There are always those particular moments that hit you when on the water. I remember in particular the smallest fish that I caught all trip. We were walking back for a last ditch effort and what was supposed to be a travel zone turned into a carping zone. We spotted fish way up in some grass and caught one or two each...small ones like I said but one that I caught was a take that will replay in my mind. I was crouched at the waist with the fish slow cruising to me through pockets of grass. I dapped a fly into the opening to which the fish was headed and when he cleared the debris the fish reached up like it was picking an apple and grabbed my suspended fly. This was in about 6 inches of water.
I remember Mctage sticking a 16 lb athlete on the open river. Another slow cruiser (my favorite targets) out on the deep edge of the deep and flooded flat. I am not sure how he saw the fish or the take...I just remember the smile as that rocket took off into the depths of the Columbia.
I remember the grass. We fished two kinds of grass...stuff so thick and field grass high that the name of the game was picking an opening and hanging your fly there, hoping the target chose that particular path. And we fished cropped and manicured grass next to picnic tables...so lush and vibrant and green that it was distracting to see these big, dark alien shapes cruising and tailing where families should have been playing frisbee and eating potato salad. In many cases the fish were tailing so vigorously that we simply couldn't get the fly through the grass to the fish's level.
I remember slowing down and taking a moment to look at several of the fish we caught and marvel. Carp are amazing creatures. Big fins, massive tails and broad shoulders...they truly are fascinating. So efficient. At one point, after releasing the big, 31 lb female I grabbed my rod and took a few steps back to the water and stopped. I looked up Mctage and said I needed to take a few minutes to really enjoy that experience properly. I sat on the bank and watched him fish. After a few minutes, I got up and waded back out into the carp. I don't remember if I caught another one that night.