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Cool Water Carpin’
Another summer is behind us, the fall foliage is in full color and soon the snow will be flying in many of our northern states. The waters of our favorite lakes and rivers are turning cooler and the carp have abandoned their shallow feeding grounds. It is time to put the fly rods away and concentrate on tying flies for next season…right? Well, not exactly.
Although the shallow water flats of lakes and rivers are void of tailing carp, ponds and small shallow lakes can still provide some action for the fly angler. I am fortunate to have several waters near my South Eastern Pennsylvania home that provide me with opportunities to chase carp on the fly throughout the colder months. A couple of my favorite late fall / winter waters include a small spring fed lake that maintains a near constant water temperature year round and a series of small ponds in an industrial park. Typically choked with weeds during the summer months, these waters are now virtually weed free and very fishable.
Due to the small size and relatively shallow water; carp will usually be within casting range at some point during the day. Late morning and early afternoon when the sun is high usually provides the most activity as the suns rays slightly warm the water. Typical fly patterns will continue to produce early on, but as the fall progresses into winter the carp seem to feed less frequently and I have noticed that smaller flies become more productive.
One of my favorite patterns for late season action is the maggot. It is a very easy and durable pattern that the carp in my area show a great interest in. The stark contrast of the creamy white body against the dark debris on the bottom may be what captures the attention of the increasingly lethargic carp. Other diminutive patterns that have been effective include Scuds, Sow Bugs and San Juan Worms tied in bright colors such as pink, orange and even florescent green.
It has been my experience that the carp will not take the fly on the fall (which is common during the warmer months), but will slowly glide toward the static fly and inhale it from its resting place on the bottom. Takes can be very subtle, so watch the line carefully for any slight movement.
So…instead of sitting behind the tying bench and sipping your favorite libation; bundle up and grab the fly rod for some late season action.
How to tie the Maggot Fly
1. Wrap thread over hook shank to form a base.
2. Attach the lead wire to the middle one third of the hook shank extending rearward, and then wrap forward and tie off. The lead should be wrapped on the middle one third of the hook shank leaving space at the head and tail; this will ensure the cigar shaped taper of the fly's body.
3. Tie in the Larva Lace at the hook bend extending to the rear.
4. Make multiple wraps with the tying thread to completely cover the lead and form the body of the fly. Leave the final wrap of the thread behind the eye of the hook.
5. Wrap the Larva Lace forward to cover the entire body.
6. Tie off , whip finish and add a drop of cement to the head.