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fly fishing for carp
Stalking carp

Stalking Carps

The Permits of the Lakes

The rising water temperatures of our rivers, the decline in insects and the use by sun-seekers and boat tourists make it increasingly difficult for fly fishermen in summer to be able to indulge in their hobby undisturbed. Flexibility is required! For many years I have therefore also been targeting the saltwater flats and the flats of the lakes but also fish a lot with the belly boat - and the trend is rising!

This requires rethinking and approaching other fish species in order to be successful with the fly there as well. One fish that has increasingly become the focus of my interest in recent years is the carp. There is more to catching a carp on a fly than meets the eye, as many articles and videos on social media related to carp are akin to visiting a "trout pool", a busy fishing pond or private waterfront, in which the fish are used to being fed by fishermen and visitors and behave in a completely different manner than can be expected from a wild carp. Many of these carp fly fishermen even start by feeding bread first or other surface baits, then place the bread fly in between. Admittedly, this type of carp fishing with floating bread etc. is quite simple and can be compared to a fly fisherman who fishes with a pellet fly in a put and take trout pond. A possible exception in these areas is fly fishing for carp in the early spring before the carp fishermen start feeding the fish. If they do so, this is the sign to stop fishing in such areas with the fly, because after a short time the carp will get used to their uncareful behavior again, which they have forgotten over the winter.


Proper carp fly fishing for wild fish - such as on Lake Constance - is very demanding and is very similar to stalking permits on a flat. I deliberately say permits here, because carp are anything but easy to outsmart, especially if they only know natural food and ignore proven, flashy carp baits like glo bugs. Even an experienced pike fisherman who successfully catches pike with a fly will quickly notice that carp fishing for wild fish is in a completely different league, especially when it comes to fish weighing more than 10 kg. The carp is not only smarter but also much more sensitive to disturbances. You don't have to see a pike to catch it. Although you can also use a sinking line to fish and perhaps hook a carp that is cruising in several meters of depth and can be detected by his bubble track, the High School of carp fishing with a fly is sight fishing. Stalking and observing the fish is a basic requirement in order to be able to sight fish for it successfully. Once you have found a carp, you must also be able to present to fly without spooking it. So one can be happy to land one carp a day. If you catch more than three fish a day, you are either in an unspoiled area where the carp have never had any contact with fly fishers or even people (which is hardly possible in central Europe) or almost certainly in a body of water of the category mentioned above, where domesticated carp are romping about. What makes carp fishing in natural waters even more difficult is that many of them only offer a few places where wild carp can also be successfully fished within sight.

Here are a few nice fish that might encourage some of you to pay more attention to fly fishing for wild carp. Despite knowing quite a lot about carp, I always learn something new. -At some point there will also be a detailed carp tutorial on this page, because it looks like carp fishing with a fly has, at least for me, a similar addictive potential as correct hucho fishing with a streamer.

My tackle for big carp:

CTS Affinity X 9ft. #10. Loop OPTi Runner, WF 9 or10 F (short belly because of space!), leader tip usually 0.30mm (-0.35mm), but never less than 0.25mm, leader length 3-4.5m


As you can see, there is no #7 or #8 rod listed here, because when fishing for big carp, you might spot fish over 20 kg. If you want to be able to offer perole to such a fish, the backbone of the rod must be strong enough. Since I refuse long fights because of the health of the fish, it goes without saying that leader thicknesses below 0.25 mm are not an option for me.

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