Saturday, October 04, 2008

Carping Gone Bad

I pulled another early morning bit this AM. Up around 530. Made some coffee in the green light of my little hat-brim-LED and walked out the door - leaving behind snoozing family. My goal was to get a few carp before the real cold sets in. The water is so low... fish are concentrated. I went to a concentration point with the intention of nymphing.

The problem was that I couldn't see the carp that I knew were there, and there wasn't enough current to get a good drift. That pretty much leaves the slow-retrieve technique, so I went with that. When you go away from dead drift though and put action on carp flies, other fish hit them.

It worked out then that I only actually landed one carp - a small one of maybe 2-3 lbs. I hooked two fish that I presume were carp, but I never saw them. They popped off - likely snagged, but then again I wasn't using a retrieve that was conducive to snagging.

Despite the fact that the morning didn't lay how I would have liked it to, there were some cool moments:

(1) Landed what must have been my biggest every freshwater drum. It was pretty damn big. It slipped away just as I was taking a photo. Amazing how little fight it had in it.
(2) Caught a good handful of walleye on the LOD and Carp Carrot. I rigged up a live well because I caught a few right away and I wanted to eat them and consume their flesh. The live well was a bad idea though, in that all the fish I put in there escaped. I caught one more walleye of keeping size (~14-15") and I put it on a stringer. Going to clean it tonight and treat My Fair Lady to a walleye dinner tomorrow. Local walleye.
(3) Caught a few smallies, the biggest of which is pictured here. My honest guess is 17". I've thought about the fish a lot today and how it compared to a lot of the BWCA fish we measured. For the context - the location at which I was fishing - this was a pretty big smallmouth. It could have gone 18" or 16" but I'm sticking at 17". Nice bronze - took the LOD while it was sinking.
(4) I saw what I believe is the biggest smallmouth I've ever seen in person today. Absolute monster fish. You've all probably had carp or other fish swim in tandem with a fish you are playing... They kind of weave around the hooked fish and ask him "what's wrong man?" and they get frantic now and again for reasons we'll not completely understand. Maybe it's just that when they sense a commotion they figure it's either a wounded fish that they could maybe eat, or it's another fish feeding on something that they could maybe eat... so they come check it out. Maybe some folks would say they are in fact coming to the aid of a fellow. I watched a big catfish once swim with a twin-looking fish that my grandpa had hooked in a pond down in Texas. I remember that the fish mirrored every movement of the hooked fish and stayed with it the entire time, right up to the point of landing. Anyway - that happened today, only it was two different species: I was playing a walleye, and all of a sudden I caught sight of a giant, deep fish flitting around it and even ramming it with its head - like it was trying to strike it to do some damage. It hung around while I held the walleye in place and I decided to try to net them both at the same time... Didn't work, as you could guess. The smallmouth was just huge - it dwarfed the fish pictured here, and any I've seen in the BWCA. I cast for quite a while after that, putting some serious action in my retrieve - trying to induce a strike... no way though. There's a reason that smallie is that big and old. I like knowing that that fish is out there.

Anyway - I guess this is what you do when you can't catch carp.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

So where exactly does one carp fish?

10:29 AM  
Blogger John Montana said...

good deal...that is a nice smallie. it sucks that you couldn't drift fish, and couldn't see them, i bet the carp were thick in there.

hopefully we can make that place work for us this spring!

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never caught a walleye on fly (only one on a spin rod when I was 12!) - do they fight? Snmallies are nice - though probably feel a bit limp on a 7wt intended to catch a carp. Anyway - it beats getting skunked - sorry I missed it!


1:39 PM  
Blogger Royce Gracie said...

Neat story about the smallie coming aid.

Interesting how you use the expression, "honest guess". Should we assume guesses not such labeled are not honest?

7:39 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

WFF: careful what you ask about carp fishing... you might get answers. Carp addict warning.

JM: Maybe if I would have really stuck with the carp I could have landed a few more... I scanned them before I started fishing and saw no really big fish.

PG: no - walleye don't fight. Over on I think they are referred to as "living snags." They are a good food fish though.

JW: I only meant the honest modifier to add emphasis. Good point though. You never know when it comes to fishermen's guesses, estimates and stories. It is fair to say that in some situations I concentrate more on making a good estimate of a length or weight. Maybe that would be an "honest guess" or better described as a "thoughtful guess."

10:13 PM  
Blogger Royce Gracie said...

Just giving you a hard time. I know you're more prone to underestimating.

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