Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Painful Reminder

I was wading about ankle deep. To my right was a wall of bushes, and to my left the water went from ankle, to knee, to thigh to belly deep in maybe ten feet. Big fish water. Normally I approach this type of water and realize it is a numbers game. My goal is to be in the right spot the moment the big fish moves out of the depth to feed. If she moves in way ahead of me she will probably leave before I get there and I won't see her. If she moves in behind me, I won't see her. If she doesn't move in, I won't see her. With that in mind I usually motor through this type of water quickly. I trust my eyes. I can spot carp, usually at a distance so I often walk a lot faster than most people would guess when I am hunting big fish. But today I had a strange angle, and a nasty glare that not even my trusty Costa 580g's could, the drop off was too steep to wade out and look in (using the bushes shadow to cut the glare). My only option was to crawl forward slowly, and it paid off.

I spotted the color first. Just a dark patch, 25 feet away but as I slowly cut the distance I could suddenly see a tail. I stopped then. It was a BIG tail, and I was only 20 feet away. I was tempted to make the cast now, but I couldn't see the head and this carp was happy, digging away, tail waving lazily. It was not going to chase a fly, not going to move. I needed to feed this fish, so I inched forward, looking for the head. At about 15 feet away I had a clear view of the fish, and remarkably, I had gotten there without spooking it. I made a long cast, letting my flies splash several feet away, the dragged them into position and let them sink. Here is where I messed up.

The second the lead fly (a trouser worm) hit the bottom the fish stopped tailing and inched forward. I could clearly see the fly, and clearly see the huge fish and it massive white bucket mouth about 4 inches from the t worm. The fish stopped, tail barely moving, holding itself in place as it considered the fly. I held my breath, certain I was about to latch onto a 30 plus lb fish. 5 seconds went by, then 10...I started to get itchy. The fish continued to stare. 15 seconds, I waited...20 seconds and I couldn't wait any longer. I twitched the fly and the big fish immediately spooked, and spooked hard. Water blew up, mud billowed and the fish ripped to the depths with one push of its tail.

A painful reminder...don't move your fly.

I have learned this over the years on the big c. The carp out here don't like to chase. They will reach out and grab a fly, turn left, turn right, occasionally dart forward but for the most part the only motion that doesn't spook them is a fly falling to the bottom. They seem t accept gifts from the heavens. On the big C, your best move is simple:

Show them your fly, and then let them eat it.



Gregg said...

Good John. If I'm sure the carp have seen my fly I never move it either, especially in my spring pond, though those are not 30lb. fish. Too bad that!


Unknown said...

Speaking of your Costa's, I've been planning on getting a new pair of glasses. Do you have a lens color recommendation???

Oh, and it is comforting to know that you mess up chances from time to time too.

John Montana said...

Tim, I am partial to the green mirror. Truthfully, those are the only glasses I will wear. The 580 glass in green mirror is perfect for out here.

And I miss fish all the time! Total hack, I just see a lot of targets!

Unknown said...

Good info John. That's the color I was leaning towards too. I've got some copper glasses as well that aren't quite as nice so some green costa's might be a perfect addition.

Wendy Berrell said...

Good story. Did you hard twitch it, or slow drag?

Carp Aficionado said...

Do you think that fish eventually takes after inspecting the fly that long? My thinking is that the fish already has doubts and likely isn't going to eat. I'm with you on not moving the fly, but wonder if it was your only shot at inducing a take given the carp's reluctance to move in on the fly. What are your thoughts?

Nate said...

Cool stuff. Just saw you in the new "This is Fly" magazine in the RA Beattie article about his upcoming film on carp fishing.

Unknown said...

I'm with Ty on this one - a fish hesitating that long seems like it was on the way out the door anyway. I'm also with you - I would've HAD to twitch, just to break the suspense if nothing else.

Unknown said...

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