Monday, June 26, 2006

I went out for an hour tonight after Elia went to bed. With all the fish I saw last night, I figured I could get another big one! So of course, I saw 3 carp total...all of which were cruising fast, and not interested in eating. I did spot a nice bass in the shallows...bass are MUCH easier to catch than carp!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Quick report from the weekend.

Headed out with Elia Saturday afternoon. It was too hot to stay out long, but we managed two fish. One a little 5 lber that made a screaming run, and one big boy that i basically had to feed the fly to. I put that thing RIGHT on his nose. after 30 seconds his gills flared and he sucked it in...lazy fish. The big one weighed in at 9lbs. Nice to finally get one of the big ones out of that lake!

Tonight I went to another spot for an hour and half. Missed one fish right away. I dropped the fly front of his very active tail (couldn't see anything else) and felt him take the fly. I always miss them when I feel the take! A few minutes later I spotted a monster in the shallows. I snuck up on him, dropped the fly about 6 inches away and when his tail turned him toward the fly I set the hook! I was glad I brought the 6 wt tonight! This fish bottomed out my 14 lb weight net, and I would estimate him at about 16-18 lbs...really nice fish.

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm not sure how well this will work, but we'll give it a shot. Here is a link to a video Justin took of me hooking a 9 lb mirror carp last weekend. I had to cut the video way down and take out pretty much all of the fight and netting the fish. The file was way to big to upload. This version barely fit, but it shows me make a couple of casts to the fish (which you can make out if you look hard enough) and it shows the take, hookset, and initial run. Try as I did I couldn't keep this fish out of the weeds, so I had to settle in to a long tug of war. It was a great fish, and Justin captured a great video!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Check out the difference between the mirror carp below (caught in the desert) and this local fatty from around Portland.

Justin just left this morning after 4 days of fishing various locations in OR. Frankly, there is just too much to tell at this point. Fishing with a good friend is pretty much the pinnacle as far as I am concerned, and then when you top that off with beautiful scenery, big trout, wily carp and the splashing of waves against a drift boat you are really into something special. We had a fantastic journey through some of my favorite waters in OR.

Friday we spent the day fishing the water I love around Maupin. We nymphed most of the day and the highlight came at about 230 in the afternoon. Justin was stationed in a spot that always seems to hold one nice fish, but instead of one he hooked 3 fish in the 17-19 inch range. He brought all three to hand, with the third fish popping off as I grabbed the leader to land it. I was thrilled to see Justin hook those big redsides, and while the rest of the day was outstanding, that 10-20 minute stretch will go down as one of my favorite fishing memories. We closed the day down near Rattlesnake canyon, watching the water get darker and darker as the sun sank behind the walls...all the while hooking trout and whitefish almost at will. At that point in a great day, everything seems to come easier.

Day two found us fishing my all time favorite carp haunt. I had been telling Justin stories of this water for quite some time, and it didn't dissapoint. We were able to stand up on the high bank, looking down on cruising carp and throwing our flies into their paths with hopeful hearts. On many occasions those fish would ever so slowly move to the fly and without any fanfare and barely a heartbeat's pause the fly would dissappear. Justin was enthralled with the visuals, but not so much that he couldn't close the deal! In all we hooked around 20 carp. With the high water we only had about 10 feet of room between the bank and the heavy weedline, so any fish that could pass that 10 foot barrier was gone. We went down to 2X tippet, and figured any fish big enough to break off 2X or make it to the weeds deserved to get away. Out of 20 some fish hooked, all but 7 were up for that challenge. Still a great day of carping, with many memorable movies to play in our heads down the road.

On the third day we stuck closer to Portland. We took my daughter Elia out and hit some of my local carp spots. Elia loves Justin, and today after he left I asked Elia (all of 17 months) who Justin's friends were. I was hoping for a response of Emily (Justin's wife) or James (Justing 21 month old son) but instead Elia proudly proclaimed "YaYa!" while patting her chest. The local spots were tough, but we still managed to hook some fish, and I landed a beautiful 9lb Mirror Carp. We topped the evening off with pizza and game 5 of the NBA playoffs. Not much fishing, but still a solid day!

For our final day in OR we arranged to drift Warm Springs to Trout Creek with friend and guide Chris O'donnell. Chris did a great job of showing us some great little spots that most of us would normally walk by. We threw big salmon flies all day and despite it being the tail end of that hatch, we sure brought up a lot of fish! Justin caught his biggest ever trout on a dry fly, and I had a blast peperring casts up under trees and into tiny slots. We spent a good portion of the day trying to put holes in our waders by crawling around on our hands and knees while searching for ways to present our flies to the most difficult to reach trout. It was a stunning close to the weekend to sit quietly listening to the water as we floated down the river, with the only other noise being the occasional splash of a big trout sucking down yet another salmonfly. A big thanks to Chris for a memorable day for us both.

