Sunday, February 26, 2006

My trusty Pflueger Medalist is officially dead.

After approximately 100 carp this year, I finally retired the 1494 1/2. The drag was completely shot. After stripping the line off of it (and onto a mint condition 1494! nice!) I took a good look at the drag. Somehow the plastic piece that is the heart of the drag had been completely grooved and worn down. It was grooved so badly, that no matter how loosely you set the drag it caught, and you effectively were using full drag at all times. This also impacted the line retrieval, and I often had to crank pretty hard just to bring in line! I guess 100 carp are just too many for a plastic drag! I'm sure I'll destroy the 1494 in short order, and will then have to look for a slightly more heavy duty replacement.

I can recall the last great moment of the 1494 1/2. Scott and I were finishing up a nice day on XXXX lake. We had both taken multiple carp, with the best of the day being a nice 11 lb fish that pounced on my carp wooly in 2 ft of water. As we headed back to the car, I spotted a nice carp slowly cruising up the edge of the flat, back out of the water, clearly meaning business. Fortunately, Turner was stuck behind and to my left, so I had the best shot at this fish, which looked like a pretty good one. I stripped out about 40 feet of line and made a false cast to the right of the fish to get the distance, then dropped my crayfish pattern about 1 foot in front, and slightly to the right of the fish. Almost instantly it leapt forward like a cat pouncing on a mouse and sucked in the fly! Fish on! Before Scott or I had a chance to even smile that carp turned and blasted off the flat for deeper water. The remaining 50 feet or so of flyline zipped off my reel before I could even get my fingers to the rim to slow the fish's progress. I did recover and managed to put some pressure on the spool in an attempt to slow the fish, but this fish had no intention of stopping. Scott watched from over my shoulder as my backing flew through the guides. We both looked at my spool, watching the rapidly disappearing backing and ominously shrinking diameter. I looked over at Scott, shrugged, and put even more pressure on the rim of the spool. The flow of lined slowed...slowed...then in a final burst of speed the carp broke free of the tippet and slipped into the depths.

It took forever to crank all that backing and flyline back onto the poor, sick, and broken 1494 1/2. By the time I had returned the line to its home, my arm was tired from the effort. Scott and I headed back to the car, smiles on our faces, knowing two things. First, sooner or later one of us will get another shot at that carp. And second, River City Fly Shop ties one heck of a backing to fly line nail knot!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

A couple of carp related items.

One, I'm retiring my boga grip. It works fine for smaller fish, but the heavier guys (which i'd rather catch!) often end up with ripped lips, and damaged mouths. I figure you should respect the fish, so I'm dumping the grip. I still want to be able to weigh these beasts, as half the fun is chasing a fish big enough to be measured in pounds, rather than inches! With that in mind I just picked up one of these:

I think this should solve the dilemma nicely!

Two, I'm going to pitch in and tie some flies for my friend Andy "AP Emerger's" carp on the fly presentation coming up next week. Here is a link to a Westfly thread with the details:;f=4;t=017143

Scott and I will be doing the tying, and Andy (the OR carp expert who got me started) will be doing the teaching! Should be a fun event, I hope we get a nice turnout. I'll tie the Carp Wooley, and the Crayfish pattern that are my top two flies for carp.

Hope to see some people next week at Andy's presentation!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ugh! Got home tonight and my ultra-brave wife had captured this nasty critter. I am not a fan of spiders. I'm posting some pictures on westfly tonight, hopefully some of those bug lovers can identify this creature!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Scott and I went to my favorite carp flat last Sunday. Conditions were nearly ideal. Flat calm, high sun, but the water temp was only 42 degrees! As you can guess, there were no carp on the flats. We enjoyed walking the flats, looking for fish or signs of fish, but it is just too early. On the bright side, that means I can stay focused on my local pond for a while. On trips to my local pond I'm nearly always accompanied by Elia (she loves the ducks!) and that makes each moment even better than the last. Here is a shot of elia from a few months ago...all lined up in the backpack, ready to go, and holding one of my cheap little fiberglass fly rods while I dig out the perfect fly for that day.

Each day I come up and Elia is speed walking toward the door saying "daddy, daddy!" I'm not even sure how to describe that feeling. She is a joy.

Here is a shot of some recent "quality time" she spent with her mom. I'm lucky to have two great women in my home!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Each weekend I get up with elia one morning and let my wife sleep in a bit longer. During the summer she and I would go to a local pond and fish for carp together...she saw her first carp at just a few months old! With the weather being colder and the carp not active in the morning (and it still being dark!) now we just go get coffee and spend some time together. It is pretty neat to have her all to myself sometimes! Here she is getting ready to head out with me a few weeks ago...

everytime I look at her I'm floored by how much I love my little girl!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

With the potential of a weekend trip to my favorite carp water looming, I hit the tying vise tonight. I have plenty of carp flies, but as with all fishing, you need to tie a few patterns brand new for each trip or you are destined to be skunked. I think that rule is written down somewhere. I tied about a dozen flies in 3 varieties that you can see here. The first fly is the famous "carp wooley." I believe it was originally tied by a guy named Paul Huffman. It is my go to fly...a deadly sucker when dropped within six inches of the mouth of a feeding carp!

My second favorite pattern is the crayfish pattern. It really looks nothing like a crayfish, but this is the only fly that I have consistently had carp move 3-9 feet for...they actually chase this thing when they are in the right mood!

My third fly of choice is usually some type of hare's ear pattern, and of late this rust colored fly has worked well. I am too lazy to tie traditional hare's ears, so this has peackock for a tail and wing case, no ribbing, and I use squirrel hair. Not much of a hare's ear at all, but it works!

I also put up a picture of one of my carp fly boxes. I have 3 that I carry, but this is my main box with all of my go to flies in it. I'm all set! Can't wait to get out this weekend and explore! Hopefully the water is warm enough, and I can find the opportunity to test out these flies!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

you have to feel pretty good today...duke got a big win last night thanks to j.j. redick's continued heroics (that guy is an assassin) and gonzaga/stanford play saturday in a monster game! the sun continues to shine in OR, and every day of sun is one day closer to some of my favorite things:

sunny days, shallow water, and big carp!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

only 20 minutes to Duke/Carolina! biggest game of the year! GO DUKE!

i'm sick of all the whining about duke getting all the calls. don't these people watch basketball? refs make mistakes, and they usually go both ways. to point out one specific call in game and yell about unfair treatment is crazy.

i read this on a basketball forum:

"Never argue with a fool. He'll take the argument down to his level and win on experience."

good advice...

relaxing at home. one of elia's rare moments of serenity.

Monday, February 06, 2006

you can catch these beasts during the winter, but with all the rain i'm dreaming of spring and days like this...