Dialing in on what Carp want to eat on a particular day and time is no easy task, mainly because of the massive variety of forages carp are more than willing to munch on. They’ll eat just about any nymph, adult, or terrestrial insect, and it doesn’t end there, baitfish, sculpins, and crawfish also stand no chance when a hungry carp is looming overhead. Carp are also known to eat snails, mussels, algae, seeds, or berries blown in the water from the wind.
Opportunistic feeders, carp will cruise around, and once they find a spot, they’ll start to feed with reckless abandon on any of the above-mentioned food sources, at any given time. They may have their face stuffed in the mud eating worms, snails, and mussels only to see a wiggling caddis or damsel nymph headed for the surface and they’ll switch strategies, suck all those up and start looking for more. They do at times have a pattern and only target specific food items, and that is when you want to target them and get lucky enough for one to suck up your fly.
So why would anyone want to target them? Or, put yourself through the pain of trying to get them to eat what you’re offering?
That “why” is the challenge of all this, and generally comes down to how rewarding a carp eat is and how hard these fish pull. You’ll try to repeat the process that worked the day before, and just when you think you figured it out the Carp will change, and you have to start it all over again. Every day is different, and their feeding habits can shift by the hour, and sometimes they’ll change just because they know you are there. They don’t mind you being there, they just don’t want to be disturbed while eating lunch.
Given the fact that carp are found in the majority of North America and are the most targeted gamefish in the world. Chasing them on the fly is a whole ‘nother ballgame, and trying to pick the flies that would work for every Carp would be nearly impossible. So, I sent the word out that I was doing an article about carp flies. Carp-on-the-fly people are awesome and we stick together, the familial feeling in that community is amazing.
The carping community is a global one and this article is a great opportunity to show just how many types of carp flies there really are and the breadth of what carp will eat.
The Best All-Around Carp Flies
Daryl Angler’s Top Carp Flies
Daryl Angler is one of the top carp anglers in the United States. So, carpy, in fact, that he helped create a line of dubbing (Vicuna) made for carp and has his own line of flies (Nervous Water Flies) tied with it. His flies stand out as he has put in the time to create unique patterns that can catch carp anywhere. (Photos courtesy of Daryl).
Dominique Moreno Top Carp Flies
Dominique Moreno, from Colorado, is a carp catching machine and he has used his experience to put up some cool flies and some amazing carp on social media as well. Truly a great carper. Check him out on Facebook. (Photos courtesy of Dominique)
Derek Rivchin’s Top Carp Flies
Derek Rivchin, of Lo Water Guide Service in Pheonix, Arizona specializes in catching carp on the fly, his patterns are similar to others, however, he puts his own twist on them, as we all do. His flies are fishing catching machines as he needs to put clients on fish fast and consistently. (Photos courtesy of Derek)
Jamie Stafford’s Top Carp Flies
Jamie Stafford from across the pond in the UK is a carp chasing machine and has adapted his flies to fit the environments and location there, as well as the way he loves to target carp on the fly. (Photos courtesy of Jamie)
Scott Smith’s Top Carp Flies
Scott Smith of Tailers & Chasers Tailers & Chasers from Ontario, Canada, and is obsessed with carp and chases all summer from the Great Lakes to small ponds and everything in between. Scott takes patterns and adapts them to fit the vast and varied environments that Ontario’s carp love and this video shows some of his prime spring pre-spawn Carp flies. (Photos courtesy of Scott)
As carp are becoming more popular and more styles of flies are being adapted to catch this amazing species, it’s time to try and tie some, contact any of the people above, and/or watch the above video from our friends at Mad River Outfitters.