It’s all very basic when it comes to carp fishing

Jake Brady, one of two anglers who drove 1,105 miles from Faribault, Minn., to compete earlier this month in Carpacolyspe 2013, holds up one of the carp he caught from the Colorado River.

The basics of carp fishing are basic, indeed.

That 4- or 5-weight trout rod will suffice, although you might go a bit heavier if you’re fishing in weeds or brush.

Use 3x or 4x tippet, although 2x will be OK in discolored water or if the fish are particularly well-muscled.

Remember, these fish were originally brought to the U.S. in 1831 to augment local diets and have long been known as hard-fighting sport fish with highly refined senses of smell, sight and hearing.

And how about those flies?

Although angling author Dave Whitlock said he selects his carp flies as if he were “fishing for selective brown trout or spooky permit,” most carp anglers aren’t that picky.

In fact, it’s at times easiest to fool these fish using flies resembling cottonwood fluff or mulberry seeds.

A peek at the Western Anglers Fly Shop blog site ( says carp aren’t selective — understandable with the wide range of waters you find them in — and most nymph patterns (hare’s ears, woolly buggers, pheasant tails, Prince nymphs, etc.) in the size 6-12 range will do the trick of fooling this omnivorous fish.

During Western Anglers’ Carpocalyse 2013, the participating anglers used a variety of crayfish patterns and soft-hackled nymphs but “mostly used big, bright orange stuff,” said Keith Hutcheson at Western Anglers.

“Carp fishing is user-friendly,” said Justin Edge, a fishing guide for Western Anglers and the official photographer for Carpocalypse 2013. “You don’t need to buy new equipment. That same equipment you use for trout fishing will work for carp.”

But since it’s not uncommon for these fish to reach 20-30 pounds, you might need a bigger net.


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