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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Indicator Fishing for Carp: Part III (Stocking Stuffers)

This a follow up to the two previous posts on Indicator fishing. This is from a continued email exchange with Gregg who really go this discussion started along with another email exchange that started as a result of these blog posts. Thanks Gregg and Kyle.

There are some other things I forgot to put in the blog post about how I manage fishing Chironomids under an indicator in a lake of varying depths. Often I will carry two rods in the boat. They are set up with two different length leaders. Sometimes, though not very often, I will even take three rods. I do this at Dry Falls Lake where there are fish at decidedly different depths in different parts of the lake. I have rods set up with 10 foot, 15-16 foot, and 28 foot leaders. I measure them by the way so its not an estimate. When I am in the boat I have the "My Buddy" fish finder on the transom. In terms of finding fish it is totally useless. And I do mean totally. It is inexpensive so I am okay with that. It is good for determining depth though and that is all I use it for. With the My Buddy I know exactly when I am over 28 feet of water.

I have fished with Chironomids under an indicator from shore with success also. I just have one rod and typically the fly is not far from the indicator.

Not using a tapered leader allows you to easily move the Quick Release Indicator a foot or two as needed.

When I said to NEVER put the fly in the boat when fishing a long leader that is because as soon as the fly is on the floor of the boat it begins a decided and focused effort to self tangle all of your leader. It is almost a certainty that the fly will succeed. You can count on it. If the fly is in your hand it can be inside the boat. If it isn't in your hand then hang the fly over the side of your boat or float tube as you working on your leader.

I do also indicator fish with one rod in settings where the depth varies. As I said when the leader gets long it is very important to have the indicator near the line. I manage the changes by connecting pieces of leader with loop to loop connections. I take out or add sections in the middle as I move from spot to spot. The loops need to be big enough to get the fly through. I know there are anglers out there who say the fish can might see my connections. The tippet is long so I don't think the fish see the connections. I suppose the fish might see the loops but I still catch fish and sometimes I just don't want to have more than one rod in the boat.

Another thing that really helps with placement of the indicator is a little device I made about 10 years ago. It is a small alligator clip with weight on it. I use this instead of my hemostats to get the fly to the bottom and then place the indicator. Typically I fish the fly a foot off the bottom. I put the clip on the fly. I hold the indicator and drop the clip over the side of the boat. When the fly hits the bottom I push the indicator a foot under water and peg it to the leader. I pull the fly back up, take off the clip, and cast out.

Here are the devices. Number one is an early effort. I started by using Power Pro braided line. It won't cut with regular scissors by the way. The stuff is tough but it does wear out eventually. As a result I started using nylon coated wire. It is used for tippet material for toothy fish. (Like a Pike or Muskie--not a Carp) The wire is held in place by a crimped, barreled, leader sleeve. The plastic cover easily slips off the handle of the clip and there is a convenient hole already there to tie on the braid or wire. Its as if the alligator clips were never really intended for electrical applications; they were really meant for indicator fishing.

These could make great stocking stuffers for your wife. Or your girlfriend; she'll know are interested in a long term relationship. Or your husband. Or your boyfriend. Or your mother-in-law. Well, you get the picture...

Gregg, thanks again for sharing your experience and expertise. You have prompted me to try some indicator fishing for Carp in the 2012 season.


  1. This is good stuff Mr.P. The alligator clip and weight would be helpful for me to find the depth of bubbles in my spring pond a long cast away especially during the winter. I think there is an upwelling of spring water out there as often it looks like several dozen fish just sit there and feed for long minutes at a time. Absolutely maddening. This is a case where, if I could get a mostly level leader to them, they could be taken at a depth I usually find impossible with a floating line. But to get the thing out there to determine the depth. I'll think on that. I do use a full sink line and a fly that rides hook up inched in, and done well with this in other ponds, but not here for some reason.
    Food for thought. And thanks.


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  3. Gregg, email me and I'll explain how you can get an accurate depth of that spring using a "marker float system".


    I can't get an image of the rig to show in these comments.


  4. JM, would you be willing to post information here on how you use your "marker float system"? I am intrigued. Thanks.


  5. Mr. P … a “marker float system” is a fancy term for a heavy weight and (buoyant) float.
    It works this way: A stout spinning rod is usually employed. Modern braided line is better
    because it is more sensitive.

    The weight has a rather large ring attached to it. The line is run thru the ring and then secured to the float. When a cast is made the float is jammed up against the weight.

    Once the weight hits bottom, provide “slack” and the float rises to the surface. Then hold the rod tip low (knee-high) and to one side, the rod parallel to the shoreline. Get the line as tight as possible without pulling the float under. Mark the position of the tip by putting a small stick in the ground. Then pull the tip back (no reel cranking) directly away from the float.
    The float will submerge and eventually hit the weight. Then mark the new position of the rod tip with another small stick in the ground.

    Now measure the distance between the two sticks and you have a rather accurate depth.

    Brits have been known to “marker” an entire lake this way … their own topo map. The heavy weight and braided line permit them to “feel” the bottom on the retrieve. They are able to tell if the bottom is sand, gravel, weedy, rocky, submerged wood structure, etc. Pretty
    accurate data for such a simplistic rig.

    You can down-scale the rig, of course. Getting the proper match of weight and float size is the key. If you do it right, you should be able to (example) position the indicator on the leader so that you have the egg/nymph hanging at the carp’s (eye-level) near the bottom.

    Seems to me that the egg-under-indicator concept could potentially extend the fly-carping
    season into the colder months for many of us.

    I did not intend to keep this from your other blog viewers … but wanted Gregg to know
    about it first. I will attempt to email you a “graphic drawing of a marker rig” so you can
    post. Hopefully the text will be large enough to read.

    Thanks !! John M. (but not Montana)

  6. Hi all,

    Thanks to JM for helping with mu dilema, and Mr.P for his forum and encouragement. I'd planned a trip for this day and just returned home. JM, an egg under an indicator does extend the carp season, but you could not have proved that today. 15F when I began just after sunrise, above the freeze at noon and icy again when I left at dark. Never saw a carp, one splashed heavilly as they do, just saw it's giant ring. But, what to do? Almost no bubbles or other feeding signs to cast to so I prospected all those hours with a single egg under my foam at places that have provided fish in the past and any place that looked carpy. The trout loved the large egg but they were not my quarry. I did not have a spin outfit to prospect depths as I hadn't time to procure one. The spring pond was still warmer than the frozen over water I drove past, at 42F, but it had dropped from 49F last trip 9 days ago. I've still to catch a December carp, with knowing the depths and some willing fish I may still have a chance. Actually, years ago, they drained this place as much as they could to destroy emergent vegetation, a moronic thing to do. I hooked some heavy trout when they held over then, and tried when it was lowered, but not into carp then I can not for the life of me remember how far I was under the normal level.

    Thanks again, Gregg