None of us in the carp by fly world are Dr. Dolittle. And since we are not, then we really can't hold conversations or talk with the fish. Still, however, if we watch these magnificent creatures they will tell us what they're thinking through their non-verbal actions.
Carp exhibit different behavior at different times. Here on this prairie ocean, Charlie and I have identified a number of different behaviors, which include fast lane cruisers, slow lane cruisers, clowning carp, sunning carp, grazers, and lastly tailers.
In thinking of the different behaviors and what the carp are trying to say to the angler, here are some examples of what their messages just might be.
The Fast Lane Cruiser
"Beep-beep! There's a party going on downstream and I'm running late so get out of the way. You might as well drop that fly line out of your hand and save a roll cast because I'm not stopping to see what you're offering. Party on my friend."
Fast lane cruising carp are what John Montana refers to as negative carp. Chances of catching a fast lane cruiser is quite remote.
The Slow Lane Cruiser
"Man, I just chilling and kicking back while taking a little scenic tour seeing what's going on in the hood. Nahhh... I'm not really hungry, but sometimes if a free meal comes my way I might just stop and have a look-see. Most likely not though. See ya some other time... maybe."
Although the slow lane cruiser also is considered a negative fish, there is a better chance of catching this particular behavior exhibiting carp.
The Sunning Carp
"Running a little low on the vitamin D, so think I'll suspend myself along the bank here and soak in some rays. Not really interested in eating, but man... will I ever look good with this new tan."
Again, these fish are generally not interested and will often just move out of the way of your fly. However, they are catch-able at times and I have personally enticed several over the last couple of seasons to dive after the fly.
The clowns are the carp that suddenly blast through the surface, do a belly-flop, then roll in the deep only to come through the surface once again. Here's what they are trying to say... maybe.
"Look at me everybody... I'm a cruise missile! Besides, I've got the darnedest itch on my side and this is the only way I can get any relieve. No, I'm not going to eat a thing until I get this itch taken care of. Three, two, one.... blast off!!!"
In my opinion the clown carp are a waste of time in casting to.
Grazing carp are eating, but, at the same time they are not totally fixated on feasting and they maintain a watchful eye along with other alert senses. A grazing carp should be considered a positive fish, but always respect this fellows ability to sense your presence and your presentation.
Here's what a grazing carp might be communicating.
"Think I'll graze this buffet line and see what the offerings are this morning. Yeah... I see you standing on the shoal over there and if you're thinking about flipping that fly out here you better do it quietly, in a most subtle fashion, and your presentation better be of Oscar winning caliber.
The Tailing Carp
These are the guys that represent the most positive fish we can hope for. They are cultivating the bottom and foraging with a distinct fixation.
Here's what they are trying to tell us.
"There is no tomorrow, I must eat now and I must eat a lot! I hear nothing, I see nothing but food, I taste everything. Ooooh, what's that... looks like an egg. Yummy!
I think the carp, and much of wildlife, do indeed try and communicate with us somehow, someway. We just have to learn the language they speak.