I have been fly fishing for carp a lot this spring, more than any other spring I can remember. My experiences have revealed a few new insights that previously went unnoticed. One particular weapon I have relied on time after time, is the slingshot cast. I have caught a myriad of species over the years utilizing this close quarters “cast,” but it was always done subconsciously. In the newer waters I have been fishing, carp can be taken a few feet from the bank, often in or around heavy cover. In these situations, I began to think more and more about perfecting the slingshot cast.
Most of my carp fishing occurs in the dead afternoon when carp are often at their laziest. However, a lot of carp will continue to feed if they feel safe. They will seek shelter in and around cover. Log jams, overhanging branches with shade, and undercut banks all will hold carp when the sun is directly overhead. When it is overcast, drizzling, or downright pouring rain, carp will feel extremely comfortable and often come into really skinny water to feed. This spring, I caught multiple fish off of the spawning beds of largemouth bass during rain storms. In these close quarters situations the slingshot cast is a great weapon to have in your arsenal.
I like to utilize a heavier leader than normal for slingshot casts. Usually, my carp leader is anywhere from 14-16 feet in length and tapered to 3-5x. Having a heavier butt section allows me to turn over my fly with more accuracy when using this type of cast. If you prefer shorter leaders, I would have at least a few inches of fly line out the tip of the rod to make the cast much easier. By using either of these methods, you will be able to accurately target carp in some hairy situations.
Last weekend, I found myself stalking carp at a local pond. It was raining slightly and I scouted a pair of carp feeding on a spawning bed. The bed was situated along a large fallen tree in the water and under some overhanging branches. I crawled up close enough and sat in a bed of poison and thorns waiting for a chance. With the amount of sunfish in the water around the bed, I realized I needed to be as accurate as possible to prevent them from eating my fly instead of the carp. Pulling back on my fly, I bent the rod to create the necessary tension for the cast. I took aim like I a bow and arrow and landed my egg pattern a few inches from the carp. Three sunnies immediately moved for the fly, but stopped upon seeing the carp and how close the fly was to his face. The large carp didn’t have to move to eat my fly and eat it he did.
Waiting out some torrential rain…
Double complete rainbow.
I hid behind a fence and tall grass to take this guy near an undercut bank.
Taken near cover, landed in the open.
Too far away, the rare mudder in the sun…
Safely avoided the sunfish with the accuracy of a slingshot cast at close range…
Had to go for a deep wade to take my rod under a log for this guy…
Another fish from the same spot…an hour later.