Fly Fishing for Carp

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Andy Bolch South East QLD
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Dan Ivanoff Kosciuszko National Park NSW
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John O'Brien Blowering Dam NSW
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Jimmy Gummer, Perth Metro WA
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Catching Carp on the Fly 

 Who would have thought that one of our most damaging introduced pests would evolve into one of our most adored fly fishing targets! So why the explosion in interest? Well just like trout, they tick a lot of boxes; they don't mind skinny water, they live in wide range of habitats, have a varied diet and don't always eat your fly! In short they are widely abundant and are a challenge! 


Ok, here's a freshwater fish that sometimes needs some muscle, they can grow big and they are powerful! If you're fishing open water scenario's then you can push it all the way down to a 3 weight but this will be challenging! Perhaps a six to seven weight offers the best versatility, just consider the size of the fish you are targeting and the type of water you are fishing. If you do decide to fish light, then we recommend upsizing your reel by one size and or use gel spun backing to maximise your backing capacity as you will likely need it. 

Leader and Tippet

There are no teeth to take into account with these blubber lip mud suckers, so fish as light as you think you can get away with for the situation. They can be tippet sensitive, so don't fish too heavy. 8.2lb (3X) is as heavy as you need to go.   


These fish are opportunistic omnivores, feeding on vegetation, detritus (decaying organics), aquatic insects, crayfish and anything else that will equate to an energy gain. With this, you have a lot of scope with fly choice. Fur flies, damsel nymphs and Woolley buggers are top start points. From there, carefully inspect your local waters for other food sources and "match the hatch" best you can. 

Check out our range of Carp flies here.


Here's an important one, Carp are freckishly aware of their surrounds! Approach slowly and carefully being conscious of every footstep and the contrast you have on the background . With many other fish, a spooking will result in a fast erratic fleeing, Carp however will just simply drift away, leaving the angler puzzled.

As for retrieve styles, you have some options.

  • Cast delicately and aim for the the decent of the fly to intercept the feeding pathway of the fish. Carp will generally not move far for an inert fly, so accuracy is paramount.
  • If they are potentially feeding on very mobile food sources such as crayfish or damsel fly nymphs, then you have scope to increase your retrieve speed. Just be sure the fly is in close range and in-front of the fish before retrieving.   

Have fun with them.