Sunday, May 06, 2012

Near Misses


Today was a good day. Gotta get that said and out of the way, lest the three of you that read this crap will think I am whining in the second half. I'm not. Today rocked. I caught many carp (somewhere between 15-20) including this great mirror carp:

Not large by any measure (will get to that later) but I dig mirror carp. This one was about9 lbs, and most of the fish today were your standard 9-11 lb variety. I caught one "big" 15 lber and one "big" 16 lber...I saw my backing a lot, including some blistering runs and I saw some sweet takes, but today was mostly about two near misses rather than any that I landed. It started with this.

That is a pretty major feed spot, and I could see a regular trail of them heading down the shallows. The water here was cold and rocky, not the soft bottom where I expected to find the fish, but this was as obvious as any deer trail I ever saw back in my hunting days, so I followed. Every five or ten feet there was another big divot, and some of the rocks this fish was moving were pretty big. Whatever was making this ruckus had to be large. After following for about 100 ft, I finally saw the fish, and it was a monster. I spotted her at about 30 ft away, facing shore and digging another trench. Before everyone jumps on me about "the big one that got away" let me just say that I agree there is a massive over estimate on fish in general (and carp specifically). I have tried to combat my own "fisherman's eyes" by carrying a digital scale, and I have weighed a lot of fish the past 6 years...I am pretty zoned in, even when just looking at a carp in the water. This fish was easy mid 20s. An absolute horse. At only thirty feet away, I had a great shot her and I cast with confidence. The cast was good, and the flies settled to the bottom about a foot from the feeding fish. Unfortunately, that was as close as the flies got. I let the flies sit there for about 5 seconds to see if she would move forward, then made one small strip to kick up some mud...and the fish bolted. Gone. Near miss #1.

Near miss #2 was even more heartbreaking. I kept moving down the cold, rocky section and after a few hundred yards I saw a big, dark rock about 80 ft away. I took a few more steps and looked at the rock was a lot closer than it should have been. And it was a big rock. I slowly moved up against the trees on the bank and stripped out about twenty five feet of line. The plan was simple...stand there until the fish was an optimal distance away and catch it. It worked too. The big rock (carp) moved perfectly into position, and was clearly looking for food. I made a short, 24 ft cast at the fish that was 25 ft away and the instant the fly hit the water the big carp surged forward and I saw a white mouth open and close. I stripped hard, figuring I had her nailed, but instead of seeing a hooked fish surging out of the shallows I saw a confused looking carp milling around in a small circle. I let the fly sink to the bottom and when the fish had turned to face me again I gave the fly a small, one inch strip to create a puff. Up went the tail, down went the head...I counted to one and trout set on. The fish shot by me as I frantically took up line and then leapt in the air like a rainbow, something carp rarely do.

It was a huge mirror. See disclaimer above re: size estimations. That fish was 20 + lbs...easy. And a mirror. I backed down to a place I could beach her, not wanting to risk the net on such a big fish. That decision probably cost me my first 20 lb mirror. As I towed the big girl to the beach, already composing a photo in my head the hook just popped free. It literally just flew out of her mouth, inches from water shallow enough to force her on her side. Is it okay for grown men to cry? I hope so...I have been after a 20 lb mirror for years...and I was mere inches from meeting that goal.

Like I said was a great day, no whining...but I will remember the near misses a lot more than the sure things.



Mr. P. said...

Even I'm bummed about your Mirror John.

testflycarpin said...

To have that fish circle and retake must have been an incredible roller-coaster of emotion. And then to lose it freakishly, what a crazy ride.

Pat Cohen said...

I know how that feels....I have been chasing carp in this one lake for two years now...never able to find a feeding location...They sun in one bay, but are never active...I found the location today where they I hooked into one...well over the 20 lb mark...took my line out then my hook pulled...leaving nothing but mud trails in every direction...spooking every fish in the area...part of the game

Wendy Berrell said...

Great story here. I like tales of lost fish and near misses. Remember, it's your campaign that makes you; you've already got a 20 lb mirror, you just don't have it yet. This is another chapter of a great story.

Ty said...

Yeah man, that blows. I've found no number of caught fish will soothe the knot in your gut from a great fish lost.

And Wendy - "it's your campaign that makes you" - Good stuff right there.

Gregg said...

Did I just say something about clear water? Great story!!! Having yet to catch a mirror,(my ponds seem to lack them, rivers OK.,) much less one of 20 lb. plus, and never that many carp in one day, I feel your oh crapness. Better mirror next time!


Unknown said...

Of course leave it to the king of carp to find a way to complain about a 15-20 fish day. You need to live a day in my life for some perspective! ;)

John Montana said...

In my was a really big mirror Tim!