Book Review: The Orvis Beginner's Guide to Carp Flies

The single most difficult part of fly fishing for carp (and trust me, there are many, many difficult aspects of carp fishing) is figuring out what fly to use and when. Trout you can pattern. With some basic entomology skills and by keeping your eyes open, you can pretty well figure out which bug to use and when. And when there's nothing hatching, if you stick the right attractor pattern in a trout's grill, the fish is often going to eat it.

But carp are omnivores. They'll eat anything from Cheetos to pond scum, bugs, little fish, crayfish and worms. But they're also highly sensory and picky. Figuring out what to use and when is what separates good from great in carp fishing.

fly fish, carp, fishing book
The Orvis Beginner's Guide to Carp FliesField & Stream

That's why I like Dan Frasier's new book, the Orvis Beginner's Guide to Carp Flies so much. It get's right to the meat of the issue, literally. The book is really straightforward. This is what carp eat. This is where you find it. These are flies that mimic that. Here's how you fish them. Just that simple. 101 patterns with recipes and rationale. In other words, all you need to focus on, bug-wise, to catch carp anywhere in America (and that, of course, is the beauty of carp… you can find them almost anywhere in America).

Frasier is the fly-fishing editor of CarpPro e-magazine, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so he's a specialist. He's been a trusted source for me over the years as I've ventured into carp fishing and writing about it. His credibility is tops. He's also a gifted writer and this is an easy read; it's the kind of book you can pour through all at once, or pick through piece by piece. Most people will take it in a section at a time, and then revisit specific patterns and applications as they get more into it. The best how-to fly-fishing books are just like that.

This one costs $12.95. Look for it at fly shops, or visit orvis.com.