Sunday, April 05, 2009


And winter is officially over. Once again, I found myself stalking the flats of the Columbia in search of clamshells, pockmarks, movement, shadows, shapes, tails...and lips. Big puffy carp lips sucking up any morsel of food they can find. It is a tough thing to explain properly to someone, this fascination with shallow water and fish so ugly they can only seem beautiful in the perfect light, or when only seen in bits and pieces. With the sun hitting a patch of scales at the right angle, the gold color can be dazzling, but take a step back and view the fish as a whole and it is not as easy to argue with those who call the carp ugly. Still, there is beauty in the pursuit. With carp, you can't wait for the fish to come to you, you have to find a way to the fish. Moving up the flats today I was reminded that you can't just stomp up to a carp. Only after a few forceful reminders did I slow myself down and find the right tempo...the careful stepping, the constant scanning in all directions. It didn't take long to get my mojo back.

I don't care who you are...that fish there is 6 months off the flats, dozens of hours at the vice, and 26 lbs of pure beauty.

After several hours of searching today I finally found that patch of warm water in the cold, cloudy Columbia. And that little area was loaded with carp. They ate the worm, I caught two on that all time great pattern. Without a doubt, a serious carp angler could carry a fly box full or worm patterns, and nothing else. Fish flat out eat that fly. I forced myself to fish another slutty little pattern I'd tied last night using some fancy new tungsten beads, and some hareline wiggle dubbing I found on line. Fish eat that little monster too. Still, the winning fly of the day was the venerable Montana Carrot. Once again I am amazed at Mr. P's carp carrot. I fish mine with a little more motion and some rubber legs, but it is basically the same fly and carp love it. I found myself fishing to hordes of carp in large pods, prepping to spawn. Most fish ignored every fly, but every once in a while a big mouth would open up and suck that carrot in as it fell to the bottom. Just deadly.

As carp openers go...this one ranks pretty high. The smallest fish of the day weighed 12 lbs...the largest that 26 lb beast pictured above. Most of the fish were between 15 and 19 lbs...and I did get a second "over 20" fish (21 on the nose). 11 fish total, and probably over 200 lbs combined weight. I find that beautiful too.


It is going to be a good year.

20 comments:

Wendy Berrell said...

Very envious. That carp looks just flat out heavy - dimensions are all there Great fish.

Post some pics of the sluts when you get a chance.

Glad you finally got out - we needed a little story.

john montana said...

The second fish pictured was 21...check out that fat belly.

that fly on the end is the wiggle fly. looks like crap until it is in the water.

Royce Gracie said...

What a monster. Is that your career best?

Jean-Paul Lipton said...

He's back! Now I can spend the rest of the summer feeling inadequate.

Nice job John!

john montana said...

Career best common was just over 30lbs. General Sherman (grass carp) was probably mid 50s, but i didn't weigh the General.

you coming west royce?

JP, check out the wiggle dubbing...right up your alley.

Michael Gracie said...

That didn't take you long.

Awesome!

Joel Hays said...

AWESOME! If you ever make it down to north Texas, let me know; we'll put you on some of our freshwater reds!
www.dfwflyfishing.com

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dpstar said...

John,
Great post to start the season. I spent alot of time Sunday and Monday searching here near Hood River but no sign of the ghosts yet.

dpstar said...

John,
Great post to start the season. I spent alot of time Sunday and Monday searching here near Hood River but no sign of the ghosts yet.

Fat Guy Alex said...

Awesome stuff, in the true definition of the word, as I am left in awe and wonder.

Paul Huffman said...

What's the crinkly green material in the tail of that fly?

john montana said...

Paul, that is some flashabou, but i have also been using crystal flash and peacock swords.

Colorado Angler said...

Nice! I've done my share of cat and carp on my pole, but nothing like what you have there. Wow.

By the way, I used to live in Aloha...miss the PNW something fierce - enjoy the Spring weather for me!

Tight Lines....

Kev2380 said...

Hey John, I finally got a carp to shore, I have a movie of it on my blog. I still need to get a bigger net. I was messing with the liter and the fish popped off.

Noah said...

Cool fly. What's the carrot fly?

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