Single Hand Fly Rods
When Darc and I first started hunting carp, we used single-hand rods. The same we used for bass or steelhead. And this is a good place to begin. You probably have the rod and reel and floating line already and can get going. We started with (this is in the mid 90’s) 9’, # 7 or 8 rods. We tried some 5 and 6 weights but the 5 weights just couldn’t stand the pressure-broken. The 6 wts were ok, but we still broke some of these, the 7 and 8’s were better suited to our fishing then.
We were stalking fish and making the cast that put the fly ahead of the fish and sometimes a little to the far-side of the fish and strip it into a cruising fish’s path, where they sometimes bit and sometimes gave us the fin. This was all really great fun as both Darc and I loved flats fishing in the salt. This wasn’t salt and the fish were not bonefish, but they were the closest fish to it and only an hour and a half away from home. No, the water is not always clear like the salt flats, but a fish hooked in off-colored water pulls just as hard as in clear water. If a fish was tailing, it was the same plan except that the cast was made just past the fish’s nose and drawn right in front of it.
The advantage of a single hand rod is that casts can be made out to as far as you able. In clear water, this is a real advantage. And if you can make the fly land like a feather and sink to the bottom, this is “strike” city, all visual. All designed to make your knees wobble and make your eyes see double in the sun, skinny water and clear-as-gin environment.
Single-hand rod fishing for carp is THE best way to practice before your first trip to Christmas Island or another flats destination for bonefish. You will learn to wade and “Fish like a Heron”. Stealthy stalks catch more fish. Wade slowly, deliberately and try to keep your profile as low as you can in clear water.
Thing about a single-hand rod is that when a cast is required close-in, 5 – 20 feet, the fly can land with too much energy and alarms the fish, especially in clear calf-deep water. This is actually a very difficult cast to make with the fly landing with the least disturbance. One should learn to do this, before venturing out. A roll cast is sometimes the best cast to make, but experience will let you know what is needed in any given situation. The deal is – If it doesn’t work, fix it. Try another cast if you are spooking fish.
OK, so the short story of using a sgl-hnd is that rods, now, are a lot stronger than in the 90’s and a preferred single-hand for carp is a 9’, 6-8 weight. It should be a rod that you can cast in the calm and in a gale (well not quite a gale) with some accuracy. I don’t recommend using your favorite 4 or 5 weight trout-rod getting started. You will probably end up with a broke rod.
The Echo Ion-XL or Loomis Imx-Pro in weights 6,7, or 8 are our favorites! Next post, we’ll look at two-hand rods. Yes, they do have a place in carp fishing.