We arrived at the hottest part of the day and were encouraged to see a number of carp mooching at the surface and a few more finning gently along, leaving obvious v-waves in the otherwise still surface. Our set up is very simple; 9ft #5 rods, floating fly lines, 5ft of braided leader and 4ft of 7-8lb tippet. I like to use a braid because it can be treated with floatant to stay buoyant even if the water has a significant ripple on it. In fact I don’t mind if the whole lot is floating right down to the fly, as such I don’t buy into the thinking that the tippet must be sub-surface in order to get takes. The reason I prefer a floating leader is that I believe I miss too many takes if the leader sinks, in this scenario the strike pulls the fly downwards and out of their under-slung mouths. I find this is exacerbated by leaving the fly on the water, unmoved, for a long time as is often the case when there are carp in the vicinity of my fly. A sinking leader will end up being hung in a large U shape due to the lack of water movement and it’s impossible to lift it without first dunking the fly.
Not that I don’t still miss takes – if there’s one thing that characterises fly fishing for carp in my book it’s missed takes. That said, it’s possible to get hundreds of takes within a day (often from the same fish) and so long as you hit 10% of them you’re in for an arm-aching time. On our first trip I’m not sure I managed a 10% hook-up proportion. It was obvious from when we first chucked a few free offerings of dog biscuits in that they were in the mood for playing with their food. When they don’t take these freebies straight down, preferring to push them along for a foot or so first, or even rejecting them, you know that getting them to take a deer hair imitation is going to be a challenge. We did manage to land a couple though to kick things off.
This week I’m determined to go out and practice with the T120 outfit. This is a real weak point of mine when it comes to the BFCC distance casting events. At one point I sort of convinced myself that I’d become half decent at it, recording a PB just a fraction short of 80m (note the BFCC does not cast this from the platform that ISCF participants use). I also managed to win the event on a few occasions, however lately I’ve found myself right back where I started, struggling to hit even 55m in competition. I’m not sure what’s happened but I’m keen to fix it soon otherwise I’m in danger of Tracy casting further than me – and I can’t have that!