Targeting Carp with a fly rod is as entertaining as it is difficult. Using the right gear increases your chances of success. And, if you've read any of our other species-centered blog posts, you probably have your fly rod and fly reel picked out. If not, check out our posts about fly rods and fly reels for Carp. To round out our posts about how to choose the right gear for Carp, this post will provide information and insights into choosing the right fly line.
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Choose a fly line that matches your fly rod. If you're fishing an 8wt rod, choose an 8wt fly line.
Most Carp fishing is done in freshwater scenarios where water temps are moderate, so choose a fly line that's built for freshwater fishing. If you're confused about which lines are designed for cold water and which lines are designed for tropical conditions, we've covered the topic here.
The majority of Carp fishing is also sight fishing. Carp can definitely be targeted using a blind casting method, but it's easier and more fun to target these fish in shallow water. They're called the 'freshwater Bonefish' for a reason. Therefore, a floating line is optimal for 90% of Carp fishing.
Most traditional freshwater fly lines will do the trick. Some lines work better than others, however, especially in different angling scenarios.
If you're targeting Carp in shallow water on a lake or a larger river, they're probably spooky. Carp can be technical, especially when feeding on the freshwater flats. Therefore, a heavily weighted line with an aggressive front taper isn't always the best choice. A line with a longer taper and a little more delicacy and control at longer distances is recommended.
RIO's all-new Perception Elite Fly Line strikes a nice balance between enough weight to turn over larger flies in wind and a taper that encourages line control while still loading fast action rods at shorter distances. Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Fly Line is another great option for Carp.
Partnering the right line with the right rod matters, too. If you're fishing a high-performance, fast-action fly rod, choosing a line that will load your rod properly is important. Lighter lines with longer tapers are built for moderate action rods or long-distance casting. RIO Technical Trout Elite isn't going to load a fast action fly rod at short range (or turnover large flies). Therefore, choosing a line with a little more mass in the tip and a shorter taper is ideal. This is especially important when you're targeting Carp with larger crayfish patterns or in windy conditions.
Look for a line that strikes a nice balance between mass in the head and a taper that encourages long-distance line control. The Orvis Pro Power Taper is one such line featuring a powerful head combined with an extended rear taper for enhanced loop control AND the ability to turn over large flies.
Sometimes, targeting Carp on the fly is secondary. Maybe you're targeting Bass and you see feeding Carp or you're floating a western tailwater for Trout and Carp become present in the lower reaches of the river. We often get the question 'can I use this fly line for Bass AND Trout' or 'Stripers AND Redfish'. The answer is definitely 'yes'. Typically, a fly line can be used for multiple species. However, if you plan on targeting multiple species with one line, choose a line that's versatile and well-rounded. A technical Trout line won't work well for Pike.
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