Each year when Justin and I get together to fish we talk about how we won't top the last trip we made, and yet each year we do. Most of the time it is the little moments that make our fishing trips so great...pointing out a huge salmonfly on the water and laughing when at that exact moment the fly is demolished by a fish...fighting over who pays for coffee in the morning...standing in the river together watching the water go by and the sun go down, neither of us in a hurry to cast...or smiling as Elia brings Justin a book for him to read to her. It just seems that these small moments get better each year; and now with James and Elia growing, I hope we can keep finding time to make these trips, and to bring our children together to see and enjoy some of the moments that make each of us who we are. Thanks again for a great trip J.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mr. P on the flyfishing forum of Carp Anglers Group has a tag line on the end of his signature that reads:

"The take is the premier moment."

Apt words from a man who clearly knows his fishing, but more importantly, the correlation between life and fishing. I'm fortunate to find my peace with a rod and reel, but I also see it daily now watching Kelly beam at Elia when she learns to put quarters into her piggy bank. Each day brings more moments like these and though I probably don't say it enough...I savor every one. I know Mr. P refers to those moments where everything just rushes together to form that perfect instant. It can be found watching a trout rise to a dry fly, or a carp slowly tilt down to inspect your hare's ear. But as Mr. P reminds us, these perfect moments are around us everday...the trick is to simply look for them. In the hectic worlds of our everyday lives, it is these perfect moments that make everything worth while.

More from Mr. P:

"JB Montana, after considerable thought, I wrote in my fishing journal way back in the early 80's that "the take is the premier moment." I compared it to many other parts of the overall fishing experience and decided it was the best. I wrote that anticipation (for all parts of the experience) was second. I submit that in all of life, "the take is the premier moment." In the rest of life I so much DO NOT mean "the take" in terms of tricking someone like we trick fish with our offerings. I mean when your intentions are honorable and a girl who has caught your eye says she'll go out with you. I mean when you apply for a job and you get it. I mean when your young son or daughter beams when you walk in the door and says, "Hi Daddy or Hi Mommy". I mean when you deliver a speech and the response of the audience exceeds your expectations. I mean in the classroom when a student's eye's are a little brighter or his/her back is a little straighter because he/she has grown in skills and confidence. That's the take baby, oh hell yes that's the take! I mean when that pretty girl says yes when you ask her to marry you. I mean when your teenage daughter has an identity of her own and you marvel at who she has become. I mean when you plan a project that has never been done and you have to elicit cooperation and support from a wide range of stakeholders and the darn thing works. I mean when you take a chance on yourself, yes yourself, and you are successful. It's all "the take" and in all of life it is the premier moment. "
Just an interesting thread on a board I frequent. Maybe I am overreacting, but I am apalled at the lack of disgust over drinking and driving. So many responses to the Redick incident are "well, he was BARELY over."

One guy online actually said that 90% of college males drive drunk. In my eyes, that means 90% of college males are selfish idiots. How much effort does it take to arrange a Designated Driver? Seeing as how I have spent my whole life as a DD I can tell you...not much.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I wanted to post a picture of Elia on a website, so I hosted the picture here.

JJ Redick was ticketed while driving under the influence the other day. Many people will make excuses for Redick, some because he is an athlete, others because they too have had a drink or two and driven home. Personally, there is no more irresponsible and reckless act than to drive while you have alcohol in your system. It shows utter disdain for other people. Before anyone gets in their car after drinking, keep in mind that my daughter is out there somewhere.

Feel free to risk your own life, but don't you dare risk Elia's.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Here are a few shots of the beast that was wearing me out in the action shot below. This fish scaled out at just over 15lbs on KB's digital scale. It was really long and powerful, but not nearly as fat as some of the fish I've caught this year. In general, the fish in the lake are long, skinny, and POWERFUL. They test your knots for sure.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Just a great day on the water with KB. In preparation for Justin's arrival next week, I needed to scout out my favorite carp lake. KB was gracious enough to keep me company! Arriving at the lake I was immediately disappointed. The water level is way to high for my taste, and while the fish were definitely up on the flats, the flats were 4-7 ft deep! We waded out there and gave it our best shot regardless, and the results were excellent! I hooked 8 fish, landing five including this beautiful mirror, and a beast of a fish that you can see me fighting in a great picture taken by KB. This fish made an initial run that left me with 2 or 3 wraps of flyline on the reel. I got him back in to me only to have him run about 50-60 feet into my backing on his second attempt at escape. He wasn't done yet, and after getting a look at my feet blasted out a third run, this one about 30 feet into my backing. It was a monster to follow, just waiting on another email from KB.

KB fished hard along with me all afternoon, and had a couple of takes, but only brought one fish to hand. It was his first time at this water, and it can be a tricky place to detect a strike, especially when the fish are little more than shadows on the bottom, 6 feet down! Still, something tells me he'll be back!

