Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Always Be Prepared...For Carp

Carp have been one of my favorite game fish (yes, I said game fish) for several years.  The obvious list of positive attributes is well-known, but one of the less discussed great qualities is availability.  Simply put, carp can be found just about anywhere.  Lakes, ponds, rivers, creeks, all can hold them.  And they usually do hold them.  Several times I found myself wishing I had a carp box with me when I was fishing for bass or some other species.  A trick that has worked really well for me and paid off with some nice fish is to always have an emergency "stash box" of carp flies in the pack.  What works well for me for this purpose is a converted Altoids tin fly box.

I line the bottom of the tin with slit craft foam to make some cheap and fast mini fly boxes.  I have a couple of these boxes with a small assortment of proven carp flies and I keep them in my fishing packs at all times.  The tins take up practically no space, are extremely light, and come in handy when you find yourself a target of opportunity.  Having an emergency box with me paid off again today on my lunch break.  I was walking the banks and spotted a carp rooting in very shallow water.  I made a quick fly change, and two casts later was hooked up.

Although this was not a large carp by my local standards, it was a hefty handful on 3wt glass.  As usual, the fly that the fish ate was black.  This fish was extremely shallow, but the water was stirred up quite a bit around the fish.  I am a firm believer that the black fly has a more visible outline in these conditions and gets eaten more because it's easier for them to see.  Here are a few other memorable "bonus carp" that fell victim to flies from an Altoids tin.

If you find yourself fishing in warm water environments that are likely to have carp, carry a small stash of flies just in case.  It's easy to find room for them, and you never know when having a good assortment of carp patterns could pay off.  It might save your day, or take your outing from good to memorable. 


  1. I have fallen in love with carp over the last couple of years, I have been experimenting with various flies for the grass carp near my house but man, are they picky fish!

  2. I just caught my first carp about a week ago on a spinning rod. The pond I fish in has only koi carp and I really want to catch one on a fly rod (some of these fish are 20 pounds). Are there any good fly patterns I should try?

    1. Anything resembling their common food items can work. Small crawfish patterns or anything imitating a damsel or dragonfly nymph is usually a good bet.