I didn't do the best job of describing what I did to get the fish up the other day, so now is as good a time as any. No, the fish were not feeding on natural surface food. I was chumming them up with white bread, generally a slice or two at a time, torn into small pieces. I can hear the purists groaning already... to be honest I felt the same way about it for a while, it seemed wrong, for some reason, to essentially be both the food source and the predator. But even when the food itself is man made, the fly, the presentation, and stalking the fish are still tough... these are carp we are talking about. They almost always have the advantage. The best fly was foam and dry fly dubbing bread crust fly, tied on a sz. 10 or 8 stimulator hook. The would follow a fairly predictable pattern through the bread and making a cast in their path generally got at least a sniff. Deer hair flies and large caddis were fished n the same manor and were also effective.
Sonny, Mark (who just happened to be at the same pond at the same time), and I discovered within a short time that these fish had figured my game out over the last two days. They were not nearly as gung-ho about eating the bread and far less about taking, and they were clearly weary of our presence.
Fortunately they weren't all too weary and we got some takes. Most importantly, Sonny caught his first ever fly rod carp! And on a dry fly no less.
That was mission accomplished right there, and though we did have plenty more shots at fish they would not come to the fly well. Time to let these fish rest for a week so I can come back and get my life list grass carp.