Monday, June 20, 2011

Sleeping carp

Mr. P just wrote a nice blog with some comments on sleeping carp. It seems like Jim and I have been on the same wavelength, or more likely fishing to the same type of post spawn carp. Throughout the season any dedicated carper will come across lots of resting carp. Oftentimes they are simply laying near the surface soaking up heat from the sun, tempting targets that are, in general, a waste of time. They are not active feeders, nor are they likely to suddenly decide to eat but if no other targets are available...you might as well fling some flies.




After years of casting at every carp I can lay eyes on my thoughts are pretty simple when it comes to sleeping or sunning carp. If they are in deep water, 1 out of 100 might eat. If they are sunning/sleeping in shallow water you absolutely can talk them into a meal. The conversation is the tricky part and usually requires a change of flies. You no longer want a quick sinking bottom heavy dredger, instead, fish something light and airy that has motion without requiring much movement to activate said motion. My past favorite...the rubber legged hares ear. My current favorite (shocker here)...the soft hackle nymph with a light bead.

The method is what you would expect, but works best when you are a stealthy SOB and can dap, rather than cast to the fish. Sneak right in there and hang that fly inches from his face. I mean inches, as in 1-3 and not 6-8. That distinction is the difference between catching one and thinking they can't be caught. If the fish doesn't either eat, or slowly spook out of there after a few repeated slow sinks past their mouth...I usually try to wake them up. It is shocking how often this works...but it does. Ask Mctage. If they don't eat, and don't spook I will quite simply rest the fly on their face...as close to the mouth as possible. Try not to laugh and spook the fish when you see your size 10 soft hackle resting on the carp's lip like bad teenage facial hair. Leave it there for a second and what usually happens is the carp wakes up and swims backwards a few inches...I just let the nymph fall and then jig it upwards right in front of the suddenly awake and aware fish. Usually, this is an instant take. They simply reach up and grab the fly. Truth be told...I have caught many nice carp using this seemingly ridiculous technique. Bonk em, then jig. In close quarters on shallow water sleeping carp, it is often the only way to talk them into a meal.




8 comments:

e.m.b. said...

"soft hackle resting on the carp's lip like bad teenage facial hair." -- great writing, John. And I'll have to try this technique...been seeing lots of "sleeping carp" here lately. Frustrating as all get out!

McTage said...

Yup, I was familiar with the slow undulating drop right close for sleepers, but the bonk was one of the many awesome things I learned from John last week. The other was seducing those same fish or really slow cruisers with a soft hackle slowly rising, which is about the coolest damn thing you have ever seen.

Wendy Berrell said...

I've actually tried threatening them and that sometimes works too.

e.m.b. said...

I was cussing an awful lot. Next time I'll try threats!

John Montana said...

Hah...I have seen Wendy's verbal abuse tactic first hand. As in "eat it you son of a bitch!" deadly effective.

McTage said...

Dangit. I have been doing it wrong. "Please, pleaaaase eat it" just doesnt have the same umphh.

Ty said...

Hmmm, I usually use the Berrell Threat Technique myself, but with mixed results. Must not be doing it right. Nice post John. Great info in there.

jw said...

I'm new to fly fishing and is looking forward to land my first carp on fly.

Interesting blog. Keep it up!