Sunday, July 29, 2012

Carp are Awesome!

Nice to be reminded of that from time to time.

I got my clock cleaned today. The carp were hot and they absolutely kicked my butt. I busted off tons and tons of fish trying to horse them to the net. I had carp run me into the weeds, carp run me into rocks, and carp run me into trees. Basically, the fish went where they wanted, or I broke them off trying to stop them.

It was awesome. I landed enough to keep me happy, but I lost a lot more than I landed. I found fish on mud flats, gravel bars, off of rip rap, and on the edges of weedbeds. They were basically everywhere, and plenty of fish reacted well to the fly.

There are some targets in that picture. I tried one of Travis's soft hackles with the worm tail, and also used an egg/worm combo...both flies worked. The only bad thing was I ran out of the prototypes I had tied up last night...will have to hit the vice again. Big fish of the day was just over 20 lbs, and I hooked two more in that range but lost them both. Carp are awesome!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Happy birthday JJ

My son turns 6 in a few days. Every parent hears "they grow up fast!" but no parent actually believes it. They do though. Still, I think it is enough to just marvel at a kids heart and imagination. Be stunned by a kids confidence and joy. And most importantly to hang on tight and love them with everything you can. Happy birthday JJ...thanks for six years of love. We have many adventures to come, you and I!




Monday, July 23, 2012

Photo Contest Help!

Click Here and help me out by liking my photo in the Tailwater Carp Photo Contest! My boy Shane is crushing us all in total likes with his piggy mirror carp, dude is a social networking wizard (and has a monster mirror up for the contest...sweet fish Shane). I dig Shane's blog, but we can't have a carp contest one by a dude who says he is an "ID trout bum"!
Just kidding Shane, love your stuff (and hope I crush you in the contest.) Check out this trout bum Here...after you vote for my photo!
Spread the carp love folks!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

There goes the neighborhood

Watch out folks...another carp nut just hit the airwaves.

Travis, aka Trashfisher, just hit us with his first blog post. Check him out by clicking on his name. Stay tuned...Travis knows his shit and is likely to drop some carp knowledge.

About time buddy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day Four

There are really two things that come into my head with regard to this trip (aside from the obvious good company, bad food, etc). First...and this cannot be understated.

This shit is tough.

Catching carp on the fly is not easy. Basically everything has to go perfectly, and even when it does, sometimes you still won't catch the fish. They are finicky, spooky, and somewhat strange. Today we had monster carp tailing heavily well within casting distance, and we didn't put any of the slabs in the net. We did a lot of things right, but we rarely did everything right.

Which brings me to thought number two. Near misses. This trip was full of near misses and close calls. If we had stuck every 20 plus lb fish that was feeding visibly within casting range I am not sure anyone would have believed us. The big fish were out in force, and they thoroughly defeated us. And when I talk about "big" fish and 20 plus lbers...I really mean it. I have caught and scaled a lot of big fish, and my fish eyes are calibrated pretty well. I don't mean 15 lbs like this fish...I mean 15 lbs.

So it just never came together for us. We got a few today, but the trip will be remembered for just how tough and difficult our chosen target species really is...and how close we came to an epic outing.

Thanks to McTage...appreciate you making the trip and sticking with those tough fish. So close to a few truly memorable monsters...guess you will just have to come back.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Three

Turns out that Wind is the devil too! At least it was today. We fished in massive amounts of much wind that the shoreline was basically a muddy, brown mess. I could barely recognize my beloved clear, Columbia river! Still...we got on the fish.

On them, but not much more than that. The 18 lb slab above was Trevor's only fish of the day, and I had to be content with the little guy shown below. That said, our lack of success can only be attributed to us. The fish were there, the fish were feeding, the fish saw our flies. We flat out didn't hook them.

Picture this...McTage stands waist deep in the river, white caps and waves breaking over his back as he stalks a big, black shape. The fish is obvious, and active...a real horse that I eyeballed at mid to high 20s and Trevor (who had both a broadside view and a head on view) pegged at 30 plus. Silt and debris erupt in a cloud from around the head, as the tail slaps vigorously from side to side on the surface of the river. From 35 feet away with a 30 mph wind to deal with Trevor puts the fly on the fish. The trick here...this carp is happy where she is. She will NOT move for a fly, got plenty to do right where she is, so you better get that fly 4-6 inches from her mouth. In 30 mph winds. With waves crashing over your back. With waves moving the flies when they land. With waves distorting your view of the fish and flies as they break. With the sheer fact that this is a monster fish.

Sounds easy, right?

At least it is exciting...and we had lots of excitement today. Lots and lots of shots like the one above. Carp theater is fantastic, even when you can't see the take and a 25-30 lb fish finally ghosts off into the depths.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day Two

Mr. P called tonight while McTage and I gorged on pizza to ask how the day went. I told him it was successful, despite dealing with full on cloud cover. Jim says:

"Clouds are the devil."

To that I say: thanks for writing my day two report Jim! Yes, cloud cover sucks big time...but Mctage doesn't. He stuck his share of fish including this fatty.

It wasn't easy, but it truly never is. We kept our feet going, our eyes sharp and we flat out made it happen.

More to come...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day One

Hog. Slob. Pig. Take your pick:

22lber...pretty good start out west. We poked around a bit and found the fish a little later in the day than I would have liked, but once we found them, we made em pay. McTage slipped right back into Columbia river mode and simply stuck fish left and right. I was standing right next to him, basically watching every take unfold. One fish in particular was cool. The fish eased forward to eat a well placed soft hackle just a rod length away, but McTage was a touch early and pulled the fly from the fish. The fish kept opening and closing its mouth, trying to suction in a bug that was just right there! With a flick of the wrist, the big was put right back in place and the fish sucked it right nothing had ever been amiss.

