Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fellow carp nut David found these pictures online. Pretty neat images of something you rarely see...juvenile carp. I've never seen carp this small anywhere that I fish. Today I did spot a koi that was about 6-8 inches long and solid orange. Could have been an actual goldfish, I won't be able to tell until I manage to catch it!

No pictures to go with this report...I kind of had my hands full. With JJ (all 23 lbs of him) in the backpack, and Elia following along carrying my net I hit the local carp pond for an hour this afternoon. The spawn is on. Most of the fish I saw were grouped up in the shallows. For every large female there were 2-3 smaller males avidly following her around. The fish seemed to have 0 interest in eating...can you blame them?

I did find one feeding fish. It was a typical 4-5 lb carp, but it was feeding in an impossible position. This guy had tucked himself up under the willow trees, surrounded by a virtual screen of overhanging branches. To top it off, he picked the trees with the steepest bank. I decided to give him a shot anyway, so I told Elia to sit down and watch, then reeled up all of my flyline and left about 10 inches of tippet and the fly hanging out of the tip top on my 4 wt. I snaked the rod through the branches, just managing to avoid snagging any leaves and gently dapped the fly right in front of the feeding fish. I literally fed him the damselfly nymph, and like any self respecting carp...when the food was put on his plate, he ate it. I set the hook with a flick of the wrist, then pointed the rod right at the fish and let him rip my leader and flyline through the guides for me. As soon as some line was out of the guides I moved the rod under water to get around the branches, stood up and was in business! This fish made a great initial run and I saw my backing on a day where I didn't even expect to see any fish! Always a nice bonus.

After netting the fish I let Elia pet the carp. I asked her how it felt to pet the fish and she said "It felt good." Smart little girl!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Any day on the carp flats, is a good day! KB and I headed out Saturday morning with visions of large carp tailing in shallow water. For our first trip out this year, it turned out really well but the conditions were tough. The wind was kicking up off and on, causing a combination of hard to see through ripples, and some extra turbidity in the water. All in all, visibility was really poor. That said, we did still spot plenty of fish!

Right after getting into position on the main flat I spotted a carp slow cruisng in about 2 feet of water. The fish was only a rod length or two away, and that would set the tone for the day. Nearly all of the fish we spotted were within about 10 feet of us. This meant that we had to move like ninjas through the flats. Basically, I planned on moving as slowly as I could possible move, and then moved even slower. The first fish I saw took my fly (Justin's soon to be fabled crayfish pattern) and headed off the flats for deep water. It just blasted out of there, and my hunch is the fish is still swimming. 90 ft of flyline was gone in seconds, and the backing was just flying off the reel. I snapped this quick photo of the battle.

This fish took a massive amount of backing. He just kept running and eventually the weight of all that line broke the tippet and he came off. Kim spotted the fish leaping nearly on the other side of the lake right when the line went slack.

After 10 minutes of reeling all the line back onto my reel I was ready for some more fishing, though I was now short one crayfish pattern. Most of the fish I caught were in the grassy pockets.

I would creep along and spot the fish tailing in amongst the grass, and gently drop a fly right in on his dinner plate. Usually the fish would either immediately spook, or turn his head slightly and suck in the fly. I managed 3 fish with this technique, two 8 lb common carp and this nice 7 lb mirror.

The fish were taking primarily a large prince nymph with rubber legs, though I believe nearly any fly would have worked on these tailers in the grass. While I was chasing these fish in the grass, KB was working the main flat. He hooked several fish, and finally landed a 5 lb common. Scott Turner had joined us for a short while and helped KB with that fish. I don't think Scott had any hookups, but conditions were really tough. We also ran into our friend David, fishing with his buddy from reno. They were bass fishing, and seemed to be having a pretty good day! The biggest fish of the day was this nice 12 lb common I caught on the edge of the flat. This fish took a massive swipe at a small crayfish pattern, and made two strong runs into my backing!

I landed 4 carp for the day, and KB landed one. Kind of tough for our first outing, but with conditions the way they were, I was satisfied. We just couldn't see the fish, and there were not nearly as many fish as I've seen out there in the summer. Highlight of the one point both KB and I were deep into out backing with nice carp...too bad we lost both fish!

Friday, April 27, 2007

A video of one very tired little boy...

One more quick note...anyone interested in catching carp on the fly should join us at the CAG event in June. You can find information here:

and here:
Justin from over at Fishing and Thinking in MN throws this nice brown trout into the "Slab of the Month" contest at Moldy Chum...

Where is the big Buff J?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Thanks to some research by Justin of I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy of Fishing for Buffalo: A Guide to the Pursuit, Lore & Cuisine of Buffalo, Carp, Mooneye, Gar and other "Rough" Fish by Rob Buffler and Tom Dickson. I've only had the book a few hours, but I did dive right into the Chapter on carp. Outstanding work here and I'm sure as I read through the rest of the book I'll glean all kinds of helpful tips. A few quotes...

Its strength is perhaps the carp's most remarkable of many admirable features. " I would say without a doubt the carp is the strongest swimmer of the warmwater species," said Duane Shodeen, a regional fisheries manager with the Minnesota Deaprtment of Natural Resources. "Game fish aren't even close.."

And also...

To Catch a carp an angler must be diligent and fish with a light hand. It requires constant attention. This is no pike that pulls a bobber halfway across the lake or a bullhead that tugs and tugs at the bait until it impales itself on the hook. The carp is one the most intelligent fish that swims.

