_by Kirk Deeter
Let’s face it, the carp’s number one asset is its convenience; they’re almost everywhere. Odds are you can get out and find a carp to cast at within an hour’s drive from where you’re reading this right now. And in many cases, it’s more like five minutes. I’m not encouraging you to blow off work this afternoon and go carp fishing, but I’m putting that out there.
While I’ve heard carp being called many things, from trash fish to the queen of rivers (Izaak Walton), here’s the deal: I’m hearing more and more people laud carp for their intelligence. One of my favorite trout gurus, who has fished from Alaska to the tropics for hundreds of species, called the carp “the smartest fish in the river.” (He shall remain nameless because I don’t want to put him on the spot.)
I’ll say it. Carp are harder to catch than bonefish, and a heck of a lot harder to catch than trout.
Sure, with trout, you have to figure out what’s hatching (if anything) and float your fly just so in order to get bit. But it’s not that hard once you figure it out. Why do you think anglers relish the abundant PMD hatch so much? Because they don’t have to think as hard when that happens.
For those of us who like to cast flies at carp (and that number is growing exponentially according to product manufacturers and retailers I’m speaking with), the good news about carp is that they are omnivores, meaning they eat just about anything, from Cheetos to grasshoppers to vegetation to minnows and crayfish. The bad news about carp is that they’re omnivores, meaning they eat just about anything from Cheetos to grasshoppers … well you get the idea. On any given day, an angler has an abundance of options when choosing a fly. This also means that on any given day, a carp has an abundance of reasons to refuse a fly. (Look closely at the photo above and you’ll note that this one indeed ate a hopper fly.)
One thing for sure is that carp will make you think. I wonder if you think I’ve completely lost my mind when I say this might be the smartest fish you can chase with flies?