Sunday, March 26, 2006

Despite terrible conditions, I headed out after that big koi I have been chasing. I figure, you might catch a fish in bad conditions, but only if you get off the couch!

I got to the lake, and things looked pretty ugly. High, overcast clouds, with no sun peeking through at all. I walked around the lake once, and visibility was only inches. With the recent rain and zero sun, I couldn't see into the murky water at all.

Just when I was about to give up, I got lucky. I looked up the bank and from 30 feet away I spotted a bright orange beach ball with a tail heading right towards me. I looked again at the water at my feet, and still couldn't see 2 inches deep, but I guess visibility is not that important when your number one target is the color of a highway cone.

I hunkered down in the brush and waited for the koi to get close. When the fish was about 10 feet away I flipped a hare's ear in front of him...which he completely ignore. he got closer and I made another attempt, only to be snubbed. Wisely, I avoided a third cast and let the big koi swim slowly by, never aware of the fisherman kneeling in the mud amidst some brush. After he sauntered by I leapt up and ran down the bank to get ahead of him. This time I found a small pine tree to hide behind, and I again awaited his approach. As the fish closed I switched flies to the Peacock Hackleback (of WT fame) and prepared to cast. Again I waited until he was about 10 feet out, then flipped the fly towards him. It was a poor cast and the fly landed about halfway down the fish's body, and 1 foot to his left. The koi quickly turned and came eye to eye with my fly. I stripped gently, hoping to feel the line tighten, but he didn't have the fly. In an insant, the koi had turned back around and continued down the bank. I made a quick second cast, which was ignored, then waited for the fish to move on by me so that I wouldn't spook him.

In this manner I followed this fish down one entire bank of the lake. I would rush to get ahead of him and find a place to work through the blackberry bushes, then hide amongst the thorns in order to get in two quick cast. Eventually the fish changed tactics and disappeared into the middle of the lake, but I must have cast at him about 20 times...and all I had to show for it was that one, brief look at my Peacock Hackleback.

After the koi disappeared I looked around and realized that the sun had come out! In my zen-like focus on that big koi, I had failed to notice that I could suddenly see the bottom, and my odds of finding a common carp had drastically improved! I moved back down the bank to an area that the carp seem to frequent, and immediately spotted a nice fish slowly cruising a few feet from shore. I placed rubber legged hare's ear in his path, and the fish immediately dipped his head to the bottom...Fish on! With a quick strip-set I had hooked up, but before I could even begin to grin the carp had managed to throw the hook. I kept moving and spotted another fish hovering near a tree, not really doing anything. For those that don't carp fish, the stationary carp is probably the second most difficult carp to get to take a fly, behind only the fast-cruiser. I knew I would have to drop a fly right in front of him in order to get a take. I took a quick second to change flies to one without a bead head, as I wanted it to sink really slowly, and hopefully entice the fish to bite. I stripped out some line and made a 15 foot cast that was right on the money! The fly sank ever so slowly, and the fish suddenly inched forward and sucked it in...Fish on! This one stuck and after nice fight I brought him to the net, where he weighed in at 9 lbs.

With that nearly perfect moment, I clipped off the fly and headed for home. The big koi still eludes me, but I do know where he lives!


Wendy Berrell said...

I hope it's not illegal to fish for koi - you'd be documenting your crime via web log.

I'm gonna get killed trying to fish for carp. There is no way I can cast with that precision - I've never really needed to combine distance with accuracy around here... they're gonna do me in and you're going to be laughing your ass off.

John Montana said...

it is not as difficult as it sounds. for the most part, I get really close to the fish, and with the common carp will make short, 10-15 foot casts. you will pick it up in no time.

detecting the strike is the hard part.

Wendy Berrell said...

As far as detecting the strike goes... I am still high, high, very high from "sensing" those trout that took that soft hackle. PIcking up the rod and feeling the weight... wow, was that something. I hope I can do that again... and I hope I can translate that to carp fishing.

Anonymous said...

Are you two inviting me to the carp fishing trip in Oregon? What are the dates? I might just show up at John's secret lake...or better yet...might be out there catching them when you arrive..