Good stuff throughout the chapter, and so far I've just made a quick read. I'm looking forward to going over this resource in closer detail. This book certainly looks like "must have" for carp and roughfish fisherman.

Thanks Justin for getting in touch with one of the authors, and thanks Tom Dickson for such excellent work!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Quick Report. Fished Duck Lake with my dad Saturday. That pretty much guaranteed it would be a good day. We caught some fish, which simply added to it. My dad landed 3, I landed 4 with this fish being the biggest at 4 1/2 to 5 lbs. Good fish, but there are a lot bigger fish than that on the east side!
It was great to fish with my dad on water that he loves. I'll put up some pictures of him with some fish later, my internet has been down, but should be working tonight.
Great fishing with you Dad!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

This morning was a beautiful spring morning here in Oregon. The sun was out, no clouds in the sky, and it was warm and inviting outside. As we headed off to brunch with Elia and JJ, I noticed that clouds were beginning to form, and my perfect day of spending the afternoon with JJ in the backpack chasing carp in the sun was not likely. After a great brunch we walked outside just as the rain started. That pretty much killed my plan of taking JJ along, but Kelly volunteered to get the kids down for naps and I headed out for a few carp lakes.
As easy as the fish were to find yesterday, they were equally hard to find today. I checked 2 spots, with only a few bubblees that may or may not have been fieeding fish to show for my efforts. The third stop I made is usually a guarantee, and it proved to be my saving grace once again. I spotted several fish, but none were actively feeding. Despite no tailers or crusiers, I cast Justin's big crayfish at the stationary fish a few times, spooking most. I finally got the crayfish pattern in front of a fish willing to eat, and he slowly dipped his head to follow the fly. I set the hook and it was fish on!
The battle lasted only about a minute, when I heard a loud crack and watched the top third of my fly rod drop into the water! I knew it was a matter of time before I would break a rod on a carp, but this was not a particularly big fish. I fought the fish with renewed attention, mainly because I was terrified to break him off and have the top part of my rod dissapear into the lake. At one point the rod tip had slid down the line 20-25 ft from shore, and rested against the fly in the fishe's mouth! I finally did land this fish, 10 lbs according to the weight net. I took a hasty picture, let him go and examined my rod. It broke right at the ferrule, leaving a good chunk of rod inside the female portion.
So I will be without my beloved Albright EXS for several weeks. Tim to pull out the 9 ft 9 inch St. Croix Legend Ultra!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

So what does a carp fisherman do when the conditions are the absolute worst
conditions you can have for carping? Go carp fishing anyway. I have to admit, that some of the biggest fish I've caught have come when it was raining, dark, and generally miserable outside. It seems like the bigger fish feel more secure, and they head right into the shallows and feed up against the bank. Despite no sun and a steady rain, if the fish are 1 foot from shore, you are going to see them. The key is to move really slowly, and peer into the water like you are trying to decipher one of those 3D picture puzzles.
I did just that today, and I found quite a few fish. I decided to use this great crayfish pattern my buddy Justin sent me. I looks incredible in the water, and I just had to use it even though it is quite a big bigger than most of the flies I usually fish. The first 3 fish I put the fly in front of ate it without a moment's pause. The fly landed, I twitched it into position, and the fish would turn and eat. For moment, things looked pretty easy!
I landed the first fish, and it bottomed out my 14 lb weight net. The clunk of the handle hitting the 14 lb mark was not very load, so I'm guessing the fish was probably 15 lbs, though it looked really fat. I hooked 4 more fish, all good looking carp, but I lost each one when they straightened the hook out. The first carp I landed really weakened that hook, and the next 4 just bent it straight. It was the only one of Justin's flies I had with me, so I just kept bending it back and going after more fish. The best part about carp fishing is detecting the strike, and they were eating that fly so well I didn't mind losing them! I only fished for about 2 hours, and headed home to spend the rest of the day with Kelly, Elia, and JJ. This was my first big fish of the year, and despite getting soaked to the skin by the rain, it was an outstanding day of carp fishing.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A couple of belated reports, as I haven't had much of a chance to get online. I went out the other day hoping to catch the 30 minutes of sunshine at my local carp pond, but I missed the window. I still managed to see some fish, and landed two including this bigger mirror (about 8 lbs). One of the larger fish I've caught out of this pond, and one of the better fights as well. This mirror ran well into my backing on the four weight. You gotta love carp.

I snuck back out today as well, and took JJ with me for his 2nd carp outing. He seems to love the Kelty pack, but unlike Elia, who used to jabber away non stop while we were out fishing, JJ is silent the entire time. He is so enthralled by what is happening he just checks it out with big, wide eyes. Today, while I was playing a fish and it was thrashing in the shallows, he definately took notice. He grunted a bit, and started getting all excited. JJ is a pretty vocal kid (for a 7 month old!) but when he is in that backpack, he's all about soaking it in and doesn't waste any time talking! We had a great day today. I landed 5 carp. The visibility was poor, but the fish were really active and right on the shoreline. I had lots of good shots at tailers, and all the fish took my little green fly with confidence.

I ran into a kid doing some carp fishing as well. He was keeping a few and had two small ones in a bucket. He says he likes to eat the little ones, but the big ones don't taste good!

All in all a great day spent with my son. 5 carp landed, good basketball games in the afternoon, and some new memories with JJ.