But with the carp itch far from sated I hit the road today with one thing in mind. Big fish. The columbia is loaded with carp but the truly big fish hang out in much different water than your average big c carp. If you want a big one, ignore the mud flats, shallow bays and standard carping fare. First and foremost, large carp want access to deep water, so I fish edges and drop offs. I also look for larger gravel and cobble, even boulders. This means covering more water, and fishing a 2-3 ft window rather than a big flat. Today I charged through the shallow stuff pretty quickly I. Order to get to the marginal water that I hoped would hold the fish I was after.
Of course, on the way through the flats I had to make a few casts! I think I landed the first three tailers I saw, which felt pretty good. The sun was high, the fish were there and the only thing really holding me back was the wind. Hands down, this was the worst wind I have ever fished in (yes roughfisher, even worse than those spring). Many times during the day I nearly fell in after a particularly powerful gust. An hour or two into my walk and it was basically impossible to cast into the wind. I had to stealth my way into an angle on the fish I. Order to have a chance of getting the fly to them.
I moved along the marginal water and had my share of shots at large fish. I hooked three. The first one popped off quickly and I found a scale on my hook. Snag job. Big fish #2 got off in a weedbed, as did #3. I just couldn't put it all together today. The third big one I hooked was scary, freakishly big. Easily the biggest common I have ever hooked. That fish just materialized as a huge fantail near the surface of some deep water on a drop off. I crouched down and snuck close as it slowly pivoted and moved in to shallow water. I flipped the fly to the fish from about 20 ft away, and it took in a classic "stop tailing and move forward" manner. I was stunned that it came together so easily, but not so stunned that I missed the hook set. Unfortunately, the weeds were close by and the fish got off quickly. What a beast though. It is only a matter of time before I get one that size.
I walked back through the shallows and stuck some more fish. The biggest of the day was a 16 lber that I caught off a gravel bar. It was a really nice day on the water. The big fish are out there, but it might be next year before I get to them again.