Sunday, August 03, 2008


I was massively skunked today. Horribly, completely, insanely skunked. The funny thing is when I woke up this morning and my wife gave me the green light to go fishing, I had a moment of sheer confidence that I was going to crush the carp today. I planned on exploring new water, looking for big fish and figured that by going solo even if I had limited chances at big fish, I'd get into some. Instead, I stumbled my way through the day like a complete novice. I'm really not kidding when I say it was horrible. Every single skill or misc. piece of good fortune that makes me a decent angler deserted me today. For starters, I couldn't cast. I'd line up a nice fish, fire off a perfect false cast to the side to gauge the distance and then dump a ball of line with a fly buried in the middle of it 10 ft short of said fish when I redirected to lay it out there. I looked like Swigs when he first picked up a flyrod back in MT after college (sorry Swigs...true. By the way...great monster bass you caught!) Along with my casting, my vision was virtually useless. Usually I'm eagle eyes on the water, spotting motion, color, shapes, etc. long before I "should" be able to, which allows me to get into position to make the cast. Not today...I spooked so many fish today that I was beginning to wonder if I had somehow switched my polarized lenses for non polarized. Finally, I'm usually a pretty agile guy. Wendy Berrell calls me the Mountain Goat, and some of my trout fishing friends dubbed me Legolas after I bounded through a snowfield during the Metolius Death March of 2006. Today, all sense of athleticism abandoned me. I stumbled on rocks, got stuck in the sand, slipped on tiny patches of mud, and even tripped over a few sticks. I fell into the river on 3 separate occasions.

Despite all of this..I should have slayed them! I STILL found the carp...big ones too. I was eye to eye with a 30 lber for a good .5 seconds...literally. I was making one more step when I slipped, fell in the water and that fish spooked right toward me. He damn near ran me over. I hooked and lost about 5-6 fish. Two or three were lost to the massive weedbeds that seems to accompany the water I'm learning holds big fish. 2 fish that I lost really stand out in my mind because they highlight my ineptitude. One fish broke me off because I didn't clear the line from around my reel. 1X tippet won't hold a carp in the teens when your flyline is wrapped around your reel seat. Fish number two broke me off in similar fashion when the flyline became wrapped around my LEG. That also ended in a dunking number 2-3 for the day...not sure which one. For the record Wendy, I did fish your Legion of Doom. I spotted a big tail, dumped the LOD on him and that fish darted forward...I set the hook, and off he went into the weedbed with your fly, never to be seen again.

At the end of the day, I forced myself to make one more stop. I just knew that if I could get to the water before the light was bad, I could turn the day around with a nice fish. I sprinted for the water, putting the rod together as I moved. I stopped at the edge of the river and put on a nasty looking crayfish pattern. I hadn't walked 10 ft of river in the fading light when things started to come together. 30 ft away, I could see a dark shape moving toward me. Remarkable because I could only see a cone about 5 feet wide, and this fish was RIGHT in the middle of the cone. I made a cast one foot to the left, 2 feet in front. Unlike most of my casts today, it unrolled true and perfect. I let the fly settle as the fish eased forward. When he was nearly parallel to the fly, I gave it a crayfish hop. That carp jumped on that fly like he had been waiting for it his entire life. I set the hook with a whoop of joy! I had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a crayfish pattern and this big fish! For 3 seconds I was elated, looking forward to getting a closer look at the beast that had sucked in that big fly...then the line went slack. Gone. I reeled up, fly still there, hook still sharp but alarmingly unattached to anything. With that, I clipped off my fly and headed for home.

Carp fishing is tough.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I got skunked ONCE...
the Reel John Montana heh heh heh

Wendy Berrell said...

What a tale - as interesting as success stories.

I bet you were not exaggerating when you said you "sprinted" to the river when the day was coming to a close with a skunk on your back... I can see that.

You know 100% that your next outing will find many fish.

Sometimes a guy has to get whipped. You know what you can do, and what you've done... so that makes this less painful and more part of the life-long saga.

Jean-Paul Lipton said...

looks like your feet finally touched the ground the other day and joined the ranks of us other carp fly fishing mortals.

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