I was talking about this in an online carp on fly group and was told by several people that I'd catch more if I fed them with dog biscuits and fished an imitation - not interested. At all. Amazingly, my reply that I prefer fly fishing to bait fishing caused these folk to take umbrage. A barrage of comments about fishing commercial, stocked fisheries making feeding necessary and hilarious accusations of snobbery followed. All of it is ludicrous of course, we all draw our own lines in the sand. But catching a chummed fish is not the same achievement as spotting, stalking and catching a naturally feeding fish.
I have nothing against bait fishing. I don't do it, but if I did I'd be using an Avon rod and spinning reel to drop my dog biscuits among the loose feed, it's just more efficient. I also think there's something a bit off about using a fly rod because you get a better fight. First off, appropriate fly tackle will subdue a carp at least as quickly as conventional tackle - maybe quicker-I don't fish lighter than #8 with leaders never lighter than 10lb . So if the fight is "better" (read longer and more stressful for the fish) on fly it suggests that the angler is either using tackle that is too light or aren't properly pressurising the fish. To me, this is unethical. Obviously catching fish does stress them, but there's no reason to willfully increase this just because you want a "better" fight.
I'm not fishing muddy commercial waters for pellet pigs either, so there's no need to be feeding. I can walk along the river and see actively feeding pristine wild fish to target. So feeding a spot would rob me of the walk and I'm not even convinced I'd end up catching more fish. Even so, I don't think it's entirety necessary to resort to feeding on these stocked waters, I've fished them successfully in the past by spotting fish and targeting them with the usual patterns I use elsewhere. in fact a recent trend among the bedchair and alarms brigade is the zig bug. Zig bugs are basically foam beetles tied on carp hooks fished on a bottom rig with along leader - much like a static booby - and cast to clear patches around weed beds or other fish holding features, without using any groundbait. I'm sure some will disagree with me on this but using a fly rod doesn't mean you're fly fishing. Once bait enters the equation, it's not fly fishing as far as I'm concerned.
Anyway, I'm off to get my offshore bag ready for Monday, the forecast looks good but I'll still be packing my jigging gear and spinning rod just in case it's a bit blowy.