Sunday, October 27, 2013


I haven't fished in quite a while...just haven't been ready to dive I to salmon and steelhead, and the carp are around in such small numbers that it has been hard to get excited. I finally went out today, shamed into hitting a local pond by a constant barrage of texts and images from Dan Frasier and Wendy Berrell...I just needed to see a carp!

So...I went to a local pond that I usually avoid. Once upon a time, this was my go to local spot. My kids both touched carp there when they were babies (JJ was just six weeks old and in a front pack) and I still head there with the kids to let em catch a few fish on bait.

But when it comes to a fly, these might be the most well educated carp in America. This is a small pond...urban, with a decent, but limited population of carp. Over the years I figure I have caught literally every fish in the pond multiple times and they know what is up now. If they see an outline of a person...gone. A waving fly rod...poof. A splashing to the depths. It is a punishment to fish there.

I saw three fish. Two were crawling in some serious shallows, and when I flipped a heavily hackled black fly (the hackle to make it land soft) to the lead fish, both fish spooked and blew mud all over the place in their haste to vacate the area. The third fish was a big one for this pond...maybe 9 lbs. all I could see was the tail, it's head was buried deep in the murk. I snuck into position, and ever so carefully dapped a weighted soft hackle on the fish's head. When the fly broke the surface tension, the fish blew.

Tough go...I already long for the "easy" Columbia river carp!



Monday, October 21, 2013

Hats are in!

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Get one now, supplies are limited!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

End of Season

2013 started with a bang, but ended with a whimper. I caught my first carp in February this year, and in early march I was torturing Dan Frasier of Carp Pro with fish by fish text updates on my way to a 26 carp day. An auspicious beginning indeed. Most of the year was great, and I likely will do some recaps throughout the winter and offseason while slumming (kidding) for winter steelhead and salmon.


But all good things must come to an end, and for me at least...I think the 2013 carp season has run its course. The recent rains have raised all the rivers, dumping cold water into my beloved Columbia, and while the temps of the main river still hover around 60, the steeply declining graph is a killer for a shallow water sight fishing addict. I could extend the season by looking in some ponds, or chasing small carp around office complexes, but it just isn't what I am after. I want the gravel fish...the tailers and slow cruisers and marauders you find when the sun is high, the water clear and the river warm. These are the top fish...the fish that challenge, then frustrate, but ultimately reward you with blistering runs and golden hues. The book is likely closed on such creatures for 2014.

I went out today in search of one last carp in the gravel. I walked two known big fish haunts, and one area I fish soley for the sheer numbers of 7-8 lb fish that typically abound...but in miles of walking, I saw three carp. Total. I nearly had the storybook ending though. The first carp was 8 feet deep, and I only saw him as I stood on a tall boulder, and I never even took my fly off the guide. Carp two and three were together, and materialized out of nowhere. At first I saw a cloud of dust, then the tail of a 10 lber vigorously feeding in deeper water. Then I realized that the big pile of weeds on the surface next to the ordinary fish was actually a monstrous carp, it's tail breaking the surface as it fed nose down in water that rose to my waist. This was one of the two or three largest fish I had seen all was meant to be...I would make the cast, she would eat, and I would clip off my flies in triumph and head home.

Instead, I made the cast and the fish surged forward toward my flies in a cloud of dust. I had to guess as I could no longer see her head, and I guessed wrong, setting the hook with authority and sending both carp fleeing to the depths of the river. I kept walking, but all I saw was a pod of chinook in a creek mouth. I half heatedly threw a hybrid at them and somehow the oldest, nastiest, moldiest fish ate the fly. No carp, and a moldy salmon.

So 2013 ended with a whimper...