Saturday, September 23, 2017

Carolina Bonefish FAQs

What is the Carolina bonefish?

The Carolina bonefish relates to tailingand mudding common carp in shallow water situations. This activity is very similar to bonefish and redfish, which is why I picked the name of the site. Also, the skills and tactics needed to catch carp will apply to all sightfishing scenarios using the flyrod.

Why chase carp?

What more do you need than backyard availability, flats style-excursions, learn or practice saltwater skills, 30+ shots a day, long season, and big, powerful fish to bend your rod. Up for the challenge?
How big to the fish get? Charlotte area lakes yield common carp from 4-10lbs on average with 12 to 15lb fish caught every year. Shots at even bigger fish do happen each year. Grass carp can easily reach 25lbs. Either way, carp are the biggest fish most people ever catch in freshwater on the fly.

What do carp eat?

Carp will eat virtually anything in their environment being plant or animal matter, ranging from various beetles, larvae, mollusks, crayfish, plants, leaves, mulberries, cottonwood seeds, dragonflies, and baitfish.

What is the difference between common carp and grass carp?.

This is a great question and often a source of confusion. The tactics and techniques will differ depending on what your encountering on the water, so it pays to know the differences. As far as common carp go, they are burnt orange to golden in color particularly the tails, they have barbels, large suction-type mouths, eat anything(omnivorous) and are frequently found tailling of mudding. Grass carp tend to be more silver in color, have slender, bullet heads and mouths vegetarians (herbivorous), and are found cruising rather than tailing. Both are extremely wary, offering a challenging and addicting flyrod target.

Do I need to purchase new equipment to start chasing carp?

No, most anglers that trout or bass fish have an outfit and flies that will work. If not, a 9ft 6wt rod is perfect. Match the rod with a good reel with a stutter free drag. Remember this is not brook trout fishing. You will use your drag and see your backing going thru the guides. Also carp fishing is 100% sightfishing. Without the best glasses you can afford, you are dead on the water. I also prefer fluorocarbon tippets using the longest leader I can consistently turn over for the given conditions(10-14 ft). All guide trips do include everything you will need except a license.

What type of flies work best?

If you ever had some tell you presentation is more important than the type of fly, you are on your way to being a carp flyrod junkie. Don't get me wrong though, a few confidence flies never hurt particularly with carp. Try carp clousers, rubberlegged anythings, headstands and whitlock's squirrel nymphs for common carp. Try woolly worms, crazy charlies and black beetles for grass carp. Be sure to have bead-chained and lead-eyed varieties of your favorite fly.

What is the best time of day and time of year?

The season starts post spawn which is around the last week of April/first of May. The peak months are June through Oct/Nov is good if the weather holds. Carp will tolerate drought conditions and water temps to about ninety. With all things being equal, I like early am or late pm. I try to setup the day for clients with the sun and wind to optimize sightfishing conditions. There a few little tricks/trends on the water that you will learn that will work anywhere you go. Weather, boat traffic water levels,and angler experience can all be a factor.

How to you fight and land these larger fish?

Learning to clear the line is the first step when fighting carp or any larger fish for that matter. Things happen very quickly on the flats and making mistakes is the best way to learn. Better to learn with carp than that expensive trip to the Keys or Belize. After the fish is on the reel apply sideways pressure using the butt of the rod. Always attempt to turn the head of the fish opposite of there momentum.

I've heard of tailing carp, what exactly is that?

A tailing carp is a feeding carp, one that has it's head down in the mud or on the bottom and is literally standing on its head, often times with it's tail breaking and protruding form the waters' surface. The redfish is a classic example of a tailing fish.

In the spring I see carp splashing like crazy, what are they doing?

It has been our experience that these fish are in the spawing phase and have other things on their mind that do not pertain to food. Success with these fish will be extremely limited.

Will a stationary carp eat?

Stationary carp will eat more readily than a cruiser or a open water splasher, however they are not as happy as a feeding carp. Regardless, a cast to these fish will do things for you, 1. give you a chance you would not have had if you didn't cast, 2. provide excellent practice for that next cast.

Are carp vegetarians?

Carp are omnivorous, that is eating both plant and animal matter. Grass carp diets are much more vegetarian, but will take a fly representing non-plant item.

How do I detect a strike?

After about a hundred takes and shots(2-3trips) you will figure it out. This is the most difficult thing about carp on the fly. Takes are subtle and most anglers have a hard time with a strip stikes(another essential saltwater skill you will learn carp fishing) Remember, carp vaccuum feed so many times the take is visual such as a surge forward, flaring lips or a disappearing fly. Direct contact with the fly with no slack between tip of rod and fly is essential.

Do you have a recipe for carp?

Bring 2 or 3 carp home alive and place in bathtub. Change water regularly to flush the fish out well. Kids will love playing with them as well since the are quite social. Filet and place on cedar planks with your favorite seasonings. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove and throw fish away and eat the plank of cedar. In all honesty, my European clients tell me they are quite tasty and after all carp were brought here as a food source in the 1800's. Email me with your favorite recipes.

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