Monday, March 31, 2014

Fiberglass fun

Ona particularly great mail day a few weeks ago I found an Orvis Superfine Glass 5 weight on my doorstep. Thanks again Orvis! I have played with glass on and off over the years, but this is my first "modern" glass rod, and I was eager to get it out on the water. Granted, a five weight is a little light for big river fish, but I planned to hit the slough and some ponds and best up on some smaller carp. Well, you know what they say about the best made plans? Of course I couldn't resist casting to this big female when I saw her, laid up with two other big fish and seemingly just chilling. I laid a hybrid about three inches in front of her face, saw the gills flare and it was off to the races.

It got a little complicated here. I had an Orvis CFO reel, just a perfect little click and pawl, but not especially suited to stopping a 22 lb carp. I palmed the reel and watched the rod flex all the way to the cork as I attempts to steer the big girl out of a pile of sticks and a downed tree. It was quickly apparent that I wasn't going to force this fish to turn, so I switched it up and tried a little reverse psychology. I flipped the rod over and tried to pressure the fish toward the sticks, and miraculously, she swam away from them into open water. A few minutes later Travis slid the net under this beautiful fish.

After some celebration, we kept looking and in no time Travis had dropped a hybrid in from of this nice 16 lb athlete. Great early season fish for Travis!

As always, it was great fishing with Travis. We have been out together twice already this year, and hopefully can keep that going. Travis knows his stuff and is one of the best carp fisherman I know. He had two good looks at a mid 20s fish that just didn't eat on this trip, but next time out he will stick that monster!


A word on the Superfine...FUN! That really is the best possible way to describe this rod. It is an absolute joy to cast and to fight fish. I had no trouble casting a two fly rig and the rod handled the smaller fish just fine. I have landed around 35 carp on the rod so far and absolutely intend to find ways to keep fishing it, but when it comes time to hunt big river gravel bar fish I will bust out the heavy artillery and go H2 and Mirage reel. The Superfine forced me to slow down, relax, and enjoy the process as much as the result. I think occasionally we forget that part of least I do and the last two outings have been a great reminder. This rod is meant to be fished and enjoyed, and I intend to do both as often as possible.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Targets and Glass rods

Yeah...that about covers the targets thing.

Two really cool things today. One, I fished with Ryan. He has been coming to presentations and corresponding with me for a while, and we finally hit the water together today. With a new baby on the way (congrats Ryan!) fishing time can be tough...glad it worked out. And two...I fished an Orvis Superfine Glass Rod. Incredibly FUN to fish that 5 wt...will write more on it later but the best way to describe it is FUN! Not going to replace my H2 as a tool, but I will find a way to chase small carp with this thing often. Great fun.

As for the fishing...they are starting to wake up! I had already caught around 85 fish this year, but maybe one or two actually pulled line from the reel. They woke up today, spooked, ran, fought a was pretty nice. It is only going to get better from here!

I caught my fill on hybrids, and Ryan did well also...sticking fish on a combination of hybrids and San Juan worms. The sun beat down and the fish were active...Ryan even stuck his first mirror! The season is here folks! Get out there, find any water that will be a few degrees warmer than the surrounding water and take a peak! Thanks again for a fun day Ryan!



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Rule #1

Over the last couple of years this whole carp thing has really taken off. Tons of interest, from a huge range of locations and people...honestly, it has been a massive amount of fun. Carp are awesome, and more and more people are figuring that out. Good to see.

As people get more involved, there are two questions that pop up frequently. Number 1 is "where do you fish?" I have to admit here that I am not often super helpful. I grew up in MT, and as such I have lived my entire fishing life by the "show not tell" rule. Take the time to get to know me and if we can make it out to the water I am happy to show people around, but if have a tough time giving out anything other than general locations otherwise. Sorry, I know I suck...but "show not tell" is a hard thing for a Montana boy to shake.

Question #2 is simpler in many respects because I have zero issue sharing any other tips I can. I don't consider myself an expert, but I have been after carp a lot longer than many people out there and in this game experience matters. The problem with question #2 is that the answer isn't necessarily what people want to hear.

What kind of flies should I use?

Sounds simple enough, but to be honest, I spent about two months of futility when I got started because I asked the same question, and fished the flies that were the "answer."

The truth...there is no ONE magic carp fly that works for all carp...but there is likely ONE magic carp fly that will work for your carp. It all comes down to Rule #1: Know your forage. Carp are amazing creatures, and they will figure out how to maximize their caloric intake while expending the least amount of energy possible. This means that while they will feed on virtually anything, they will absolutely have a primary forage that will vary from body of water to body of water.

I spent two months on my home waters throwing wooly buggers, stripping crayfish patterns, and trying to get carp to chase a clouser swimming nymph. By all accounts those are three fine, fine carp fly patterns. But on the big C...I got stoned. The fish wouldn't chase, in fact more often than not they spooked and all I was doing was getting sun burnt and frustrated.

But I also got educated. If they wouldn't eat or chase those flies, I thought to myself, what were they eating. I flipped over rocks, dug hands into the mud and found small nymphs, aquatic worms and the like. These items can't sprint away from carp, so the fish didn't need to chase...and they were much smaller. I downsized...I slowed up my presentation and boom! I was into fish. A year or two later the clam revelation hit, and the numbers and size of the carp I began to catch went up in a hurry.

Now, when people ask me "What flies should I fish for carp?" The easy answer would be the Hybrid. I catch 80% of my carp on that fly, and it is a concrete answer that I can give complete with a picture, list of tying materials, and even a link to where you can buy some.

But it is the wrong answer. The right answer is to say Rule #1: Know your forage. I can't possibly know what fly you should use unless I know the forage your fish use. Figure that out, and you are in business. There are tons and tons of carp fly patterns out there, and they all will work in the right situation. Find out what situation you face...know your forage and then pick one of the myriad of patterns that have been and are being designed for that situation.