Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fly Swap flies!

Another bad ass swap run by Fly-Carpin! Big thanks to Trevor for handling the 600 plus (!!!) flies. Thanks to Orvis for supplying the boxes, and In The Riffle, Trouts, and of course Carp-pro! This was an awesome group of tiers, and if you see a pattern of interest, head to the Carp-pro forum. They set up a special forum with pictures of the flies...ask for recipes etc. Click here to check it out!

Thanks to all the tiers! What a great set of flies!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Winter Carp

In a word...they suck. At least around here. The water out here is big, and the carp have plenty of options to find the water temps they want, so finding them in the accessible shallows is tough. I usually get a few each winter by hunting around some ponds, but Columbia River fish are pretty tough to find in the winter. I drove around a bit this week and found this:

All told, I saw about a dozen tailing carp, but the light was pretty good and it had been warm and sunny for a few days. I went back after those tailers this weekend, and saw no fish in the shallows. A few days of cold rain dropped the temps down, and the fish went deeper. I stuck it out though...waded the deep edge and peered into the mirror like water for a glimpse of a fish and lo and behold, it worked! Good things happen when you keep your boots in the water. I managed three carp, two little guys and this nice humpback guy.

That fish doesn't look it, but it tipped the scale at 18 lbs...must have been pretty dense...maybe it is that weird hump. The fish were lethargic and barely fought, but it was rewarding nonetheless. Plus, I managed to christen the Orvis Helios 2 with a few carp! Review on that rod coming soon, but let it be is a hell of a fly rod.

Still a ways to go before it heats up, but this was a nice appetizer.



Sunday, February 24, 2013

Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Brandon Fox who wins a dozen flies with this awesome shot of battling a carp! Shoot me a message on Facebook with your address and I will drop the flies in the mail Brandon. Hopefully these come in handy!



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Royal Treatment Fly Shop

Come by Royal Treatment in West Linn, OR on Saturday, March 2nd at 1000. I will be there with a ton of pictures, talking carp, answering questions and tying some flies. Bring some questions and I hope to see you there!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Contest time!

I had a pretty good fishing, but a good time back home in MT. With that in mind, time for a contest. Will keep this pretty simple and use the Facebook page to facilitate. No fancy prizes unfortunately, but who doesn't like free stuff? Even if it is only a dozen flies (assorted) tied by a hack like me? Go to the Facebook page to play, but the rules are:

1) Post a carp picture to my page, anything goes as long as it is related to fly fishing for carp.

2) Spread the word, make it a good photo and get as many "likes" as you can

3) My wife will choose one winner, from the three pictures with the most "likes."

4) Contest ends Sunday evening when it is convenient for my wife...winner will be announced Sunday evening.

5) Winner gets a dozen flies...I will put in an assortment of the stuff I fish. I know this isn't much of a prize, but mostly I just want to see a ton of great carping photos!

Spread the word! It is mid February, spring is a long ways away and I want to see some photos!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Slab of the Year!

Holy crap, a carp just won Moldy Chum's Slab of the Year!

Thanks for all the votes everyone! I will put that cheeky reel to good use...on more carp!

You guys are awesome! Thanks for voting and thanks to Moldy Chum for such a fun contest. Cheeky, Patagonia and the rest of the sponsors stepped up with some big time prizes too!

Thanks for the votes!

Sunday, February 10, 2013



Catching carp on the fly is a numbers game. No amount of skill, tips, tricks, or techniques can change that basic fact. These fish are tough, so if you want to be successful in terms of numbers, you better have a lot of opportunity. A good day for me during on the Columbia is somewhere between 10-20 fish in a it 15. By myself, with decent conditions and nothing weird going on I can reasonably expect to put about that many fish in the net, give or take a few for being zoned in, or zoned out. To some, that number will seem really low, to others it might seem really high...but the truth is it really comes down to some relatively simple math.

On a day when I land 15 carp I have likely seen 100+ fish. I have likely put the fly on several dozen fish, and if I am lucky or on my game, I hook and land about 15 or so. Math. Opportunity. Numbers. Wendy Berrell once said that on the Columbia, the best carp anglers are lucky to catch 50% of the fish they cast to. I don't consider myself one of the best by a long shot and am thrilled if I stick 1/3 of the fish that see my fly on a given day. I do fish with some of the best...guys like Travis, David, and Mr. P. but even those guys don't stick over 50% on the big C. Like Wendy has just doesn't happen.

Granted...I am at times my own worst enemy. I have two basic rules that I follow about 99% of the time, and those rules both cost me fish, and result in fish. First, as I have mentioned before...I never cast until I can see the carp's head. Out here the name of the game is detecting the take, and you simply can't do that unless you know where the mouth is, and can see the head, at least as an outline. What do I do if I can't see the head? If the fish is buried in a cloud from tailing, or too deep, too far, etc. I either wait, or I try to get closer. This absolutely results in blown opportunities...but I believe it also results in better opportunities...and the latter more often than the former.

Second...I firmly subscribe to the "bonk them on the head" philosophy. You have to keep in mind that in my experience an aggressive big C fish will move about 4-8 inches to eat a more. You of course run into the occasional kamikaze fish out here that thinks it is a smallmouth bass, but most fish in this river are simply lazy. They don't have to move far, so they simply don't move far. If the morsel a foot away and clearly in their vision gets away...well, so be it. There is plenty of forage laying around on the floor of the big C. When you take all of that into consideration...a fly that lands two feet away from your target might as well land 20 feet away for all the good that cast will do you. So I smack em right on the head. As you can guess...I spook more than my share of fish, but I stick a few as well. I don't know...I am sure it would be smarter at times to give the fish a little more cushion, but I have pretty much always been the type of guy who goes for the win, even if it risks a loss.

Which brings me to today. I saw 6 fish, 5 in a tiny little creek, 1 in a pond. One fish was positive, five were negative. I put the fly on 5 fish...the negative ones. I couldn't see the head of the positive tailing fish, so I tried to get a different angle and spooked the fish without making a cast. I went 0/5 on the negative fish.

I was an English major in college...but even I can do that math.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

I couldn't take it any longer

So I went carp fishing. To be more exact, I went for a walk around some local ponds. With my beloved Columbia River too cold to be considered as an option, I hit up the local scene in the hopes that a few resident fish would be on the edges or in the shallows. The water looked good, but in 4 stops I saw zero fish, nor any signs of fish. January sucks.

The ponds are at winter levels, drawn down with the spring and summertime flats high and dry. I knew it was a bust about ten minutes in but I kept walking fly fish for carp you quite simply need to be or to become an optimist. As Wendy Berrell says, faith is a must and that goes for both finding fish, and detecting the take. I had one near giddy moment when a series of bubbles made my heart stop briefly, but despite some intense staring, no fish materialized.

The good news? The Helios 2 is an absolute bad ass fly rod. I spent 30 minutes booming out casts, hitting every dark spot for which I aimed and in general marveling at this fishing tool. I have to be honest, it is going to be impossible to sit this rod in a closet and wait for spring to get a carp on it...I can see a coast trip or a winter trout run in my very near future.