Merwin: Sell Me On Carp

Jerry Gibbs

Once in a while I hear some noises from people who are all enthusiastic about fishing for carp. That's especially true most recently from some fly fishermen who have discovered that shallow- water carp will sometimes eat small fuzzy flies and will pull very hard when hooked. These guys tend to get upset when I say, "Yeah, but they're still carp."

I have caught carp on flies. I wrote about this a few years ago in our print edition, where I began by saying, "Casting a fly for carp is like dragging a piece of fried chicken through the local seniors' center. If it looks good and moves slowly enough, something will eventually try to gum it to death."

That sounds a little disdainful, just as it was supposed to sound. I know carp fishing is huge in western Europe. That's because those anglers have limited choices. In North America, we can fish for bass or trout or walleyes and more among a large selection of premier gamefish. So tell me why I should fish for carp?