Through the years I have tried all kinds of fishing and eventually
started guiding for about all of them. About the only thing we don't
target here at Tightline is Grayling,.... I think! Either way, through out the years of fishing and learning to target different species I
feel it has strengthened my skills for species I already target. Every
specie requires different skills, equipment, techniques, and knowledge
of the resource. Once you develop these skills they are embedded into
your tool belt of knowledge and can take you a long ways when targeting
your go-to species.
For me, my latest challenge was Carp. After targeting these fish for a
few years I am comfortable and good to guide for them! Now that I am targeting them on a regular basis I can honestly say that they might be The Ultimate game fish! They are big, they eat just about everything, they can be tough to catch, and they are in a large variety of waters. I would almost be willing to bet that wherever you are reading this that there are Carp in the waters near you.
I started fly fishing for Carp and continue to do so but find myself in love with euro style fishing for them. Some of you know what I mean but for those who don't it is a fancy way to bait fish. Depending on the distance I need to cast I typically use a rod between 8 and 12 feet long and at the end of the rod is a 2 to 4 ounce sinker that is pegged on the line. From there I have a hair rig. My hair rigs are tied of 20 pound braid and have a long shank size 6 hook that is
snelled and extending past the hook is a short 3/4 inch piece of line
that I attach my bait to. My bait varies but lately I have been using
pop up (floating) artificial corn. I typically add my own scent on top of this to
create my bite. Carp are extremely intelligent as well as have one of the best taste glands around. My go-to is either something sweet like Pineapple or Hot like Hot Sauce. Both of these are great triggers for Carp. In Europe they are allowed to bait or chum for the fish so they can get them hooked on a bait and then present a stealthy version of that bait. In Colorado we are not allowed to chum so heavily scented baits that draw the Carp in from long distances are best. The way these hair rigs are set up is when the Carp picks it up the heavy
weight sets the hook and the Carp takes off running. I have my rods in a Euro-style beeper rod pod or rod holder. My rods sit on a horizontal holder and the line runs through an electronic beeper so when the Carp takes off running
my beeper goes off telling me I have a fish. It is hard to describe this in words but this is a high action sport. The thing that gets me is learning and making different rigs with different scents to increase hook up rate. I know some of you are thinking that Carp are not hard to catch but have you really tried? I encourage everyone that says Carp are easy to catch then I challenge you to go out and in 3 hours produce 10 fish on rod and reel hooked in the mouth. It is way tougher than it seems but once you dial them in we have 20 and 40 fish days.
Lastly, I hear people saying they are a trash fish or junk. Carp were originally brought into the USA as a food source and have gotten a bad reputation since but how many of you catch and release anyways? I know I do so at the end of the day I am just looking for a challenge and a hard fight, Carp fill both those needs!