Tactics For Australian Carp On Fly

Summer in South Australia gets hot, really damn hot! And the best way we find to try and escape the blistering heat is to grab the fly rods and chase a few carp.


While carp, carpon, or mud marlins are not everyone’s cup of tea, we don’t discriminate. They cruise the shallows, can be regularly sight cast to and simply go nuts when the hook is it set, so they fit the bill for us when the mercury hits 40c plus.

Australia really is the land of extremes and you know it’s carping weather when the floor of the boat burns your feet and toes. Being a noxious species, it’s good to know you can leave the usual targets that are a little more susceptible to heat stress alone, and do the rivers a favour by removing a few carp with the 8wt.

Tail of a big carp

Don’t be fooled, these fish are like steam trains in amongst the timber and weed beds. I’ve seen heavy tippet snap in a spray of water and many a four piece rod become a fiver in the heat of the battle. Chasing mud marlins is just outstanding fun. 

I’ll admit it, I have a bit of an obsession chasing carp during the long summer days. Weaving my way silently under the power of an electric motor through the large dead red gums that have succumbed to rising water from the Murray River being locked many years ago. It’s white knuckle fishing that I just love.

Caro caught using fly fishing techniques

You can see them many ways, either slowly slurping stuff from off the surface, tailing head down in the mud, or my favourite, the ones that cruise along the sandy shores. Irrespective of how you find them the outcome is always the same, with them going absolutely bananas in an explosion of water and a fly rod bent to the cork!


Tactics for carp are slightly different to most other species because their eye sight is not the best and they lack the large lateral line of other predatory species, you have to get the fly to the fish!

Lubin Pfeiffer and a big carpon

  • My preferred method is to fish with the Scott Sector 9ft 8wt loaded with a weight forward floating line like the Airflo SuperFlo Ridge 2.0 Universal Taper.
  • To the end of this I’ll add a metre and a half of 10lb fluorocarbon with a size 8 short tailed woolly bugger that’s lightly weighted with the aid of a glass bead.
  • Once the target has been acquired, you need to land the fly as close to the fishes line of sight as softly as you possibly can. Sometimes, over shooting the cast and drawing the line so the fly can sink directly in front of their nose will bring the best results.
  • Watch the fishes behaviour for the take. Sometimes it will be obvious, other times the fish might just change direction or you might see those big blubber lips punch in and out as it woofs the offering down. You need to be quick!
  • Set the hook and hold on! Some carp will fight clean but others will quickly show you the backing as they head for the horizon!

There’s something simplistically cool about carp, all you need is a rod, a spool of tippet and a couple flies to have a very fun day on the flats!


Lubin Pfeiffer really is the ultimate angler's angler, with a drive and passion for tangling with anything from small mountain stream wild trout through to big, dirty water Murray Cod. Lubin and his equally fishing fanatical partner, Casey Pfeiffer, are the dynamic duo between the killer YouTube fishing show, The Full Scale Fishing Adventures - so make sure to tune in and subscribe to see every species being chased with all types of fishing gear and learn a few secrets along the way.