preferred the Lower Maynard for Carp. Less pressured and was shown by a couple of old hands, that you could creep about and float fish close in. The Bream shoals and big Bream at that around '87 in the LM were a sight to see. Keeping with the Carp theme, one of my favorite books is the "Carp Catches Club", published by the Medlar Press, it's one long "Rotary Letter" from the likes of Walker, Inghams, Thomas, BB, etc, I doubt very much we will ever see a book published like this again, it is a beautiful book, with handwritten notes from some of the greats.

Back to fly fishing, I enjoy it, as I do my lure fishing. I can't sit on my arse anymore and just wait, been that way for around ten years or more now. But fly fishing is not all about Trout, it's been mentioned here at times that youngsters are not fly fishing? I'm 51, but see plenty of anglers both male and female flinging fluff for various species in their 30's they are young to me. A certain snobbery does seem to exist, in that if it has not got spots it does not count.
It's a funny thing Jason but when I was a kid in the 70's in the "congested Midlands" and a keen coarse fisherman you had to be up at 4am and catch the first bus to Bridgnorth to be on the Severn before 6am to have any chance of bagging a spot. By 6am at weekends every bank spot would be taken. Now when I occasionally visit the Midlands or, indeed, down here in the "congested SE" there seems to be loads of space on the rivers, the Severn, Thames, Kennet and Loddon. I guess they are all on the high security carp fisheries that I mentioned in my previous post?

I moved to fly for the aesthetic and because morally I had to justify my fishing to myself by taking some to eat - that's just my personal approach. Of course, it's the sport I enjoy, but to justify it I have to eat some. When I do pass coarse fisherman ledgering and watching a rod tip or listening for an alarm I see no appeal at all any more. Float fishing is different and I can see the appeal watching a traditional quill or similar.
 
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Elwyman

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May 18, 2006
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Having been in quite a few tackle shops through Wales, a land blessed with an abundance of wild trout, I see the carp fisher is better catered for than the fly fisher. How did we get here?

I was first attracted to fly fishing because you didn't needs lots of tackle, you could travel light and fish in some of the most beautiful places in these fair Isles. I was also charmed by the history of traditional wet and dry flies, Yorkshire spiders etc etc.

Carp fishing ticks none of these boxes for me, so I've never tried it, and don't really see the attraction. We are all different and I suppose the current boom in carp fishing is proof that catching big fish appeals to a lot of people. I suppose much of the popularity is ease of access to venues and social aspects.
 

Elwyman

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I have never seen an actual real carp.
I first saw wild carp back in the 80s when I climbed over a wall to sneak a look at a local lake I had noticed on an OS map. It wasn't a big lake, and I could clearly see number of enormous carp lying between weed beds. I remember being impressed at how broad their backs looked.
 

Black sheep

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I first saw wild carp back in the 80s when I climbed over a wall to sneak a look at a local lake I had noticed on an OS map. It wasn't a big lake, and I could clearly see number of enormous carp lying between weed beds. I remember being impressed at how broad their backs looked.
You can’t leave that one there!
 

smallmouth

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When I started fishing in the ‘60s, carp were few and far between locally. The only place I fished that held any, (maybe half a dozen), was the local park lake. I never saw anyone catch, or even hook one, though odd captures were rumoured. Night fishing was allowed, though dangerous due to the nearby nightclub. We were OK though, as my German Shepherd bitch enjoyed enforcing an exclusion zone, so no bother, plenty of tench, but never a carp.

My first was caught on holiday further south, on floating crust. It weighed 8lb and remained my biggest fish of any kind for quite a while. I caught more carp on subsequent holidays, especially at night, the silver paper cylinder whispering across the grass as something took the lump of “Phillips Hi Pro” paste, which I think was the first ever commercially available protein bait.

Not long after, I got into match fishing, mostly on the Trent in those days, then the improving local rivers and canals. I hardly caught a carp for years, until a relative took his son to a local lake and asked me along. This place was heavily stocked with carp up to around 10 pounds, most a bit smaller. After a couple of hours, any remnants of nostalgic mystique I had about “crafty” carp were gone. I packed up early having lost count of the number I’d caught, but realising my match gear wasn’t up to hauling any further carp after carp.

I spent the rest of the day watching the young lad fishing dog biscuits on a heavy pole, catching 2lb to 5lb carp one after another. It was pretty much his first full day fishing, but once the fishery owner had shown him how to go on, he was well away.........but miles away from BB.......

The nearest I’ve been to recapturing the atmosphere of those holiday carp of my youth, was in France. Not a famous big fish venue, just two rarely fished estate lakes, the owner hunted boar etc in the winter and rented it out for holidays in the summer. Modest wild type carp, so one “Avon” type rod, bread, (not French!), sweetcorn, worms, sausage, was enough. My old Dad loved it.
 

squimp

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May 18, 2008
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1,093
I think the issue is that its easy to start and can yield a little success with virtually no skill. a few examples of genuine conversations from years ago that took place while carp fishing various reservoirs on the Walthamstow complex in London.

1. Right question, wrong result.
Walthamstow No1 As I landed my 3rd carp of the morning chap next to me walks down.
"Another one! I don't think anyone else has caught yet. Whats your secret?"
"Well commonly old baits and other food items are thrown in the margins but everyone casts to the island and so the fish in the margins rarely see a hook. I'm just droppng my rig pretty much under the rod tip"
" Oh I thought I hadn't seen you wind up a cast. thanks very much"
...he then preceeded to walk the 30 yards back to his swim and cast both his rods out to the island margins, or rather 20 yards short as he couldnt catss that far!

