Beginner's Luck

I like my surface fishing for carp, I’m rubbish with a fly rod, so fly fishing for carp has not really been on my radar, but that might be about to change. A couple of years ago I met a fly angler called John Blewitt on an Angling Trust course and we have kept in touch. John fancied catching a carp on the fly and I had experience of some good surface fishing venues, it seemed logical to combine John’s skills and my knowledge to target carp on the fly.

For the purposes of our experiment we opted to go to a water called Greaves End which from my experience had a good head of carp which liked a floater. John would fish, I would feed, and make a brew or two. The conditions were perfect, with a warm October sun shiny from a cloudless sky onto a flat calm lake. I fired out some floaters and watch John get organised. John was using a 9ft. tip action 8 weight rod. A 9ft. 14.5 lb leader with a 7ft 10lb tippet attached. The first choice fly was a size 10 dog biscuit fly made with spun Deer hair.

It had been cold overnight, so I wasn’t particularly optimistic of a quick response to our free offerings but I was wrong and we soon had fish taking baits in front of us. It was down to John to work his magic and he didn’t disappoint and after a few near misses we had our first carp of the day on the fly. As the morning progressed I watched John catch several carp into double figures and in all honesty was totally impressed with the presentation he was getting with the fly gear. He was making it look all too easy, which I knew from my limited experience of trying to cast a fly, it most certainly wasn’t.

John has many years of experience at helping anglers cast a fly, but he was about to face one of his toughest challenges, getting me to present a fly to a group of feeding carp without spooking them all. After several tangles, hook-up’s on various trees and nettles I started to get the fly onto the water. Nowhere near the carp I was meant to be targeting but I was making progress.  A few casts later and I managed to get my hook-bait near the feeding fish, one fish turned and made a tentative move towards my bait, but changed its mind. I thought my chance had gone but another bigger fish didn’t have second thoughts and I was playing my first carp on a fly.

Where is the clutch? There isn’t one! What do I do when I get to the backing? Panic! It’s fair to say that fish led me a merry dance but somehow, sometime later, I managed to get it under control and eventually it was in the net. It was only then that we realised just how big it was. Not only did I have my first carp on fly gear it was also my first twenty on fly gear …. Now that really is Beginners Luck!

We fished on for a couple of hours, John back on the rod, me back on the catty and kettle, both of which I could cope with a lot easier. John had a couple  more including a nice mirror to finish. Our carp on the fly day had gone all too quickly, my guess is it won’t be our last.