Great start...McTage is in the zone, more good stuff to come.


Saturday, July 07, 2012

The Take

So I had a pretty good day today. Good enough that when I walked into a unique situation late in the day I goofed around and intentionally did not set the hook...more on that, but first, two fish that stood out from earlier in the day.

This 21 lb girl was slaloming through a patch of weeds in a slow cruise. I spotted her 20 feet out and sunk a soft hackle into a small opening in the weeds. She hit a fork in her path, but chose the one that led to my fly. Twitch, twitch, fish on.

This 16 lber was tailing heavily in some gravel. I put the fly just past her from about 30 ft out, and when it was in the zone she got all jittery and excited, so I set the hook. Columbia river apex athlete.

But the really cool part came later. I walked into a nice, soft but firm bottomed weed bed just loaded with sunning carp. The bottom was perfect for a stealthy approach, and since I was waist deep my outline wasn't too terrifying. In short, I was one sneaky SOB...and I got RIGHT on the sunning fish.

With just a few feet of leader out the rod tip, I started dapping a lightly weighted rubber legged hares ear on the fish, and they responded well. So well, that I decided not to set the hook, instead I just let them eat the fly as I watched the entire thing from a couple of feet away. Lest you all think I am totally crazy, I did set the hook on two big fish, but they both destroyed me in those weeds.

All told, I saw about ten good eats. The fish would simply extend their mouth like a tube and suck the fly in from a couple of inches away...really cool to watch. Not one fish hooked itself. In fact, not one fish ever took the fly in deep. For the most part they just mouthed it with their extended lips, and only for a split second. Granted, these were not "positive" or feeding fish, but it was still amazing to see how delicately they ate that fly. Most fish immediately spit the fly, and then hard spooked out of their like their tail was in fire. One fish though...poor dumb bugger. He ate the fly, spit it, then moved forward and ate it again with this confused look in his eyes. The second time he held on for maybe a full second then spit and spook like the others.

What a cool thing to witness. Carp are an interesting fish!


Friday, July 06, 2012

Some days life is grand

And the best part is, it doesn't take much. Work was pretty good, had a few calls that were fun and some good discussions with customers, employees, and prospective customers. Then I went home and took Elia fishing. We didn't end up fishing much, rather we sat on the bank, ate huge sandwiches and watched the river go by. Somehow that was better. She chased down a tadpole, concerned it in some weeds and I managed to snatch it up for her. That basically made her day, and mine. For the remainder of the evening we watched her tadpole in his little-girl made cove.

Yep, some days, life is grand.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


There are two pieces of "carping gear that you average trout guy simply does not think to carry in most cases. One is a digital scale, which I consider a must. Most fly fisherman are not used to catching 10 plus lb fish, so a scale is a key. You have just landed a monster carp, likely the biggest freshwater fish you have ever caught on a fly...don't you want to know how big it is? Seriously, $15 and you will be within a few ounces.

Two...a net. This post is directly related to an excellent post by Mr. P, one of my best carping buddies. Go here and check it out. He just picked up a Patagonia Stealth Atom sling pack after using mine back in ID. Not to get off track, but I love that pack. The kicker, he was able to rig and use a net on his recent wade trip, something Jim hasn't done much in the past. Personally, I have no idea how he had been doing it. I consider a net a must have item. So much so that I bring my net with me to Lake MI, ID or anywhere else I go. A net shortens the battle (and as Jim says, the "take is the premier moment!") and the net is an absolute savior when it comes to really big (20 plus) fish. I can honestly say that one 30 lber I caught a few years ago could NOT have been beached. The hook fell out like butter the second that fish hit the net.

The to carry one and be mobile and comfortable. Here is my is set up to hang from my Patagonia pack, but really, I could hang it from a belt loop, wading belt, etc.

The components are simple. I bought an "O" type screw thing (yep, I am quite the handy man!) from the hardware store and screwed it directly into the handle. Then I bought a plastic clip (yet to need replacement by the way) and screwed that into the handle as well since my net folds in half. Next up...a $4 dog leash, all I wanted was the keyeing and clip.

I simply thread the key ring/clip onto the strap of my pack (or belt loop etc) and clip the net on.

With my pack, I can slide the key ring/net to the front to make it easy to unhook the net to land a fish. The dog leash is easy to operate with one hand and the net unfolds by just pulling on it (the plastic clip is strong enough to keep the net from ufolding unless you pull.


It rides off to my left side and slightly behind my hip, so it doesn't bounce around or trip me up. This system has worked for me, but whatever you end up rigging together, think about adding a net and scale to your carping gear. I wouldn't leave home without either item!


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Carp Photo Contest

I entered a "carp photo contest" on Facebook. I am hoping you guys like my picture enough to click "like" on the Facebook page, there are some sweet prizes! You can find the contest here:

Carp Photo Contest

It is through Tailwaters Fly Shop in TX, I entered my favorite action shot from this spring.

Check out the link! If you like my photo click the like button, and if you have a better one submit your photo to the contest. The prizes are great and so far the photo submissions have all been really cool.


Sunday, July 01, 2012

Urban Fishing

Ran out to the river today under steel grey skies. The hope was that I would find some carp in shallow, but I underestimated how high the water really is right now. The flat I had in mind was too deep to wade, let alone spot carp with no sun. With nothing else to do, I blasted some casts off into the river and caught a small northern pike minnow.

I only had an hour or so and was content to just wander around on the off chance that I would spot a carp up shallow. No go on the carp but I did see a random dude rolling a joint in the bushes. This is Portland man! No need to hide in the bushes!