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Fly Fishing For Carp With Extra Terrestrial Patterns

Fly Fishing For Carp With Extra Terrestrial Patterns

Flies, creatures and strange surface patterns… Jamie Sandford shares an alternative method of catching carp off the surface with something extra terrestrial…

It’s fair to say that the most common ‘go to’ pattern for summer surface fishing for carp is the classic ‘Deer Hair Mixer and Bread Fly’ and although there’s nothing wrong with using such patterns, sometimes we need to think outside the box, experiment, and most importantly, have fun! The aim of this piece is to make those that may not be aware of the variations and alternative patterns that can be used to great success in your ‘FlyCarpin’ adventures.

Traditional dries such as the Adam’s Irresistible will take surface feeding carp
Traditional dries such as the Adam’s Irresistible will take surface feeding carp

From Mixer Pellets To Creative Flies

In the past I have introduced chum mixers via the catapult and cast my mixer fly to the centre of those big boils and swirls as carp rush to take them from the surface. However, all too very often I’ve had refusals, carp boil and spook away after having inspected the Mixer Fly. Content with the free offerings that have been consumed, they disappear never to be seen again…Now what?

With this in mind it’s led me to try smaller (sometimes), suggestive and more ‘creative’ flies. Let’s not forgot that carp are a very inquisitive and curious species that will openly sample items on the surface. There are many of us that will have experienced watching carp come to the surface to sip down flotsam, weed, twigs and debris!
It’s also important to remember that fish (in this instance carp) spend a lifetime eating a variety of food items from chronomids, terrestrials, snails, worms and fish with this diet only being supplemented from the addition of human input like boilies, pellets and dog biscuits.

A selection of Jamie’s modern carp patterns.
A selection of Jamie’s modern carp patterns.

Inspect And Engulf

A particular session some years ago led me to leave the mixers in the bag and actively stalk and sight-fish individual carp that were cruising along the surface on my local ponds evidently taking items off the top.

Once a carp had been targeted a well-timed cast ahead of the fish meant I could stealthily drag the fly into place. (In this situation a small ant with a black marabou body works well).

The wake of the fly caused the carp to turn, Inspect and engulf; FISH ON! If I had used mixers to get the fish ‘going’ would I have over fed them? Or spooked the fish off before I’d even had the opportunity to make a cast? The fish was already feeding and actively seeking items to eat and inspect – Why add more?

I can’t say that the creatures and beetles that look like something from a Sci-Fi film catch me ‘more’ fish, but, I can say that it’s very exciting and different catching a carp on a creature that’s fluorescent pink with several legs!

Jamie returns a fully scaled mirror carp taken on a terrestrial pattern.

Tying Up The Creatures

In recent years I have taken up fly-tying and although I’ve a lot to learn I feel I can tie something that doesn’t fall apart after the first cast. Due to the fact that I fish for a variety of species like perch, trout and silverfish using ultra light soft plastics I wanted to incorporate these kinds of lures into my fly-tying/fishing.

Through trial and error I have tied and fished with a variety of beetles/creatures in different sizes and colours, as well as adding movement from the use of silly legs, chenille and marabou.

I can’t say that the creatures and beetles that look like something from a Sci-Fi film catch me ‘more’ fish, but, I can say that it’s very exciting and different catching a carp on a creature that’s fluorescent pink with several legs!

The above is written with regards to my experiences within the U.K. and due to the fact that I fish stocked fisheries it means I must abide by fishery rules with regards to hook’s (something to bear in mind when tying) equipment, net size requirements and un-hooking mats. My standard 9ft 7/8-wt is my go to rod for carp on the fly with power to play fish from snags whilst retaining that ‘fun factor’.

Sometimes something a little different will work on your 7/8-wt fly rod!

My only advice would be, the next time you target carp with the fly rod, take note of their behaviour and what they are feeding on. When it comes to tying flies or buying shop bought, try something different, you might just be surprised!

Golden bones- great sport can be had on the fly rod. Try experimenting with your patterns and leave the chum mixers at home!
Golden bones- great sport can be had on the fly rod. Try experimenting with your patterns and leave the chum mixers at home!

Jamie Sandford

Jamie Sandford has been an avid fisherman all his life taking an interest in a variety of fishing styles both in the U.K. and abroad. Based in Cumbria he combines his love of fishing with being outdoors enjoying all aspects of the countryside. Jamie favourite style of fishing is lure fishing for trout, carp, pike and variety of sea species. He promotes fly fishing for carp through the Facebook page, Carp Champions.

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