Carp Are The Smallmouth Angler’s Bonus Fish

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If you want a bonus fish when you are angling for smallmouth bass the carp is a winner.

When I’m on a smallmouth river I always keep an eye out for feeding carp because going one on one with these fish is very challenging and exceptionally gratifying.

Frequently I spot them as their tail swings along the surface or just below it as they tip down head first to root food from the bottom in water a foot to three feet deep. These carp are very wary so it is important to wade very cautiously in order to prevent spooking them. Pause for one or two minutes when you get within casting distance of the carp and watch his feeding rhythm. Knowing this you can now cast your fly three to four feet upstream of him so it will drift along the stream bottom to him. The distance you need to cast upstream of the carp depends upon the depth of water and the speed of the current….just be sure your fly drifts close to the stream bottom. Keep a tight line on your fly so you see the strike (I rely on watching the two Scientific Anglers spaced along my leader to discern these strikes). Instantly set the hook with both your fly rod and line hand.

Frequently as you float the river in a canoe or boat you will spot carp by the mud that drifts downstream from their feeding banks. These carp usually work their way slowly upstream so use your polarized glasses in order to be sure you are casting well ahead of them. I either rely on feeling these strikes or seeing the strikes on the SA Indicators.

As soon as you hook your carp put him on the reel and be sure you have 150 feet of backing on the reel because a 15 pound carp will often take out this much backing on his first runs.

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