In Montana the question came up, as it inevitably does, about the possibility of joining the 20-20 club - i.e. catching a 20 inch trout on a #20 or smaller fly. And while I was mildly interested in this, I wondered more about the 20-20 equation as it applied to carp.
You don't hear much about this - the 20-20 club and carp. Possibly because 20 inch carp are not hard to come by. In fact, on some waters, the challenge might be finding one under 20 inches. So the real question is whether or not a carp would bother moving to a #20 fly. After all, most carp flies are large meaty offerings, the smallest being #10 or maybe #12.
|#20 Indigo Child vs. a typical carp fly - Carp Crack in this case.|
I wondered if a 20+ inch carp would eat, or even notice, a #20 speck in dingy water. Turns out the answer to that is yes, and he will be happy to do it.
I cast a #20 Indigo Child to 3 carp today. They all ate it without hesitation. And I mean without hesitation. They immediately moved forward and sucked the fly in.
So some initial conclusions:
-Carp will eat a #20 fly. I suspect this is especially true in stillwater scenarios where midge larvae are present year-round and a readily available food source.
-The #20 fly is unlikely to spook the carp. It enters the water with little or no commotion. Even a #10 or 12 pheasant-tail or MF'er strikes the surface with a bit of a "plip". This doesn't bother most carp and may even induce the take, but I think it gives the wariest fish pause. I have seen carp veer from even a well-presented PT or similar fly and purposefully avoid it. Not exactly spooked, but definitely aware that something is up. A #20 might be extremely useful for fish like this.
-I wonder where the tipping point is for large carp, when they grow too large to eat insects and move to larger prey the way big brown trout do, swapping mayflies and caddis for mice and dace as they grow larger. Caloric cost and all that. In other words, will a 30+ inch carp eat a #20 fly?
More experimentation is clearly in order, so for now I'll keep a few of these tiny flies in my carp fly box. You know, just in case.