The tackle set-up is the same as that described in the previous piece, with a 9-weight outfit and floating line being my standard choice when targeting fish of double figures upwards. The leader makeup does however change, with my standard set-up being 18" of 12lb mono, 24" of 10lb mono 24" of 8lb mono and 36" of 6-8lb fluorocarbon. The tippet may seem light to some people but due to the soft nature of a fly rod, by comparison with standard carp gear, much larger fish can be landed for a given breaking strain of line. Having said this I would not hesitate in very snaggy swims to increase the leader to 15lb 18", 12lb 24", 10lb 60" with the latter section being fluorocarbon. The fly range of my choice would then include a range of big bushy dries such as caddis patterns, hoppers, moths, daddies and, especially in spring, small floating fry patterns. More on this later. For subsurface, suspender midge patterns and buoyant snail patterns (the latter may also be fished at the surface) plus a range of fast sinking buzzer patterns for fish grubbing around on the bottom.

Surface Fishing.

On many waters, during summer and autumn carp will be seen cruising in the upper layers. By taking time to observe such activity, a picture of the fishes patrol routes forms and hence the sites to lay siege to such cruisers can be seen. The main ambush points in my experience have been marginal areas, with weed/lily beds, points jutting out into the lake and the bays caused by such constrictions, plus corners of lakes. This latter area is one to look for when scum mats build up as numbers of insects become trapped in such areas. This is why you often find shoals of fry here as both shelter and a plentiful food supply is available, it is not only trout that take advantage of such banquets!

As for when to fish what, experimentation to find out what works on your own waters is the key but I have found the following generalisations to be consistently successful. Buoyant snail patterns fished static around lilies to cruisers are superb. An alternative can be to use a sinking line on a 24" leader to "pop up" the snail pattern off the bottom and bring it back in long slow pulls with long pauses. This causes the pattern to rise and fall in the water like the natural. I have often found post-spawning carp willing to attack fry in marginal reeds, and small floating fry patterns in deer hair or foam work well in say sizes 10 12 longshank. Fished static, then twitched as fish cruise by is exciting stuff, and some takes can be very aggressive. I remember once catching a 16lb mirror whilst plug fishing for pike. I did not see the fish until just before it went into the net. Having had an excellent scrap, I nearly fell over when I realised it was a carp as the fish had come up and taken the popper off the top. I was even more amazed when I found it was not foul hooked but had completely engulfed the popper. Finally, fishing a big bushy dry in the surface film where scum mats have built up or in quiet bays or corners, takes patrolling fish continuously. Sedge patterns, moths and daddies are top during late summer and early autumn but in early season make use of mayfly patterns. I say again, it is not only trout that take em!

Subsurface Tactics.

Despite the wealth of natural aquatic food items for fish to browse upon during summer, I have found that subsurface, one food form reigns supreme. These are buzzer patterns or midge larvae, bloodworm, call them what you like. When used they work! A suspender buzzer tied on a heavy weight size 12 might not look as pretty as some of the lighter-weight trout versions, but it works. Fish it around scum mats, bays, and weed beds to cruising fish or drift fish them from points, out into the lake. When fishing way this you also get another upside. Should any rudd be present in the water they often go for this pattern, which is rather nice providing it does not pip a twenty to the fly! - Unless of course, it is a rather special and rare 2lber!

Other than this, fast sinking epoxy-based buzzer patterns are little gems for bottom feeders. My favorite tactic here is to walk the lake looking for the Jacuzzi sent up by an actively feeding carp on the bottom. The fly is then cast just beyond so that it sinks back into the commotion being stirred up below. Being so small, carp tend not to spook from such patterns unlike larger baits dropped on top of them. The line just sails away or at least twitches about on the surface. More often than not, with this delicate style, the fish moves off so confidently that it hooks itself (rather like the good old bolt rig) with the resistance of the line on the surface helping to tap the hook in. By gently lifting into the fish, you do the rest, then it's hang on and enjoy!

What tactics you adopt on any day will depend upon conditions, and this approach is not for bad weather, but for the times when fish are either actively feeding on the bottom or are visibly moving in the upper layers. It is a very mobile and exciting approach that can not only get into your system, but being that little bit different can seduce the more wary specimens that have seen it all (well nearly all) before.

For more information on this approach or inquiries on guided fishing e-mail me on

Tight lines!