The classic reads about fly fishing for carp (Carp On The Fly by Barry Reynolds and Carp Are Gamefish Too by George Von Schroeder) depict carp primarily as meat eating marauders. Von Schroeder actually fishes large jigs. Fishing the Columbia and Willamette rivers have given me a different take on carp altogether. Don't get me wrong...I do catch them on large crayfish patterns, but for the most part the forage out here seems to be primarily nymphs and clams...the fish quite simply do not have to work hard for food. They don't like to chase.
And that is the beauty of lake Michigan. The carp out there are meat eaters; they hunt in packs and aggressively pursue large gobie or crayfish patterns. On lake Michigan it is not a matter of "detecting the take" but instead a matter of hanging onto your rod. With another spring run to the Mecca of bass-like carp planned for this spring, it is time to tie up some meat.
I tend to stick to simple patterns for two reasons. One, a conscious effort to simplify my fly selection paid big dividends this spring (soft hackles in various colors and I am a good to go). And two, I am a crappy tier. This spring will see Wendy Berrell and I stalking the flats of lake Michigan armed with dozens of rabbit stripped monstrosities, eyes peeled for the dark shapes of predatory carp. I cannot wait.
How long until spring again?