Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring is officially here, not ushered in by the radio reports and equinox, but by firm sand flats, cobble strewn shallows and gold tails, waving near the suface.

Most of that came true today. WIth the temps in the mid 60s and a forecast of mostly sunny I tore myself away from the kids and the NCAA tournament and searched out a flat. Armed with a 7 wt Gary Borger Targus rod and the usual assortment of flies I donned my waders and stalked through the frigid shallow water. Yep, it was cold. So cold that 5 steps in I was nearly positive that the only fish I'd see this weekend were the goldfish that Elia planned to catch in our neighborhood pond tomorrow. I kept moving and scanning, moving and scanning and after about an hour of walking the bottom became less firm and I moved into the area where I thought I'd have my best chance of seeing some carp. Minutes later, I was frantically trying to take my fly off the guides as a decent fish moved slowly past me. Rusty...couldn't get organized in time for that one, but I was forwarned now!

The second fish I saw turned out to be the first fish of 2010, and the first and only tailer I saw today. The fish barely moved from his feeding spot, but the slight head turn was enough to make me set the hook. A few minutes later and I was cradling a 19 lb carp in my hands. What a start to the season! I kept moving, and found targets on the edge of the flat, mostly in deeper water, and mostly immobile. The water stayed cold, and the fish lethargic. I hooked another one, and it scaled an idential 19 lbs on the digital. Fish #3 came in a 16 lbs, and I figured I was bound to get a really big one if i kept going.

As is usually the case though, the action slowed dramatically. I kept moving and seeing fish here and there, but I couldn't get them to move more than mere inches for the fly, and they were spooky too! Bad combination...I was forced to put the fly right on them, but the slightest splash sent them moving slowly out to deep water. I managed 3 more; an 11 lb mirror, and a 12 and 13 lb common. They took both the carp carrot and the worm fly (3 each actually). For a while I kept beating my head against the water trying to force a carp to eat one of my new rabbit strip creations, but the bottom line was these fish were not going to chase a fly. The water was just to cold.

All in all, a solid start to the 2010 season. I feel satisfied, and can't really explain how good it felt to stalk the flats and hunt such noble fish. If you are taking the time to read this blog, I probably don't need to try to explain it. Any fisherman knows why we do what we do. The real season should begin in a month or so...this was a nice precursor, but the water is still a bit cold, and we need a warming trend to really get things going.


Kev said...

Very nice John and what a great start for you.

Wendy Berrell said...

And so the seal is broken. Nice work. Great fish.

Having visions of carp here. Coming soon.

cort said...

Hey John, I have been blog stocking you for a little while now, and I enjoy reading about your carp hunts. I am just getting into carp on the fly, and I am trying to figure it all out. Do you mind answering a couple basic questions that I have about it? If so you can email me at

Thanks man!

Kurt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kurt said...

I'm just now getting into fly fishing for carp too. Your stories are pretty inspiring, I must say. While I haven't had nearly as much "luck" as you, I've finally found me a good spot to go...and hopefully will be setting the hook on some soon!

Carlos Rubio said...

Hi, this is Carlos Rubio, from SPAIN.... I enjoy watching your pictures about carps... here carps star to move in May - June, but we will try to catch it as soon as posible. At the moment trouts are the first option... Take a look to my blog:

Carlos Rubio said...

Here, only carps in my blog...

Feather Chucker said...

Hey bud, I need your guidance. We've had freakishly warm weather hear lately. I found this small spillway with shallow water and about 50 carp. They are mudding and jumping here and there. I can't tell if their spawning or just feeding. To top it off I can't get them to hit anything. I've tried midges, hairs ear, buggers, different color buggers, clousers, you name it, even a garlic bagel. Not one hit. They don't seem to be too spooked by my casts. They may move at first but come back. I've tried small strips, fast strips, slow strips. No success.

John Montana said...

kev, if they are in Big groups and moving around I a frenzy they are likely spawning and very tough to catch. Look for individual fish tailing with their head down and try to target that specific fish. Best of luck!

Feather Chucker said...

Thanks for the info today, funny enough I caught one on a big river today. It was nothing compared to the ones you've caught but it was the first I've landed. Caught it on a black bead head wooly bugger. I hope to have pics on my blog soon. I think the fish was around 7-8lbs.

Feather Chucker said...

Hey John,

I put pics up of the carp I caught yesterday. Check it out,

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Unknown said...

Oh the fishes were so big.Nice catch.
photographer madrid

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