Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I know it is tough to tell from such a crummy picture, but that is a BIG carp. I'm estimating the fish was right around 20 lbs, and it was the first fish I caught today.

With the sun shining and a rough day at the office, I just had to get out and enjoy the sun for an hour or two. I actually headed home to hang out with Kelly and the kids, only to find them out and about, so I grabbed the six weight and went exploring. What I found was spawning carp...tons of them. Everywhere I looked a big female was being hounded by 3-5 smaller males, thrashing and chasing and generally whooping it up in the shallows. If the fish were in groups of more than 2, you could forget about it...2 fish together and a take was fish alone and a take was guaranteed assuming you made a solid presentation. I spotted the big girl above all alone about 10 feet from the bank, tailing perfectly. One cast and the size 10 carp wooley dropped slowly through the water column about 10 inches from the fish's head. The fish looked up briefly...moved forward maybe 2-4 inches and stopped. I set the hook and was reminded once again that carp can suck the fly in from at least a half a foot away with little to no indication! This was a solid fish, and I had a great battle on the six weight. I landed her with my tiny, stretched out net, took the crummy photo above and released. The problem I have with big carp when I'm alone is you have to fight them to submission, and they are big, heavy, and hard to handle out of the water. In the interest of the fish the best I can do is to lay them on some wet grass, fire off a shot (hoping it is a decent picture) and then let them go. I need to fish with KB (professional photographer) more often!

I kept moving, and didn't spend much time in any one spot. I could have stood and cast/dapped at dozens of spawning carp, some quite large but it would have been completely pointless. Those sexed up fish had 0 interest in eating. Instead, I moved around, looked for loners on the fringes of the spawning fish. I had some great shots at fish, and when I did it right, I hooked them. The carp wooley was killer today, and if placed right to the right type of fish, they took it with confidence. Pretty quickly I landed an 11 lb fish, then spotted, stalked and hooked another smaller carp that scaled out at 7 lbs.

The next fish I spotted was only about 15 feet from some spawners, and I wasn't sure if it was actively feeding, but it was another huge carp so I snuck into position and made a short cast. As the fly sank, the fish veered slightly towards it and I set the hook...another big fish on the line! This battle was tougher than the first as I was in some open water with big massive weedbed about 4 ft away. The carp made it in there once, but I managed to work it back out and eventually landed the nice fish. Not quite as big as the first one I caught, but and easy 18-20 lbs. Again, really hard to tell from the picture but when you stand there and land an 11 lb fish and it looks TINY compared to two others you know you are into some big ones.

The last fish of the day was a 12 lber...Really nice fish but not as big as some of the others I caught today. Still, this fish encapsulated all that I love about carp fishing. I spotted her from 30 ft away, and she was tight to the bank and holding motionless in a patch of weeds...right on the bottom. The only way to present the fly would be to sneak right up on top of her and literally dap the fly in front of her face. I crept into position, taking a long time and moving slower than I've ever moved stalking a feeding trout. Finally, I was a rod length away and obscured by some low bushes. I sank the fly about 6 inches away from her mouth. In perfect High Definition I saw the fly sink slowly...I saw her open her mouth almost casually, and the fly moved like a nail being attracted to a magnet, slowly at first, then gaining speed and momentum until it just slammed inside that carp's mouth. The rest of it, the hookset and fight were great, but that one visual made the entire day an even greater success.

All in all, 5 carp. Weights were 7lbs, 11lbs, 12lbs, and two I estimate at 20 bls. I used one fly the entire time, and went home with a sore arm and stretched out flyline.


Wendy Berrell said...

Whoa - what a day man. That sounds like some of the best time a guy could have out there. I love the description of the fly sucking into the mouth... love it. I need to see that again soon. Maybe I'll take JD out to a pond this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Man, your descriptions of Capr sex is really hot! You just might have found a niche there..... grin

Epic day. I'm going to toss a fly to a Carp this weekend, one way or another.

Anonymous said...

Great work.

On my way to work morning (always keep my gear in the car!) Caught my first carp on fly - what a thril! As you describe - fishing alone (with a 5wt! and no net)) was a real challenge. I have no way to accuratelt guage the weight of the fish, but it was about 3 feet long. Bead head hare's ear did the trick.

Can you popst a link with a picture of your carp wooley?