If you’re after a freshwater fish that can be caught on most methods and also an excellent sport fish - look no further than the humble European carp. They can be found in almost every freshwater location across the metropolitan area of the state and in some of these waterways they can reach scary sizes.
Some of the more known carp locations are Rowville lakes and Berwick Springs - however almost every body of freshwater will hold some. To catch these fish you can set up a typical trout bait fishing outfit with a light sinker and small but strong hook and simply use bread as berley and bait. Don’t be put off if you start berleying with pieces of bread and most of it gets eaten by local ducks, swans or moorhens as the sound these waterbirds make as they scurry around picking up the bread actually tends to get the fishes’ attention.
These fish can also be caught on lures and fly. Suburban carp take a liking to small soft plastics in the 2” size, with single tail grubs and ‘creature’ baits the standouts. Both of these profiles can be used to imitate small yabbies, worms or aquatic insects ,which carp eat readily in these environments. By fishing these plastics on light jigheads you can actually cast to sighted fish and watch them eat your offering. Heavy jigheads tend to sink too fast and can even spook the fish. Having a variety of jigheads with you will give you the versatility to change to suit your location and the mood of the fish. Fairly light fluorocarbon leaders in the 4-8lb breaking strain are preferred, as carp can be very flighty towards heavier lines and shy away from anything that seems unnatural to them.
For those willing to challenge themselves, carp can also be caught on fly. In fact, carp are an excellent ‘practice’ species for fly anglers; they are powerful and can grow quite large, and can also be very fussy and spooky towards clumsy approaches and poorly presented offerings. Best of all, carp are readily available. For anglers looking to connect with some suburban carp on fly, 5-7 weight rods are ideal when fished with a standard weight forward floating line. Standard 9ft leaders are fine, with a tippet section of around 4X (approximately 6lb). Lighter tippets can be used but are easily broken when striking on fish or during the carp’s powerful runs. Fly selection comes down to how exactly you are going to target the carp, with small weighted patterns like Woolly Buggers and damsel nymphs perfect for searching for fish, while deer hair or CDC floating ‘bread’ flies are excellent for surface cruising fish, especially in areas where ducks are being fed bread.
Herein lies the dilemma; while carp are an introduced species and can be very destructive towards their adopted environment. In many suburban wetland and lake systems they can be a good source of entertainment for younger generation anglers where there would normally be only small forage fish. Either way, the humble carp can certainly be more than pesky by-catch.
• If you have had some success in these areas lately send me a photo and go into the draw for your chance to win a store voucher valued at $100. Email to --e-mail address hidden-- Include, angler’s name, species, and the area you were fishing.For our other latest fishing reports and to download information sheets, go to www.fishingcamping.com.au. For up to date fishing information, contact the guys at Compleat Angler in Dandenong on 9794 9397 or drop in and see us at 241–243 Princes Hwy, Dandenong, we are open 7 days a week.Reads: 1436