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The air temperature was 31 and the water was in the mid 40’s when I slid my SUPerFISHal into one of my local honey holes. While most people wouldn’t consider it an ideal day on the SUP, the conditions were perfect for my plan. My target would be carp on the fly!

The lake was flat calm, perfect conditions for sight fishing. Carrying my 4wt and 6wt and an assortment of flies it didn’t take long to find several schools of carp actively working on the surface. My second cast landed right on target and my fly was quickly inhaled by a fat 24 inch carp. After several long runs I landed my first SUP carp. The action stayed hot and I was able to land several up to 26 inches.

Some of you probably think I am crazy to go SUP’ing in freezing temperatures “just to get carp” but you aren’t giving carp enough credit. I love catching carp on the fly for several reasons. First, carp are a great challenge on fly tackle. They will readily take a fly, but they spook easy. It is important to make absolutely zero noise as you approach a school. Once you are in casting range you have to put your fly right in the school with a soft landing. A 6wt with a couple nymphs and dry flies is all you need. For a real challenge I drop down to my 4wt. Another reason I love carp fishing is the fight. Carp are great fighters who will take you into your backing on several long runs before you finally get them to the boat. The final thing I love about carp fishing is that it is great practice for other species. I use the exact same tactics for red fish on the flats that I use for carp. This year I caught more red fish on the flats than any other year and I attribute it to the practice I got catching carp last winter.

The SUPerFISHal is the perfect platform for this type of fishing. You can silently approach your target and the additional height of eye gives you a better chance of spotting the fish. The key to SUP’ing in the cold is preparation and safety. On this day I had a base layer, a fleece mid layer, waders and a duck hunting top. In my cooler, I keep a dry bag with a complete change of clothes an extra hat and gloves. Never fish alone in cold water, my Dad was never too far away in the Big Tuna (catching his own fish) just in case.
It may be cold but there is no reason to put the SUP away for the season. If you have carp near you; dress for the weather, get a partner and give carp a shot.