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Carp Advice

2013/12/8 21:26
From Granville
Posts: 679
The Juniata River borders my front yard and I spend a pretty good chunk of time fishing it year round. There are some dandy carp in there that I have caught on spinning and baitcasting equipment with various homemade baits with great success, but now I am interested in trying to fool these monsters with my fly rod. Any advice on flies and/or tactics that people have had great success with for carp?

BTW, I am REALLY new to fly fishing and have only had a rod for a short time. I bought a 6 weight because I figured it would be a good rod for both trout and bass. Due to the Juniata being in my front yard and the smallmouth fishing being fantastic this is the type of fly fishing I will be doing most often, but is the 6 weight hefty enough for carp or should I look into a beefier rod? The Juniata has some real hogs in it with fish over 20 lbs very common and the state record came from the river at roughly 55 lbs.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 8:41

Re: Carp Advice

2009/1/3 13:51
Posts: 5
I've caught some really monster carp in the Juniata, but not on fly rod. (Mostly at night on crayfish lures while fishing for walleye.) I've considered going for them during big hatches and cicada times in the late summer evenings.

Fly rod stoutness and line size are more considerations for fly size and fish size.

I've done most of my carp fishing on smaller limestone streams with fish less than 10 lbs. But then I've eaten some of those. I'd never eat anything out of the Juniata.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 9:08

Re: Carp Advice

2011/2/15 17:20
From Philly
Posts: 35
I only fished the J once, but man if those weren't some of the biggest carp I've seen.

If a new rod is an option, I'd go up to an 8wt...esp for the river. It'll help toss bigger bass bugs too.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 9:19

Re: Carp Advice

2013/12/8 21:26
From Granville
Posts: 679
Did I understand that you ate some of the carp you caught from the smaller limestone streams? If I understood that correctly, how were they? I release 99.9% of everything that I catch but occasionally like to keep a fish for dinner if I'll eat it that night or in a day or so. I'd try a carp. And I've eaten a few smallmouths out of the river and they were delicious. There might be some contamination in the fish but today we find mercury and PCB's in so much of our water. At least the river is in much better shape today (as far as pollution is concerned) than it was 40 years ago or so. Now if we can just figure out how to stop whatever is happening to the smallies in the lower Juniata and Susquehanna. These are truly world class smallmouth rivers.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 9:30

Re: Carp Advice

2012/6/5 21:59
Posts: 181
I've never eaten a carp but I can't imagine something that ugly tasting very good. I did, once catch a monster carp with a green weeinie on a 7' 3 wt.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 9:49
Seven days without fishing makes one weak.

Re: Carp Advice

2011/7/6 12:30
From Ephrata, PA
Posts: 1313
Yes I've landed big carp on small gear as well. A 6wt would be fine I think, but it's big water with lots of room for that pig to run so it couldn't hurt having a bigger rod.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 9:53

Re: Carp Advice

2010/11/24 13:19
From Perkasie PA
Posts: 6
I've spent a good portion of my fishing time the last two years chasing carp on a fly rod, especially at night under street lights. I've caught them between 5 -15 lbs out of a stream.

Here are some tips based on what I've learned the past few years through lots of trial and error.

1.I'd suggest not wading if you don't have to. If you do have to wade, get to a spot and don't move (including casting) for a good 10-20 minutes until they calm down and move into position. Carp can be very spooky and sense vibrations in the water that will send them flying away really fast.

2. When you're using baits, or just letting something sit on the bottom, it's a little easier because carp won't sense that movement. With a fly, it poses more of a challenge with getting your fly in place, drag, etc. This will be something you'll have to practice to get it right.

3.Use as light line as you can, and a very long leader. I wouldn't go over 4x for spooky carp. If they feel that line, you're screwed. Don’t worry about the 4x strength, carp are strong and you can play them for a while so keep your drag loose.

4.Don't bother with cruising or resting fish. Only look for tailing/mudding fish, which are feeding.

5.You will usually see them feeding in groups of two or three. Look for the mud trails in the water. I would highly suggest using a weighted fly unless you see them rising to bugs or mulberries, casting upstream and timing it so the fly drifts right into the feeding zone and rests, about 4 or 5 feet in front of where they’ll be moving through. You want to keep your fly well ahead of your line so they don’t feel it so stay well upstream from them. As they approach, if you’re fishing an imitation of some aquatic creature, I’d give it the slightest twitch to show movement. Any other egg flies or whatever, I’d just let sit still.

6.The takes are very subtle. Remember, Carp won’t really bite something, they’ll do more of a vacuum inhale like a sucker. You’ll feel a slight movement in your line. Set immediately because if they don’t think it’s food, they’ll blow it right out of their mouths.

7.As I said above, they are very strong. Don’t worry about tiring them out. Take your time getting them in and if they wanna run you into backing 5 times, let them do it. I’ve caught 12 lb carp using 5x and a 4 weight glass rod while fishing for trout and the fish swam off just fine.

8. For fly patterns, they are hundreds of barbell eye patterns out there these days but I like to stick with basics. Small crayfish, big hellgrammites or damselfly nymphs, big worm patterns. For more gaudy stuff, I opt for big egg patterns (Like King Salmon sized egg patterns), big sucker spawns or other egg cluster patterns, or you can tie corn flies, and look up Pat Cohen’s maggot cluster. That one has been great for me. has tons of patterns as well.

They are fun as hell to catch and once you get into it, it’s very addicting. I hope this helps. Good luck.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 10:03

Re: Carp Advice
2006/9/9 17:32
From Gettysburg
Posts: 439
If you're carping on the Juniata River, I would recommend a bigger fly rod than a 6WT. You also want a good drag with lots of backing as the large fish in rivers like this really run - much further than any bass or cattie (as you know from using spin gear). A 6WT is fine for trout and bass but large carp in a big're undergunned with a 6 IMO.

Check the Warm water forum - there are many threads on carp fishing with lots of info for a newbie seeking to FF for carp.

Posted on: 2014/3/19 10:04

Re: Carp Advice

2007/5/29 14:32
From SE PA - Montgomery County
Posts: 225
Dub has it nailed. I can only add to that a fly that I prefer called the "backstabber" - Google it for pattern recipes.

Posted on: 2014/3/20 10:14

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