Sunday, May 20, 2007

I had 2 hours today, and poor conditions. Not an ideal situation, but it turned out to be just a perfect carp session. I hit a local spot and the fish just weren't around so I checked out this cool creek bottom instead. I fished water that was maybe 4-10 inches deep. I'd see the fish from several hundred feet off, making a V in the shallow water. It was really a cool experience.

The tricky part was to avoid spooking them. In water that shallow, I could get really close to the fish, but not without making them speed up and stop feeding. I snuck up about 25 ft from one, and the second the crayfish fly hit the water, it just pounced on it like a cat. Not a huge fish, but in water that shallow it was quite the experience. I got him in quickly, as he couldn't get up a head of steam with only a few inches of water with which to work. When I made the cast, I could see 1/3 of the carp's body out of the water.

I can't really explain how cool it was to watch these fish moving in that water. Sometimes I'd clearly see their backs and tails moving, other times it would just be this push of water as the fish swam forward. I stalked around like a heron,and would have had a blast even if I had left the fly rod in the car.

But, it was tough. I just kept spooking them. They didn't blast out of there once they saw me, but they moved a little faster, and had no interest in eating. I did manage a bit bigger fish (about 10 lbs) in a deeper channel. I spotted that fish in 3 ft of water, dropped the crayfish in there and he just kind of settled down on it. Neat take, but the shallow water stuff stole the show. The last shot I had for the day was a great big fish...easily in the high teens. It was feeding against the bank, and I put the sneak on and got into position. I dropped the fly in on his big, hungry mouth and he looked at it, and just sucked it up. I literally had no time to set the hook. The second he took that fly in, he spit it right back out. It was really, really fast. I was RIGHT on top of the fish, and never even set the hook. One second I saw him eat the fly, and then I saw the fly come shooting back out of his mouth. As KB said, they don't get big being dumb.

This last shot was the release of the smaller fish. It just shows you how shallow that water really was. To top of the excitement of that shallow water rained the entire time. I love to fish in the rain, though that usually makes the carp fishing really tough. What a great outing today.


Wendy Berrell said...

That is so bleeping cool - those wakes in the water are crazy man. You're right - I would have flipped out if I'd seen those...

Glad you got out - nice session.

texasflyfisher said...

This type of carp fishing is excellent practice for fishing for redfish in shallow saltwater flats such as in parts of the Texas coast. The V, the stalking, the sightcasting, the tailing fish in inches of water...everything is identical. If you haven't made a trip for reds already, you would be a heckuva saltwater angler.

John Montana said...

redfish are in my top 5 of species I want to catch on a fly rod...i really need to make a trip for them soon. i figure they are basically brackish water carp!

i've caught lots of freshwater drum...same family, totally different fishing though.

texasflyfisher said...


we have gasperagou in the freshwater lakes here as well though i agree they are totally different fishing for them.

there are also a handful of freshwater power plant lakes (mainly a couple near San Antonio) that stock red drum in them and they get HUGE! they don't reproduce though but I know folks who've gotten sleigh rides on their kayaks catching them on conventional tackle.

The one difference I would say is I have no problem keep a couple of reds to eat. If you catch a slot red (20" to 28") they are mighty tasty grilled on the half shell. They are also good blackened. I can't say I have ever eaten carp so I can't compare them to redfish but reds don't have movable bones like carp though they do behave a lot like them.

John Montana said...

read "fishing for buffalo." interesting read and it covers carp as a food fish (turns out they used to be very popular). they also discuss freshwater drum in depth...great book.

i would totally eat redfish. i've heard good things about them. i will catch one sometime, they seem like a fantastic fly rod species, and the similarities in fishing for reds/bones/carp are valid. i really enjoy that type of sightfishing.

texasflyfisher said...

I looked up the book. Interesting. Gar is pretty much a delicacy in deep south Texas where I grew up. I've had it several times deep fried. Gar flesh once cooked is almost indistinguishable from chicken breast. The flesh is white, firm and tasty. In fact, I've passed off fried gar chunks as "chicken nuggets" to my kids a few times and they love it! ;-)

texasflyfisher said...

Oh, I just googled and found an article about gar from south Texas from a town just 30 minutes north of Brownsville where I grew up. They don't mention it I think but a lot of folks also bowfish for them though most fish with bait which requires a lot of patience as mentioned.

Here is the article if you are interested

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