Some call fly fishing for carp a fad. Some say it’s overrated. And there are plenty of old codgers whom you will never convince that carp are anything but trash fish.
But speaking from a purely business perspective, carp can make a fly shop money. In some cases, lots of it. Blow off the carp phenomenon at your own peril.
We’ve spoken with a number of shops across the country that say carp fishing is a booming revenue source. Why is that? It boils down to two things. 1) Carp can be found almost anywhere, and 2) Learning to fish for carp will make you a better angler, period.
If you want to jump-start a carp niche, consider organizing a carp tournament.
We just returned from the inaugural “Lake Henshaw Carp on the Fly Warm Water Throw Down” near San Diego. Organized by Conway Bowman and Al Quattrocchi, the event attracted dozens of anglers from all walks—from trout bums to saltwater captains, novices to experts. The common thread? All were ultimately fascinated by the unique challenges and opportunities afforded through carp fishing. (Note: the tournament had two divisions, a boat division won by John Hendrickson of the San Diego Fly Shop and his partner Dustin Sergent, and a wading division won by David Wratchford of Orvis in Pasadena.
But you don’t need a lot of water, or even boatable water, to make a carp tournament successful. The Denver Chapter of Trout Unlimited is planning another “South Platte River Pro-Am Carp Slam” this August 25th. The carp slam has quickly become one of Colorado’s most esteemed (and effective) grassroots fishing events, matching amateurs with industry pros to raise funds to help trout water on the South Platte.
And when you think about it, carp offer a very fair and balanced basis for a tournament. No hula hoops, no casting… just catching.
We think there should be more carp tournaments, and some companies like Orvis, Yeti, Kaenon and Howler Brothers have seen the potential. If you want more information, or need some help in getting organized, contact [email protected] directly.