Wednesday, August 15, 2007

If your first three fingers have calouses as thick as fiddy-cent pieces on the tips, then you are probably a good guitar player. That’s cool – I love guitar and everything else… but if those same tips are burned red from coming in contact with a cylinder that is spinning at approximately 10,500 revolutions per second then you are most likely a carp fisherman.

A friend and I bargained our way into two hours of fishing (plus travel time) on Monday. We plopped the nameless canoe in a certain water and paddled to an portage trail that took us to an otherwise in accessible piece of water (inaccessible because the right-wing, private-property-rights-enthusiast, capitalist who owns the land around the water won’t let anyone through to fish). We sidestepped the profit-maker successfully and found ourselves in a cool little nirvana.

We didn’t have a heck of a lot of time, but here is what happened:

Right away we saw carp everywhere. They were doing their classic pulsating-mouth-just-under-water routine – apparently feeding on something very small – probably an algae of sorts. It’s been my experience that when they are doing this, they are very difficult to entice. This day was the same deal… putting flies where I wanted them, but doing nothing but spooking fish. In fact, I spooked damn near every one of those summa biches. I could only laugh about it though.

The setting was outstanding – I was walking along a “cliff” of sorts – looking down on these fish… like looking in a fish bowl. I love any situation that allows that high vantage point. I did some sneaking on fish – like this one – tried to capture the “peeking over the rock ledge at fish” perspective:

I put a fly on this fish for five minutes straight – he just sat there and ignored it… didn’t spook, but didn’t take either. Funny. After a while he just swam away with a compadre who came up and said “hey – can’t you see that asshole is trying to prick you?!!?”

Finally, after getting my ass handed to me over and over I broke out a teaspoon, placed the green crawdaddy in it, and fed it to one carp that was sitting still like the previous picture… I saw no motion, but it was right at his mouth and I took a guess-hookset and was right. The next 10 seconds were some of the best I’ve experienced on the water: that carp took off in a straight line like you wouldn’t even believe… reel started screaming and I tried to apply pressure with my three fingers… it was going so fast though that they started burning immediately. “Hey Swigs – check this out – my fingers are burning,” I said. He was standing right next to me and I was so glad he was there to witness this ass-thrashing in progress. The fish slowed down for approx 0.5 seconds, then took off again even faster along the same straight line – right out for the greater pool. The reel buzzed like a fuggin skill saw and I tried again to slow it down and just got scorched again… Finally my backing just started going through the guides and the line started to bow… I think the weight of the line out there broke the 3x. I knew it was coming – in fact I think I remember saying something like “good bye fish” etc.

Not one fish landed by either of us. I wouldn't have changed a thing about the day though. Good scouting, good discovery... good ass-kicking and cool sights... got to sit on a rock precipice and drink steaming hot coffee while watching carp cloop their asses around... etc, etc - what would a guy change?

Funny thing is that that fish was no where NEAR what you’d call a “big” carp. What does that tell you me boy!?! A juvenile carp can kick your izzow and make you feel inadequate in ways that a walleye could never even dream about! A little baby carp could clean the streambed with a trophy largemouth… I’ve even seen carp fry chase walleye young-of-the-year out of a pool. Hell, I’ve even seen carp EGGS that fight harder than the “eater size” fall-guy walleye. Fugg that walleye – bring it any day and ol’ buglemouth will rub your eyes with your own caudal fin until you’re blind and then he’ll rip off one pelvic fin so you spend the rest of your life swimming in circles me boy.


Blogger John Montana said...

Great post flybox is stocked for the weekend! i'm hoping to land enough carp to keep track in lbs rather than numbers!

10:36 AM  
Blogger eric said...

Hey Justin - I check in here at least once a week and am usually left too speechless to comment - you truly excel at what you do. I was amused by the "nameless" canoe in this post. It appears to be a fiberglass Sears from the late 70ies - mine came with a cheesy birch bark paint job. Unlike the nameless boat, after several modifications mine
was given the ridiculous title of The Spot "X" Dog and Hunt Club Jump Boat 2000. Nameless is better. ;-)

Also, keep dissin' the smallies and walleyes - soooo funny. My friend grew up on the Wisconsin River, and when I'd refer to Muskies and "big brown junk fish" and L.M.B. as "toads" he'd get totally irate. Sorry to ramble. Great blog - keep on fishing!

4:11 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

Thanks guys. I don't know if really "excel" in any particular way... maybe more of just loving something so much I spout out some good stories now and then.

I checked out your web log Eric - very cool. Congrats on winning 2nd in the photo contest - great shot of your dog in the canoe. I'm hitting BWCA for 6 days of fly fishing beginning 9/6/07.

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