Buzzing north to watch Final Four (puke, guffaw, vomit games) I had ~20 minutes to stop for some scouting... need to do some serious planning before John Montana gets here later in the month. I stopped at one of my old Cannon River joints and saw no fish in the greater part of the water. I did find an interesting situation though - here it is:
Perched up high I was shielding my eyes and just studying the water in a little spillway ever so intensely. After a minute of staring I started to pick up on some grey ghost-like forms ~4-5 feet beneath the surface... good thing to see there. I watched for a while and noticed that they were hanging by a foam line and moving laterally now and then - like freaking TROUT feeding on nymphs. I ran back to the car with ~10 minutes left on the clock... sprinted to the spillway and found that my new 7 wt line wasn't with leader. HA! No big deal - quick tied a perfection loop in the end of the line and put on a straight 3x flourocarbon leader of ~10 feet - thinking that for "jigging" this would do just fine. Tried a few drifts, but got nothing... at the side of the water I couldn't see the fish. So I ran back up to my vantage point and marked where they were hanging by noting streamside veg... ran back down, and laid a little flip upstream and mended into the foam line... watching the perfection loop as a strike indicator - with very low hope of catching a fish... wouldn't you know it though - saw a little twitch of that loop - picked up the rod and felt that glorious resistance. The freaking carp was caught just like one would catch a feeding trout! Very cool.
After little fanfare (no big runs at all - I kept asking the fish to go, but it would only bull out ~6-8 feet of line at a time - still played for ~8 minutes), this beautiful carp was brought to hand gently in the shallows. On close examination I noticed it exhibited symptoms typically associated with a condition that is spreading across the warmwater of souteast MN: in fisheries circles it's known as SCITUL (Swimming Clouser In The Upper Lip).
A few notes then:
(1) Have gear ready to go... first carping of the spring though, so maybe excusable.
(2) You don't need a lot of time to catch a carp and be a happy person.
(3) 7 wt is too much for this water - to date I had used only 4 wt.
(4) The Swimming Clouser is an absolutely invaluable pattern.
(5) While it was cool to trout-nymph up a carp, it does not compare to sight fishing. Despite what some may say "catching a fish any way you can do it" is not the way to go, IMO. Dropping corn in the slack water of this spillway and waiting would have been dogmeat. Mr. P from CAG says "The take is the premiere moment," and he is right on.... can't wait to see the first take of 2008.