Looking forward to Justin's visit, and we may hit this spot despite the hot water. Out of the 7 fish that I had on (the 8th was on for about 2 seconds) 4 fish went into my backing. My arm is tired!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A good picture of Elia from the MN trip...she is such a little person now, it is really wild. She had a great time out there, and got to see James (of fishingandthinkinginMN fame...everytime I walk by the computer she wants me to show her pictures of James, Justin and Emily.) Nice to see those kids together.

Monday, June 05, 2006

WT over at Flytimes posted an outstanding wrap up of carping. I was surprised to see some of my own exploits listed in there. These are the guys whose writing and stories got me hooked on the idea of carping. I've yet to fish with any of them, but hope to do so soon.

Check it out if you get a chance, some great links and information:

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Now I'll be the first to admit, I've had a great couple of weeks fishing. I got to fish with my best friend for 4 days, caught some beautiful brown and brook trout, totaled 23 species on one trip, caught a bunch of carp while listening to my daughter put "baby" and "geese" together to describe goslings, and I watched while a couple of friends of mine completely succumbed to the carp craze, to the point where KB actually referred to carp in one locale we fish as "just LITTLE 5 lbers." Good stuff!

That said, the one thing I haven't done lately is land any big carp. I've hooked them, and had knots fail, tippet break and hooks pull, but I just haven't been able to seal the deal with anything over 11lbs over the last few weeks. This weekend I did the normal morning trips for small carp with Elia in the backpack, and we caught some fish, watched the ducks and had several memorable takes in small water, but I was itching to go after some big boys!

I anxiously watched the rain come down this afternoon, and cursed while the clouds continued to roll in. Finally I decided that I wasn't going to have a shot at any big carp sitting at home, so I headed out in spite of the poor conditions. Good decision!

Right away, I spotted a big fish. It was actively feeding, and moving around a 20 ft area seemingly at random. Every minute or so the fish would tilt up and suck down some vegetation off of the surface, or tilt down to grab a morsel off the bottom. I tied on an algae fly (yes, I do have some!) and put it in front of the fish a few times with no luck. I changed to a small hare's ear with a tiny black bead to help it sink, and snuck a little closer to the fish. It didn't take long before I saw the head turn quickly in the direction of my fly, which at the time was at least a foot away. On a hunch, I set the hook when her head turned, and was rewarded with a hookup! That fish had sucked my fly in from at least a foot away...really amazing.

With all the recent weed growth I fought her with a ton of pressure, trying to keep her out of the big weed patch about 70 ft away. She got there anyway. I dropped my rod tip to the water, crestfallen. Once again, I had lost a big fish, this time when she buried herself 5 feet into a weedbank. As I stood there surrounded by slack line I noticed some movement in the weedbank, and the tip of my fly line started moving across the lake! She was still on! I quickly picked up the slack and thanked the fish gods for making this carp decide to swim back out of a batch of weeds that would have doubtless been the end of my 4x tippet. Renewed, I quickly battled the fish back to the bank and prepared to land her.

Once again, the small net I carry became a problem. Even a bigger problem this time as I had inexplicably left it in the car! I looked around and spotted a small opening in the bank, that led to a circle of water about 6 ft in diameter, forming a tiny bay along the bank. The opening to this area was about 2 feet wide, and I figured I could steer the big carp right into the little bay, where I could land her. She slid into the opening with surprising ease, but the water in the bay was deeper than I planned and I was back to square one. No way to beach this fish, but now I had a monster carp slowly swimming in circles in the 6 ft area. I lifted her head up as high as I could to try to get her where I could grab her with one hand and POW!!!! The hook broke!

I reacted with lightning speed and dropped to my knees, grabbing for the carp's tail. I had it for a second and she slipped out of my grasp and headed for the opening to the lake. I reached out as far as I could and dunked my arm into the water right in the middle of the opening. The fish bumped my hand and swam back into the little carp pen I had created. I quickly repositioned myself next to the opening and used my hands to form a gate, blocking her escape. The carp didn't panic, just continued to swim in slow circles around the pen, while I bodily blocked off the opening.

She swam in circles for about 30 seconds while I figured out what to do. Frankly...I was drawing a blank. I have to admit I was poorly prepared to be playing as a human gate on an improvised carp pen. At this point I probably should have given up...I almost landed this carp...close enough right?

I had one last plan though. When the fish was on the back end of her circle I knelt way down and dropped both of my elbows to the bottom of the opening, with my palms up and ready. The carp continued around the pen and suddenly found the way out unobstructed! She eased over the threshold and as soon as she was on top of my arms I scooped that big fish up in both arms and hugged it to my chest! I staggered to my feet, arms loaded with thrashing carp...somehow I managed to get a grip on her tail and I put my other hand under her belly. Now that is how you land a carp boys and girls!

I laid her quickly on the bank by my rod and snapped a few pictures. This was a big fish...maybe the 4th or 5th biggest I've landed. After a few quick shots I gently released her to the lake and watched her swim off...

So in case anyone was about to ask...this is why I don't fish for big carp when Elia is in the backpack!