Monday, July 16, 2007

Sunday I had the pleasure of fishing with Scott T for carp. It had been a while since I fished with Scott, and just catching up over breakfast and having some time on the water made the day worthwhile. Conditions were far from ideal. The wind was moving pretty good, and the high, white clouds cut visibility from feet, to inches. If the fish was more than a rod length away, we couldn't see it. Scott had some near hookups and I caught one while he was there, but he had to leave around 1 or so. As is usually the case, once your fishing partner leaves, the fishing picks up!
That wasn't actually what happened this time, but I did start moving around more, and I found some fish feeding on the edges of the shoreline. In super stealth mode I could get close enough to see them and managed to get into some fish. For the day I landed about 12, with the big fish being about 15 just bottomed out my weigh net. The interesting part of the day was that it was a tale of two flies, fished in different manners.

For most of the day, and most of the fish I hooked the go to fly was the San Juan Worm. I've never been a huge fan of the worm fly, but my last couple of times out I've started to see its merits! The fish do like the fly, but you have to fish it just a little differently than most nymphs or other carp flies. First, you have to be really accurate with your casts. With the worm, the fish needs to see the fly sink within that 1 foot or so cone of vision. If they see it sink and hit bottom, you are in business. Secondly, you can't move the fly. With most flies I fish if I overcast I just pull the fly into position along the bottom with short strips or hand twists. With the worm, the fish have got to come to the fly. You cast it right near their head, let it sink and let it sit. If the fish saw it fall, they'll eventually ease up and eat the fly. If you move it, the fish spooks. I saw this many times a few weeks ago, and again yesterday. When I just let the fly sit it was extremely effective coupled with an accurate cast.

The second part of my day was spent chasing fish that were hanging around the mulberry trees. These fish are without a doubt, the easiest carp I've ever caught, but catching them is a complete reversal from fishing the worm. For starters, they are all serious about eating. You can see them cruising in slow circles just downwind of the trees. They look like packs of bikers circling around a group of kids in a bad movie. Every time a berry falls in the water, one or two fish rush the berry like it will spoil when wet and the first fish to the berry chomps it down with an attitude. For these situations, the carp wooley has produced. I tie mine heavily weighted as it is a fly I often use on the flats as a general nymph imitation. The weight isn't a problem, though most of the berries float for quite a while. The fish near those trees seem to be so keyed on berries, that they charge any plop they hear, and eat just about anything that resembles a berry. I have had a few fish turn completely around and change direction to chase down a fly. It makes for some exciting, and relatively simple carp fishing.

All in all, it was a great day on the water, as any day with a fly rod in hand usually is. I enjoyed spending time with Scott, we really need to get out and fish more often. One lesson I took away from Sunday's outing was to pay really close attention to your presentation. With carp, it isn't enough for them to see the fly. They have to see it in the manner in which they expect to see it. In other words...they expect to see a crayfish run or act defensive...they expect to see a leech swim...they expect a berry to plop into the water like it fell from several feet above...and they expect to see a worm sitting in the bottom sediment, easy pickings for a meal. The next time I'm out I'm going to pay much more attention to the specifics of the presentation, rather than simply focusing on the accuracy of my cast and stealth of my approach. I think the details can make the difference between a skunking, and a some burnt fingers from palming your spool.


Wendy Berrell said...

I'm gonna have to tie some SJ worms. Sounds like they are effective.

I'd like to see that fish... maybe one day help you land it. What a cool encounter.

Steve Dobson said...

This is a pretty interesting stuff. Very different than the fish I spend time chasing. I look forward to visiting often and will suggest it as a destination to the folks who read my ramblings as well.

Wendy Berrell said...

Bought some small ultra chenille last night, so I can tie up some worm patterns.

John Montana said...

i've got a dozen in the fly box now. if i get back out after carp on the big c, i know what fly i'll use!

Anonymous said...

Here in Holland I use most of the time white eggflies, floating or slow sinking. But I shall try the SJ worms in the upcoming weeks..

Cheers, Edwin