Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mad River Outfitters and Carp on the Fly

MRO's Brian Flechsig circa 1996

I caught my first carp on a fly rod sometime in the late eighties. I remember that I had just started guiding around Ohio and was doing some scouting one night on the Little Miami River near Cincinnati. I saw a carp feeding in the shallows, pitched my crayfish pattern near him and WHAM! My addiction had begun.

A few years later, Mad River Outfitters was born and I had moved to Columbus to make it happen. I guess you could say that I was a bit worried on what people would think of this "new" fly shop if I ran around talking about carp on a fly. I was afraid to "come out of the closet" and just pretended I was an uppity trout fisher!!!

Jim Andrix and MRO's Pat Kelly

Then, in about 1995, a man named Jim Andrix started working in the shop....and he was a carp "guru" say the least. It was during this time that I really learned alot about fishing for carp with a fly rod and also learned that there was nothing to be ashamed of!!! I really owe alot to Jim, as do many fly anglers here in Central Ohio.We have been promoting fly fishing for carp ever since!!!

Brian Flechsig and Dave Whitlock during the filming of Carpin'

Fast forward a few years......and I had a few "videos" under my belt. We had released "Getting Started in Fly Fishing", "Steelheading Made Simple", "Cool Flies for Hot Fish" and then "Chasing Silver". My next project would be something that had never been done before, a video on catching Carp on the Fly.

It was 2001 and just so happened that the same summer we were working on the video, Dave Whitlock was hanging out for a weekend here at the shop. I asked Dave if he would be interested in helping on the project and to my surprise, he said that he'd be honored!!! Holy Crap, making a video with one of my heroes!!! In the spring of 2002 we released the video (and now DVD of course) called "Carpin' - a Lighthearted Look at Fly Fishing for Carp". It was, and probably still is, my proudest moment! This DVD still sells very well today and I don't know of anything else like it currently on the market.

A few years earlier, we also had the pleasure of spending a weekend with the king himself, Lefty Kreh. We actually had a day to ourselves and Lefty wanted to go carp took him carp fishing!

Lefty Kreh and Brian Flechsig- "Carpin' in 1999

Long story short, but Lefty was so impressed with what we did, and how we did it, that he immediately got on the phone with his buddy Flip Pallot. Lefty told Flip that he "HAD" to get to Central Ohio and get this "carp thing" on film for the Walker's Cay Chronicles.
Although it took a few years, Flip finally made it to Central Ohio to film a few episodes for the Walker's Cay Chronicles and one of those was on Carp. We spent four days chasing carp with Mulberry flies and wound up with one of the best episodes ever put on film. Flip still says that the episodes that we filmed together were some of his favorites. It was really cool to share the excitement of Carp with Flip and his viewers!

Flip Pallot and Brian Flechsig during the filming of the Carpin Episode of the Walker's Cay Chronicles

I guess it was about 2005 or 2006 then that customer and friend Andy Jensen started promoting his Guide Service called the "Fly-N-Carp". He immediately came to us and we teamed up and started booking trips for him. Growing up a trout fisher, Andy claims that he was inspired by Jim Andrix, the Carpin' video and also by the Walker's Episode. He immersed himself in the carp game and became one hell of a guide! He has an "Ohio Flats Boat" and guides folks on several pieces of water around Central Ohio. It is truly just like chasing bonefish or redfish in the Bahamas or the Keys.....just change the scenery a bit....and the price. The experience is just the same and a ton of folks hire him as practice for a saltwater trip, and some, just because they love carp fishing!

Andy Jensen operates the "Fly-N-Carp" Guide Service

Andy has also now become the manger of Mad River Outfitters! He is available at any time to consult on Carp Fishing with a Fly Rod and also teaches some classes around the shop, including the "Carp School" which he does several times a year.

Mad River Outfitters strives to be at the forefront of Carp Fishing with a fly rod. I'm not saying that we started the revolution, but we were definitely there in the beginning and have made our contribution.....and we continue that today!!! I'm glad that I finally "came out of the closet" and admitted.......I'm a carp fisherman!!!!

Thanks for reading and look for a few more Blogs during the remainder of August on Carpin'.

Brian Flechsig
August 2013


Mad River Outfitters
813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214