The Coarse Side of Summer Fly Fishing

The Coarse Side of Summer Fly Fishing

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Guide to Carp & Coarse Fly Fishing

With the start of the new coarse fishing season, species such as chub, carp and even bream open up exciting possibilities with a fly rod and author Dom Garnett suggests some summer targets.

Whether you subscribe to the traditional angling year or not, summer promises a fantastic variety of fishing. With the arrival of June the sixteenth, virtually every species is in season. So why confine your efforts to just one or two?

Flies for carp and coarse fly fishing
Virtually every species will take a fly, so why not broaden your horizons?

In recent seasons, the barriers between coarse and game fishing have continued to tumble as anglers find new avenues to explore. Summer is perhaps the best time of all to broaden your species tally. Fly life and invertebrates on so many waters reach a peak, and with every fish from a tiny dace to the largest carp switching onto natural food, fly fishing can come into its own.

You’ll find that clear, intimate waters often provide the best fly fishing for coarse fish. Observing and casting to visible fish is an addictive challenge. But what are the best species to try for in the warmer months?

Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

Watch the surface of almost any coarse fishery on a warm, still day and you’ll see signs of roach rising for small insects. On stillwaters, you’ll catch these classic, silver and red-finned coarse fish on slow sinking wet flies, or even tiny dries if there’s a hatch. If you’re river fishing, weighted patterns such as a Pink Shrimp or small Czech Nymph will also work, but do keep them small (typically sizes 14-18).

Roach can be rapid, finicky biters. Watch closely for any takes and strike quickly, whether you spot a fish mouth the fly or detect even a slight pull on the line.

Ideal tackle
A 2-4 weight outfit, 3-4lb leaders.

Recommended flies
Black and Peacock, Black Buzzer, Pink Shrimp, CDC Black Gnat (sizes 14-20)

Guide to Carp and Coarse Fly Fishing

Don’t let anyone tell you that carp can only be caught on dog biscuits or bread; tricking them on natural flies is both fascinating and fun. When they’re cruising just under the surface on a warm day, you could try a slow sinking wet fly such as a spider or Daiwl Bach, good fun on day ticket fisheries. Down the margins, or when casting to fish mooching lower in the water, flies such as a Hare’s Ear or Egg Fly can also be successful. For surface action, beetles, floating snails or even a daddy longlegs are worth a cast.

Here’s an action packed carp fly fishing video from Sportfish’s YouTube channel:

Like many coarse fish, carp don’t like a fly retrieved quickly or tweaked about too much. Try just letting the fly settle where a fish can see it and watch for the response.

Ideal Tackle
6-8 weight outfit, 6-12lb leaders, depending on size of fish.

Recommended flies
Hare’s Ear, Egg Fly, Black Beetle, Floating Snail

Carp fly fishing guide
Carp are an ideal target species for the fly angler, and boy do they pull…

These greedy, large-mouthed fish are superb fun to catch on dry flies. If you can find them in shallow water or basking around cover, they find a drowning bug too much to resist. Hoppers, beetles and even crickets can tempt juicy rises and big fish. If they are lying deeper, you could always try a wet fly or streamer.

Chub have big mouths and it’s easy to strike too early and pull your dry fly straight out. Try delaying a split second before setting the hook. If it’s a big one, lift positively but avoid striking too hard and breaking your tippet.

Ideal tackle
4-6 weight outfit, 4-6lb leaders

Recommended flies
Hopper, Daddy Longlegs, Black Cricket, Woolly Bugger

Chub fly fishing guide
Chub are great takers of a fly – but they can be a very wary opponent!

SP_FFC_8Further Info
Hailed as a modern classic, Dom’s book Flyfishing for Coarse Fish is available online. You can find more of his words, photography, gifts and guided fishing days on his website at PLUS find further tips, catches, fly patterns and much more on the subject of coarse fish on the fly at Fly for Coarse.


  1. I bought the book a while back, because i had never fished for coarse fish with a fly rod,i must admit it was the money also give a few flies to tye,which do work. r.harrison.

  2. I am another convert, not being as fit as i was the days of toting huge amounts of gear along the river bank have gone, after all its what fish ate before we started throwing shop bought bait into the water !

    R Rice

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