Similarly a conversation on Walthamstow no3 when everyone tried to use catapults or throwing sticks to get free offerrings out to...the island margins. Most of the time the bait feel way short while being a shorter cast rigs were within a few feet of the margin where the anglers wanted them. I took advantage by always casting short to where most freebies ended up but rarely a rig. Often that resultedin people even asking if I wanted them to cast to the island for me as 'thats where the fish are...

2. Wrong question, wrong result
Walthamstow No2 on another successful day fishing down the margins and our into opene water
Inexperienced teenager: "your rods are all pointing different ways you should get a pod so that they are all lined up beside each other, its easier than bank sticks and all the top names are using them now"
I explained that I wanted them pointing them to where my bait was to get least resistance as I was using running leads.
The result was a second incredulous look and mini-lecture about using bolt rogs the same as everyone else does and most importantly his hero's, finished as I hooked another fish which he netted for me which led to conversation on how could I fish into open water with no island to cast too
I suspect he went off to unthinkingly copy his hero's but hopefully some of what I shared sank into his ponderings and approach.

The problem is I think that often carp fishing (ignoring the three households worth of gear many lug about) can be fairly lazy and rather than hunting has become trapping. i.e. set a trap, wait for the fish to come to you allowing to just chill with your mates until the bite alarm tells you a rod needs attention.

That part of chilling with your mates is also a big attraction. Its sociable to the extreme whereas fly fishing is often solitary in approach and requires constant effort.

Then there is the fashion bit because its sociable. I get to show everyone my fancy new rods, on their fancy new set up from my fancy up to date bivvy and talk about all the new fangled gear I've got, developed etc.

Finally, so long as I can get a bait in the water I will eventually catch with virtually no skill simply due to the time spent 'fishing'. Even better, if its a big fish with a name everyone knows it took effrot to catch and my name is now linked to the famous people that caught it before me or fish the same venue. That means I need very little coaching or support to see myself alongside famous people.

In many cases to do the same in fly fishing is much harder both due to available and affordable access to waters and the need learn how to cast requiring someone that knows. Plopping a float out or lobbing a big lead weight and boilie is much easier when joining a few mates on their water for a bit of camping or just an hour or two. Its much harder to just roll onto a trout fishery for an hour two to meet some mates that fish and have a go without being collared for a ticket and then I might have to kill what I catch when I'd much rather just return it.

A lot of rambling but I can see a lot of reasons why carp (coarse fishing generally) is more attractive. if you do open the door to all coarse fishing, then you also have the attraction of instant results with hoardes of little roach or rudd to give you instant bites and so that feeling of success right from the off...
Of course you are partly correct.

It is perfectly possible take your brain out and go specimen carp fishing; if you sit there long enough you will catch a very big fish. People win the Drennan cup every week in the Anglling TImes doing that. But it is really boring !

However not all coarse anglers fish like that. Some of us try and work out what is going on and we try and catch really big fish on short sessions at the right times. It takes some doing, but once you work it out the results are spectacular……

The lessons learned are far reaching and (as I alluded to earlier) transferable to other disciplines.

The great thing about angling is that there is always something new to learn.
 
D

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I have never seen an actual real carp.
They don't do so well in Scotland whereas in warmer countries they can be a bit of a problem. About 10 years ago they were trying to eradicate them as non native invasives when I was in Spain. Some of the lakes had piles of dead carp on the banks. I guess they were just catching, killing and chucking.
 

diawl bach

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Some great replies and reminiscences, thanks all.

Perhaps it does boil down to the less expensive cost of day tickets for carp fisheries and the size and number of the fish you can expect to hook there- a succession of 2-5lb wild trout has eluded me this year - but I wonder if there's something less tangible taking place, particularly in Wales where the trout fishing can be superb.

I wonder if it's an age or class thing, is trout fishing seen as a middle class or old guys sport?

While I enjoy the solitude the decline in the popularity of trout fishing offers on some waters I really do wonder when this is going to have an impact with regard to the viability of renting waters, particularly stillwaters, in the future.
 
D

Deleted member 93217

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While I enjoy the solitude the decline in the popularity of trout fishing offers on some waters I really do wonder when this is going to have an impact with regard to the viability of renting waters, particularly stillwaters, in the future.
I cannot remember the last time I saw a young person fishing. It appears it's mainly an old people's hobby now and the old ones are not getting any younger.
 

shropshire_lad

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Too far away from the wild places!
I cannot remember the last time I saw a young person fishing. It appears it's mainly an old people's hobby now and the old ones are not getting any younger.
That's an extremely valid and pertinent observation.

Thinking about when I go cycling down the Kennet & Avon canal, every fisherman I see is old, barely ever any youngsters. In my youth (the 70's) there would have been groups of kids fishing but no more. Perceptions about safety? "Better" things to do....video games?
 

ohanzee

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I first saw wild carp back in the 80s when I climbed over a wall to sneak a look at a local lake I had noticed on an OS map. It wasn't a big lake, and I could clearly see number of enormous carp lying between weed beds. I remember being impressed at how broad their backs looked.

Now that would get me interested, I think it's just the commercial pond thing that puts me off.
 

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