Flylords caught up with Chris Fowler, a carp-obsessed angler based down in Texas to learn more about why he loves carp so much and how to effectively target them, and much more. Check out the full interview below.
Flylords: Who is Chris Fowler or @fishing_with_fowler?
Chris: Just a guy who is obsessed with chasing the fish that most Americans love to hate.
Flylords: Where are you based?
Chris: Austin, Texas.
Flylords: Tell us about your fishery?
Chris: I prefer fishing the crystal clear hill country rivers. Extremely rough and unforgiving terrain with tons of rock, spiny trees/cactus and tons of wildlife. Truly wild and undisturbed wilderness.
Flylords: What’s so special about carp on the fly?
Chris: What draws me to these fish is the work we have to put in finding and stalking them. It’s more like hunting than fishing. The raw power they generate with their giant rudders is truly addictive especially when you’re linking up with a biggie.
Flylords: What is your setup for carp fishing?
Chris: Most of the time I’m using my trusty 6wt Orvis Helios ZG (since discontinued but check out the new Helios) with a fighting butt. Paired up with my OG Gold Orvis Mirage reel (check out the new Mirage as well!). I always use 9 foot 8-10 lb tapered fluorocarbon leaders.
Flylords: Top Three Carp Fly’s
Flylords: Any tips for beginner carp anglers? Say I want to catch a carp and never have, what’s a tip you would tell me.
Chris: The main thing I tell any angler chasing carp for the first time is to really slow down and be patient. When I say slow I mean slow, like painfully slow. When you think you’re moving slowly enough cut that in half. Find feeding fish and don’t waste your time on cruisers! They won’t eat and are just a distraction to the true prize.
Flylords: Most memorable fish? Can you tell us about it?
Chris: That’s a tough one but I’ll have to say that my first mirror carp on my birthday a few years ago while fishing with my brother from another mother Ryan Schaper (pictured above).
Flylords: Tell us about that huge bass you caught last year?
Chris: Hahahaha she was a beast! One of the most stressful battles I’ve ever done with a bass. Catching a monster of that caliber on a 5wt with an 8 lb leader damn near gave me a heart attack. Getting multiple shots on her as she swam the bank in clear shallow water at the same speed as we were drifting. I’ll never forget the look on Blain’s face when he yelled “Don’t let her go to that log!!” and I yelled back “Dude it’s a f@€¥nig 5wt!” Haha. That Leviathan 5wt Prophet is a beast!!!
Flylords: What is your go-to after fishing (bar/food establishment) in Austin?
Chris: Definitely Casino El Camino on Dirty 6th street. This little spot is a local haven. Bartenders with shitty attitudes but heavy hands, burgers, and queso fries are awesome but the Bloody Mary’s are fanfreakintastic. Basically a meal on their own!
Flylords: What is the guide outfit you work for?
Chris: Austin Carp Angler. We specialize in carp on the fly and European style angling.
Flylords: Have you ever eaten a carp before? If so how’d it taste and how’d you prepare it?
Chris: I have had carp once and to be honest, it wasn’t bad at all. There was a Mexican fellow spearfishing at a park I was fishing and I noticed he had already got 10-12 lb carp. By the time I explained it was illegal to spearfish in the park his wife already had the carp scaled, filleted, and oiled up. 5 or so minutes later the man walked up with a giant chunk of golden pan-fried carp. Lightly salted and peppered. The meat itself was white and flakey, a little boney but the taste was good!
Flylords: Anything else to add?
Chris: Don’t listen to the bullshit people spew about carp. They don’t deserve to be demonized because some old redneck dawn me destroy a bass bed one time 100 years ago. These fish are super smart and will humble even the best anglers. If you can dial in carp on the fly you’re prepared to catch any species in North America!
Flylords: What’s next?
Chris: I plan to move back to Corpus Christi Texas in January 2021 with my lady Chloe to be closer to my Pops. Back in the salt will be good for my soul and luckily Lake Corpus Christi and the Nueces River both offer carp fishing opportunities.
Shoutout to Joe Magnani of JSquared Photography.