Friday, May 14, 2010

On Sunday, I turn 35. For some reason I find that really hard to believe. It just seems like yesterday when I was catching shiners with Clint Wiedholtz at Bay Point. We tied fishing line to long sticks and just dropped flies on the 3-5 inch long minnows. Later that day we would come back with real fishing gear and soak live bait for Northern Pike. Completely illegal by the way. I was talking to a client the other day and they asked me about my fondest childhood fishing memory. The answer came easily enough and despite many great days with Clint (we all called him Dick) my favorite fishing as a child came courtesy of my dad. He drove trains for the Burlington Northern, and one time while working a track cleaning train outside Libby, MT he took me along. I got to ride the train out every morning and they would drop me off along the Kootanai River. I'd cast big bushy dry flies to trout all day long only to rush back up to the tracks to hitch a ride back to the rail yard and the waiting super 8. Pretty sweet deal all in all.

I made a few memories today as well. Carp fishing for me at this point is getting to be less and less about the fight, or even the size of the fish (well, sort of). What I'm after nowadays is that perfect moment when the stalk, cast, fish and fly all come together. I live for the take. Today, I walked into a gazillion spawning fish. Literally. When carp spawn, they just don't give a damn. You can walk right over the top of them and they just kind of shrug you off. I was a rod length away from a fish that was somewhere between 30-40 lbs, but no way was that fish going to eat. My dad would have snagged it right in the ass! I watched it dart by, harrassed by 3-4 smaller males. Fishing amidst the spawners can be frustrating, but I've learned to fish the edges of the groups. I look for singles and pay close attention to the body posture. If the tail is higher than the head, they might eat (duh). I managed about 10-12 carp...all fish were heavy, solid fish. The smallest was around 10-12 lbs, with the biggest being my personal best mirror carp that weighed in at 17 lbs. I'm a mirror fanatic. I'll cast at mirror carp over big fish any day, and today I landed 3. I actually had a good look at a mirror that might have been mid 20s, but alas...that fish had other things on its mind. The best part though, was this perfect little take. The carp was easing along a gravel bar, tailing right where the gravel turned to sand and I had a perfect 45 degree, 25 ft cast to an extremely visible fish. One cast, the fly sunk about 8 inches ahead of the tailer and the fish stopped tailing, eased forward, and stood right on its head. Perfect.

Lastly before some photos...I have a new favorite carp bug. A little green nymph that they ate the shit out of today. I busted it off horsing in an athletic fish that didn't want to give up. Very basic pattern though, so I'll hit the vice and make use of Singlebarbed's awesome scissors (check them out...nice little tool!)



9 comments:

Barry said...

John, here in Oklahoma fly-fishing for carp has been slow to catch on. However, a friend of mine and I are trying to change that. We've had nowhere the success you have but having the time of our lives. We started fly-fishing for trout this spring with basically no knowledge but boy... have we ever learned a lot.

Love the info you provide.
http://prairieoceanflyfisher.blogspot.com

john montana said...

Nice looking blog Barry. Keep on those fish!

Wendy Berrell said...

Appreciate reading those reflections. It seems like fishermen are always evolving, through various approaches, species, techniques and goals.

Good account and beautiful mirror carp there.

Jean-Paul Lipton said...

booya, that is a fat piggy of a mirror. Hope the spawn is over by the time Wendy makes it West.

Micah said...

John,

Since your in the Portland area; just want to mention that if your up for a trip to the beach; Devil's lake Lincoln City oregon is downright stuffed with carp. I'd like to get a report from you or join you to scout it out. Many fish single and in schools can be sighted near the shore tailing.

clark said...

Nice blog.That's a pretty good catch I say.
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clark said...

Nice reflections too.
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The Nothing said...

After finding your blog via OFF, I thought I'd check things out. Definitely interested in what you have going on...

I had to chime in on this post though. I know this area of the Koot. I spent many summers in Troy fishing the Kootenai and the Yaak. I was likely just down river a ways when you were.