2011/10/1 Common Carp / Koi
Common Carp / Koi [jp] /
Cyprinus carpio (Linnaeus, 1758)
Carp is probably the most commonly known fish to Japanese and recently rising its popularity in Europe. On a contrary to common recognition, one that’s fed in parks with anything thrown at them does not show the true nature of this fish. One in wild carefully select what he feeds on and he is a good challenge on a fly rod.
Great thing about carp is that they are abundant in water near city and they come in great sizes from 50cm to a meter which give good fight for 8 to 10wt fly rod. In area where carp could run away into main stream of river, you would expect it to fight to the backing line.
As carp are selective feeder from bottom to top water, best way to play with them is sight fishing. Carp has relatively good memory and distinct behavior to cruise its territory for edible objects. When they find something not familiar, they sample it, and if it happens to be not edible, they will not try again.
Key to successful sight fishing is to locate the group of carps actively feeding what is abundant in that area in that season. Nymph of aquatic insects, scuds, crayfish, and small minnow.
In below case in clear lake, group of carps were cruising near school of dace in shallow waiting for something. I was sight fishing with clear floating line for pair of largemouth bass in the same area with surf candy. Each of bass took one bite which I missed hooking, then giant carp torpedoed his way to claim his catch. He was obviously examining fly being sampled by bass. When he figured that what was spilled out by bass can be a remain or weakened minnow, he took advantage of his large body against bass much like lion chasing off hyenas in plain.
This is one example of how they feed on minnow by selectively choosing easy one. In other occasion, crayfish or dragonfly nymph imitation yields good result, again with giving enough time for carp to examine, then let it come to take the fly.
Another interesting way to chase carp is from boat.
Don’t underestimate the survival instinct of big fish. Carps don’t quit easily and demand full attention til the last moment. Bring net large enough for landing and don’t rely on fish grip for it slips on capr’s rubber like mouth.