Here in Surrey we suffer from a lack of good access to trout waters, other than the odd put and take fishery which tend to be expensive. What we do have in abundance are commercial carp fisheries. Within 25 miles of my house I can fish 30 or so waters for a small day ticket fee. Many of these water do not allow fly fishing however but there are a few that do and these offer great sport on a warm summers evening. I fish coarse matches on one of these complexes frequently and often the carp can be caught just below the surface. So following on from a match , the following day I shipped up at Willinghurst fisheries at about 5pm . There were already several fly anglers present, chasing the big fish on Horseshoe lake, New lake had a few coarse anglers so I took myself off to one of the other lakes. It was a warm windless evening which usually makes spotting the fish easy…only there were none cruising around. Undeterred I set up my 10 foot 7 weight rod with a WF 7 floating line, 10 feet of 12 lbs. breaking strain flurocarbon and a deer hair dog biscuit fly.
My approach to this type of fishing is very similar to how I attack a swim when coarse fishing. I feed little and often and keep the feed tight. I catapulted out about a dozen chum mixers and waited. Not far, just about 15 meters from the bank so that accurate casting is easy and there are a minimum of back casts. It wasn’t long before the first swirl arrived. I waited until they had eaten all the free offerings before firing out another 4 or 5. These were quickly engulfed and suddenly there were cruising carp all over the place clearly looking for food. The next pouchful was quickly followed by an accurate cast into the middle of the fish. I barely had time to straighten the line when with an audible whoosh and a huge splash a carp engulfed the fly and took off for the far bank. In the warm weather carp will fight hard and long if allowed to. It is important to get them in as fast as possible, unhook and release them and make sure they recover before letting them swim off. the shorter the fight, the faster the recovery time.
Anyway, after a short but hard scrap the carp found itself on my unhooking mat. A lovely common of around 5lb. after returning the fish, I started to feed again and the pattern was repeated.
In the course of two hours 9 commons and one mirror were landed, nothing huge, with the best a respectable 10lbs 8ozs. Several fish were lost and one foul hooked as it slashed at the fly. This was a good night with the fish feeding confidently. That said there were several big fish that had a bit more cunning about them. they would inspect the fly closely even pushing it with their noses and often bolting if it didn’t move properly. I have had evenings where every fish was suspicious and ate every fee offering leaving just my fly sitting alone and unloved.
I did learn a few things this trip. Firstly that the fly should hit the water as soon after the free offerings as possible. If you cast the fly into the feeding fish too late after the feed they often bolted. Secondly, the fly had to land with roughly the same impact as the loose feed, that is to say hit the water at a similar velocity. The parachute cast was the best option for this. If it crashed in again the fish would spook. If the fly hit the water actually sank briefly, then takes took far longer. The third thing which I will work on next trip was that I hooked two carp while retrieving the fly quite quickly . The first I thought was probably a foul hooked fish but I saw the second fish turn and chase the fly before taking it. After 2 hours of intense action, horseflies and a broken landing net head convinced me it was time to go. All in all great fun for the cost of a bag of chum mixers, 4 flies and a landing net !