I was thinking about this fish on the way home today. Great fish, a solid 22 lbs and when combined with a 21 from earlier in the day, my hot streak continues. Not seeing a ton of fish, but the fish I am seeing are players, and the average size has been up this early season. The river should warm a bit in the next few weeks and it is going to be a fantastic May and June. Back to the fish above...super subtle take. She was tailing in thigh deep water and I couldn't really see her head...just a tail breaking the surface and a mud cloud. I made a good cast, and dragged the hybrid into position near the fish, then let it sink. As always, I made no attempt to watch the flies, and instead focused on the fish, but the real trick was I counted in my head. The very first thing I do when I get to the water is toss my two fly rig in knee and thigh deep water and get a count of how long it takes for those flies to hit bottom. Today, with the combo I had it was a five count. I watched the fish, and counted in my head and as I thought "five" the fish's tail sped up...just a tiny bit but knowing my flies had hit the bottom at that moment was enough. I set the hook and a few minutes later slid this beauty into the net.
It isn't talked about much but knowing your flies sink rate is crucial. In an ideal world you could always see your fly, but normally I can only see where they were during the drag, and I lose them on the drop. When that happens, focus on the fish, but count the flies down. On the big C carp will often reach up and take a sinking hybrid, but that take is easy to detect. The body position changes drastically and a white mouth flashes brightly. The eat once the flies are on the bottom is a lot harder to detect. It sure helps to know the exact moment your fly hits the bottom, as that is often the trigger for a clam eating Columbia river carp.