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Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE carp fly swap

I have participated in some fly swaps through the years for both trout flies and carp flies.  I organized a couple swaps myself. 

In May of 2004 I put my first carp in the net.  My (fishing) life would never be the same.  I purchased “Carp on the Fly” by Reynolds, Befus, and Berryman, shortly after that and read it twice.  They recommended carp flies in the book and I dutifully tied them.  I also experimented with my own flies.  A LOT!  Within a couple seasons I was getting a good sense of what worked and what didn't work here in Washington and Oregon. 

The point of this post is very positive, as such, I reference a couple other swaps only to make a positive point.  The first two carp fly swaps I was in had quite a variety of flies.  I felt at the time, and really realized even more as time passed, that most of the flies in the swaps had never been in a carp’s mouth and many of them had never even been in the water.  I was very open to the possibility that different flies worked in different water.  Through email exchanges we all realized that most of the tiers had fished for carp a few times or were hoping to start carp fishing in the coming season.  Hence, their carp flies were not field tested.  As a result I have stayed away from carp fly swaps preferring to exchange ideas, information, and patterns with people who actively fish for carp. 

I am so pleased that I participated in this year’s carp fly swap!  I look at the flies in the box and I read the posts that Dan and Trevor have made and I realize that this is not just A carp fly swap it is THE carp fly swap.   Man, fly fishing for carp and carp flies have come a long way!  Wow! 

Many years ago when I sent out the carp flies from a swap I organized I remember thinking I wouldn't fish with the flies because they weren't flies I wanted to use.  Now I’m kind of thinking I won’t fish with the flies from this year’s swap because they are flies I don’t want to lose.  I know I’m safe though fishing and losing these flies because Trevor and Dan have posted such good instructions and pictures. 

Dan and Trevor, thanks so much for your work on this; it was simply great.  Thanks Scientific Anglers, Orvis, and CarpPro for the extras and thanks to all the tiers for your cool carp flies.


  1. I think the next big thing in carp fly fishing will be a fly that passes slowly through the water column.

  2. I entered carpin the same year as you, read the same book and, yes, my angling life changed as well. This swap was a big deal by any measure. My selection is full of flies I can see myself using. Love seeing other people's working flies.


  3. I agree P, carp flies have come a long way - even in the three years we have been doing the swap I can see an upward trend in the variety and carp quality of the selection.

  4. It really is amazing where things have gone/are going with carp flies. Thank you for summing it up Mr. P.

  5. The only other carp fly swap I've been involved with was when I was fairly green and the swap involved you, John, and Justin and I. Lucky I guess!

  6. It really goes to show how carp are creeping into the "acceptable" range that so many people are able to send quality tested patterns...I really hope I can get in on the swap next time and send some of the stuff I'm catching on here in Japan.