Some of you may (or may not have) heard the tremendous sigh I voiced at approximately 1100 this morning. Not a whoop or a holler, but nevertheless a loud enough sigh to reverberate off the water and sky and send my tension and stress downriver faster than the current could possibly carry. Yeah, it felt pretty good, but despite a great day of catching carp I would say that the fish are ready but the rivers isn't.
I arrived at the river this morning and my optimism disappeared. The river was high, muddy and cold. No bank at all, just submerged trees. I rigged up and got into the water but after thirty fruitless minutes staring into the murk I was officially going through the motions. I told myself I would walk to a certain point, and I am ashamed to admit that after an hour I stopped a mere 50 yards from my self imposed target. With disgust, I turned around and began a hasty, moribund trudge back to the jeep. I plowed through the muddy river grumbling and scowling, but to my credit I continued to scan the water ahead. Suddenly, about 100 ft ahead I saw something that may or may not have been a swirl in the placid surface. I slowed up but stayed well short of full on stalk mode. Sixty feet out and I saw a dark shape in the dark river that may or may not have been a fish. I stopped. After a full minute of intense squinting the dark shape may or may not have moved. What the hell...I slipped into full on stalk mode and crept closer. At 20 ft I was certain it was a fish but in the murky water I couldn't even decipher head from tail. After a mental coin flip I made a cast and my two fly rig immediately vanished in the sludge. I counted to 6, the shape may or may not have moved and I set the hook. After that I really only remember two things. One...the worlds biggest sigh. And two, praying that I didn't drag back a scale from a foul hooked fish. A few minutes later I slipped this 17 lb beauty into the net.
Here is where it gets slightly amazing, at least considering the spring we have had. For the next several hours I found carp. Regularly. The numbers of fish weren't huge but they were there and ready to eat if you could decipher the fish and take through the mud filled river. I dumped the bad attitude and slipped into full on hunt mode, moving so slowly I could have snuck up on a heron. I got right on top of fish and stared through the muck with such intensity that I swear I was forcing the water to clear up...and I started to hook fish.
Early on the fly of choice was a black and orange bodied soft hackle, but as the day wore on the worm had it's moments and overall I think I landed more fish on the worm.
I landed a total of 18 carp. Not a typo and I kept track since this was the first day I have really found fish. I think the fish are as eager for warm water as me, now it is just a matter of waiting for the river to fall into shape a bit...and a few more degrees would help! Most of the fish were smaller, in the 9-11 lb range but I landed 5 over fifteen lbs. A 15, 16,16,17, and 17 in total. I had one huge mirror carp break me off right at the net (over eager on my part) and while I don't think that fish was in the Wendy Berrell class, it would have been my biggest mirror for sure. I did land one mirror, this 13 lber.
I apologize for the crappy photos...high water + my camera is AWOL...pretty tough taking photos of carp with an iPhone!
I feel better. No more angst filled posts and whining about the cold spring. Prime time is just around the corner!