Fly fishing, guiding, and nets for Carp with Andrew McCLellan
So many fly fisherman begin with panfish, master the basics, and then proceed to spend the following decades pursuing mostly trout and bass. It’s only been in the past five or so years that interest in fly fishing for carp has developed. Fly fishermen without local access to trout streams took to practicing sight fishing on these “trash bass” near home. What many learned quickly is that carp were often more difficult to land on a fly than anticipated. That frustration eventually became respect for an intelligent, wary fish that more than delivered a bend on the rod. They became a challenge to test their mettle as a fly angler. They became THE fish they were out to catch that day, not just an afterthought to cast at because they were surface feeding or cruising the shallows. Industry publications like Field and Stream and The Drake have been featuring carp content for years. Multiple Carp tournament venues are sprouting up each month.
I have approached fly fishing completely backwards from the earlier description. Having owned a fly rod for 25 years, it was rarely used before falling in love with carp fishing at my local rivers. I was so caught up in the fun of landing these beasts on ultralight gear, I hadn’t looked back to try bass, bluegill, or others. I definitely had forgotten about my fly rod before I started joining groups about carp fishing. With only 3 carp under my belt a few months later, I may eventually get to fishing for bass or trout but for now it’s a singular focus.
Another passionate advocate of carp fly fishing is Andrew McClellan. In short order he’s begun a net company, guides for carp, has been featured on some pretty slick videos, and still manages to keep a day job with 100 days on the water each year. I took some time to catch up and learn more about the ways he’s helping more anglers become carp on the fly junkies.
Have you always been a fisherman or has that been an interest that’s developed over time?
By day time I’m an Engineer for a food company where I get to create kitchen tools to make people’s jobs easier; my hobby and passion is that I’m an avid fly fisher. My goal is to spend at least 100 days on the water a year, and this year I’m on track. I squeeze in a day or a few hours whenever possible. I live in Southern California, where I have carp locally to me, and pristine trout waters anywhere from 3.5 to 7 hours away.
I got into fly fishing about 5 years ago when I showed up to a boys trip to the river and I was the only one with spinning gear. The motion of the cast and the incremental changes you can make to fool a fish to taking hand crafted bug imitations really opened my eyes to the science behind fly fishing. Being a science guy, I really got into understanding entomology and why fish react a certain way.
What’s your average day of guided fishing like? What fish do you target, preferred techniques, flies, etc.
Often times I get asked how to fish for carp, or what they like to eat; when asked, I develop a perception that people are looking to me for professional answers, but in reality I literally stumbled upon carp fishing. Desperate for anything to take a fly, I found a video of a carp jumping like a tarpon at the LA river. Did some googling, and ended up with a 10+ lb carp throwing corn flies. You can see the edited version on Youtube. LA River Piglet, where you can see me using my wooden net. Funny thing was, while I was down on the river a guy mentioned that “you are going to need a bigger net”, and the video displays that.
Since that first fish, I have landed close to 200 carp to date in the 3 years I have been fishing it, often times with double digit days. I really enjoy taking people out for their first time to get a carp on the fly. I charge nothing, IMO carp is not a guided fish…too many conditions to consider and is heavily dependent upon skill and a “ninja-mindset”. My favorite way to get a carp is to dap…top water is always a treat, but to watch a fish stop what they are doing and come over to suck in your clam imitation, a set with glass and game on is something worth living for…….I love how freaked out they get and how far they run. My second outing for carp resulted in a slip and fall and my net broke, not noticing it until I reached for my net when I had a fish on the line. I ventured online to purchase a rubber bag, heavy duty, carp net. I was astonished with the prices. The net I wanted, was more than my fly rod, and there was no way to justify that.
Tell us the story of how you started your net company?
Being an Engineer, I took it upon myself to build one myself and see how much it would be. It just so happens my fraternity brother is an owner of Rhino Linings. Three years later and 400 strong in the Rhino Herd, it’s been the a great part of fly fishing with all the people I meet. My pricing ranges from $75-$120 for my largest net, being a boat net. Nets are meant to be abused and affordable. Keeping manufacturing lean, I am able to afford to donate about 50-100 nets a year to charities and fishing competitions. In my humble opinion, a net should not cost $135 or more. Rhino Nets is the most affordable:ruggedness ratio on the planet. All nets are made to order, and can be customized at very low costs.
How can others learn more about your products or hire you as a guide?
If you want to hire me as a carp guide, I charge nothing…..I only teach.
If anyone would like to learn more about Rhino Nets my website is:
For additional LA River footage and questions,
LA River Gold – UrbananglerUSA visits
The River King Shoreline Fishing Guide
This e-book helps you catch more fish without the distractions. This is done using a minimalist approach on light tackle targeting proven river structures from the shoreline.
ON SALE $3.99
Patrick Ritter is the founder of River King Fishing, LLC. Raised near the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the outdoors, especially fishing, has always been a passion.