Fly Fishing For CARP!

It's almost been a year since my friend Will Sudders kindly guided me at Walthamstow Reservoir for my first ever carp adventure. Lady luck was on our side that day and we managed to land a 16lb mirror carp and a whopping 36.5lb mirror carp. I had been itching to get back on the water and track down these monstrous creatures again, but this time on the fly. 

What I treasure most about fishing is that it has a habit of connecting you with like-minded people who all share the same passion for the outdoors. In the last few years my hobby has introduced me to some of my now nearest and dearest friends and for that I am hugely thankful – You know who you are!  

Via social media I met the lovely brothers Carl and Alex, we exchanged a few messages commenting on each others catches and it wasn’t long before we were planning our first fishing trip together.

Carl and Alex aged 20 and 17 live in Sussex and started fishing around 10 years ago. In the last few years they have been making videos about their adventures by the waters edge. Their YouTube Channel simply named 'Carl and Alex Fishing' aims to inspire the next generation of anglers and get young people excited about being in the outdoors and experiencing nature in it’s rawest form. Although their films focus on coarse fishing and in particular carp, they have a range of angling styles and locations in their videos. Both Carl and Alex are mad keen on fishing, but filming and editing has become a second passion of theirs, aiming to tell their angling stories in as cinematic ways possible.

Carl (left) and Alex (right) with two behemoth carp at Farlows Lake, Buckinghamshire


The concept of our collaboration was that we would exchange knowledge on techniques and the way we fished for certain species. As Carl and Alex hadn’t done much fly-fishing for carp we thought it would be a great opportunity to try this at Carl and Alex’s secret lake.

Summer brings an abundance of fly life, such activity transforms carp from bottom feeders to surface feeders. Stillwater carp actively feed on aquatic vegetation and insects, oh and anything else that ends up on the surface of their home including our bread and dog biscuit imitations. Although they say carp eat anything, more often than not they can also be tricky critters, which is why choosing the correct fly for the job is crucial. We ended up using bread and dog biscuit/ pellet imitations (bonio flies), the following patterns are also effective: black knats, cats whisker, worms, black foam beetles and damsels.

For me the best advice would be to take two setups (rods). I started on an Orvis 9ft 7wt Helios and ended with an Orvis 8ft 4wt Superfine Carbon – lightweight tackle is great fun as many of you will know, but be careful not to go too wispy, as carp can take you for a serious runaround and a 20+ pounder may leave you stuck in the underwater vegetation unable to move or even worse a snapped rod! If you are tackling the normal day ticket carp lake with fish up to low doubles and not too many snags, a powerful 6wt is adequate and a lot of fun with fish in the 2 to 10lb category. If however, there is a high chance of a double figure fish or a lot of snags - lilly pads etc… start with a 9ft 8wt or even a 9ft 9wt for extra stopping power as you may need to put the anchors on as the heavier fish can really charge off and crash through snags with impunity.

To conclude these fish are crazy cool, they pull like a train, make your heart tremble, their take is soft and subtle so beware of your timing on the strike – it can be much slower than a trout taking from the surface so even saying “God save the Queen” can still not be a long enough pause - as you will see in the video my first attempt didn’t go quite to plan! You have so many species to chase and often they will be in the same lake as one another so you never know what's on the end of the line, whether it is a common, mirror, grass or even Koi. They are all completely different, so inspecting them on the landing mat was a highlight for me. Carp fishing is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get!!

I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking… bravo to Carl and Alex, they are two hugely talented individuals with so much charisma - the future is looking bright boys!!

P.s. Don’t forget the essentials: unhooking mat, large landing net, small forceps (incase a greedy carp sucks the fly back too far – don’t worry they won’t bite).

To check out more of Carl and Alex’s work please visit:

Instagram/ Facebook/ YouTube: Carl and Alex Fishing


The C (carp) - Team: Alex Smith, Marina Gibson, Carl Smith and Edd Morrison