Yes! Eventually I’ve managed to catch a carp on a ‘natural’ dry fly rather than one of the dog biscuit of bread imitation flies. It wasn’t a big fish, but it felt like I’d caught it ‘properly’!
It’s taken a while but today’s conditions just seemed made for the occasion. The weather forecast was a bit iffy with rain and wind forecast later on, but I managed to sneak down to Luccombes Fishery near Exeter first thing, for 2 hours of fly fishing for carp. The weather being hot, humid and overcast certainly seemed conducive for getting the fish feeding on the surface. I fished the middle of the 5 ponds at Luccombes, right next to a small reed bed which had quite a few fishing moving in and around. Plenty of fish seemed to be feeding on something at the surface but I couldn’t see what it was. Fishing at close range meant it was nice and easy to make a good presentation to the fish and see up close how they reacted to the bait.
I started off by loose feeding dog biscuits and fishing a biscuit imitation fly over the top. I used my #5 rod and floating line with straight 10lb fluorocarbon tippet. There are a few carp in the mid twenties at Luccombes so I wanted to make sure that if by any miracle I did hook one of the bigger fish I had a chance of landing it.
I didn’t feed many loose offerings but even so, whilst the carp did eventually pick off the biscuits one by one, they weren’t exactly going crazy for them. I only had one fish make any attempt to examine my fly, only to reject it pretty smartly. It seemed the fish were preoccupied with something else.
After a while, the clouds of small black midges that were everywhere made me realise that the fish were probably feeding on the emerging midges…. A swift change to my smallest black fly did result in a carp inhaling and ejecting the offering but frustratingly that was the only interest on that particular fly. I didn’t have anything else that might resemble the midge lava in the fly box, so had to experiment. It wasn’t until I switched to a daddy long-legs fly that I eventually got lucky and had two fish competing for the fly that I connected with a fish.
It came as no surprise given that I was fishing within inches of the reedbed that as soon as it was hooked the carp went straight into the reeds. Thankfully with the sturdy tackle it was easily muscled out and quickly in the net, photographed and returned swiftly.
The excitement seemed to have turned all the fish off of feeding on the surface, and with the forecast light drizzle arriving it seemed prudent to call it a day. Still – I’ve finally caught a carp on a ‘proper’ dry fly!