Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tail End of the Season

The season is clearly winding down. I covered a lot of water today, and saw roughly 20 percent of the fish I normally see. Part of the problem is the angle of the sun doesn't allow for great visibility...but really, there just aren't as many fish around. Still, I stuck 7 or felt like a goodbye to the 2012 carp season for me. Two fish stood out.

I spotted a nice 17 lber tailing about 35 feet away. For the record, I am not a great caster, and this was going to be a tough shot. The fish was facing directly away from me, and the bottom was a slippery, noisy, cobble that prevented me from making any type of stalk on the fish. I couldn't actually see the fish's head, just a very active tail, and anyone who has fished with me knows my rule number one for carp fishing.

You don't cast until you can see the fish's head.

I looked at the situation for a few minutes, lined up a cast and let it fly. For a change, the flies landed exactly where I wanted, a slight hook cast that kept my line off the fish. I counted to four to let the flies get to the bottom and when I said four in my head the tail slipped under the surface, then reappeared about 10 inches farther away. Fish on.

The second fish was much more visual, but much smaller...a standard 9 lb Columbia River carp. I had a slightly elevated position, and was using a bushy tree for cover as I watched through the branches as the fish slow cruised into my target lane. Every few inches the fish was stopping to eat some moss off of a rock, or dig a nymph out of the cobble. The fish entered my window and I dropped a worm pattern into its path. The red worm stood out on the bottom, and from my elevated position I watched as the fish swam to the worm. He tipped up, and started vacuuming the bottom...but the worm didn't move. It must have been caught on some weeds, because it just sat there as the fish more and more frantically flared its gills and puffed out its lips in an attempt to eat the fly. Finally, the fish simply tailed up, almost vertical and smashed his mouth right onto the bottom and took a big mouthful of sediment...and the worm.

All in all, a good day.


Mr. P. said...

Nice way to end the season, John.

Gregg said...

Gosh John,

Hope it's not the end of carpin for you, but now I understand the unpredictability and seasonality of big water. Good job catching!


trashfisher said...

Sweet! I get kinda sad this time of year because I realize how long it's going to be before the next carping season.

testflycarpin said...

5 months. Ouch. Not a bad last outing if it does turn out that way though. Pray for a wicked Indian summer, you deserve one for all the weird weather and water tribulations over the past two years.

e.m.b. said...

"You don't cast until you can see the fish's head." Possibly the best carping advice, ever.
And the end of season realization is always a sad one, while at the same time, a relief. If summer lasted forever, I'd run myself to death. I think we need a "hibernation" of sorts, just like other mammals.

Great post. And you had one heck of a good season!

Pete said...

Interesting you say you're not a great caster because I consider you one of the best fly fishers on the interwebs, and that just tells me that being able to bomb casts is just a small part of the equation.

John Montana said...

Thanks Pete! Nice of you to say that, but i'm not exaggerating abut my casting ability. Don't get me wrong, for what I do i can generally get the fly where I want it, but it isn't pretty. I look really foolish on a steelhead run or trying to boom out lengthy casts. I have a hunch I would really struggle with stripers and some of the stuff you do. I'd like to try though!