Monday, May 07, 2018

Spring 2018 Carping Notes

Warmth was a long time coming but it did take hold pretty quickly once the ice was off some of the local pond systems.  First carp (in Minnesota) of the year was 4/22/18.  Dozens of fish laid up just soaking in heat units.  Not feeding; not really even moving much.  Some patience and finesse required, i.e. heron-dapping with a light fly like a San Juan Worm.  

I think this SJW was tied by John Montana maybe as long as 12-14 years ago.  

The Trouser Worm too.

Few days later found those fish doing almost the same thing. Not exactly same though because on this day I was there earlier in the day/diurnal.  So they weren't in the absolute shallowest water (where I'd found them previously during afternoon) presumable because that water cooled over night.  They were in the "neck" of that water - the transition from the deep to the shallow.  I think a really cool thing would be to have infrared imagery for some days during spring; chart carp movements with that as the basemap.  They were all arrayed there and I caught a couple small carp and then started hunting through looking for a bigger fish.  This one was holding steady by a log - no feeding - no movement.  Dapped a SJW; had to be right on her...   and she did in fact snatch-eat it.  Scaled at 14 lbs.

This fish was later- 5/4/18 heading into the weekend.  I have been long-acquainted with these carp and I think that I have caught a decent percentage of the population over the years.  There aren't very many; most of them are pretty big.  They are also very tough due to the setting.  I'd rate it as top difficulty.  Get stoned often.  That was happening on Friday night - stoning.  I take it in stride now; people change.  Good lesson with this fish though - I saw three big brutes moving longshore; I crouched and followed; put a fly on one of them and all three of them kind of pissed on it and soft spooked.  This fish did a 180 and headed back the other way.  It wasn't a particularly alarmed 180 but rather just indicating that she'd like to be elsewhere.  These reads on fish mood and behavior are often important.  I gauged that spook to be soft enough that one should try again.  I got low and basically tracked the fish down over approximately fifty feet, set up in a little window and put the fly on her again.  LOD.  On this occasion she turned slowly and curiously; swam forward and down and just settled on the fly.  From there it was a bit of a battle because I had my baby-carp rig (5/6 weight) which has no fighting butt (I had been using this for those little buggers previous days).  So it was a forearm workout and a difficult netting job; honest 8-10 minutes I'd say just because I wanted to be really really careful as I understood the size and quality.  Got her in the net and literally said aloud she will be 1-2 pounds short.  Scaled at 19 lbs.  I post-field-checked my scale on dumbbells of 25, 20 and 12 lbs. It's right on.  I really wanted this fish to be 20 lbs but just not there yet.  

The fish are in warmest water. I've seen carp in groups swimming together. I've not observed heavy feeding yet but as of yesterday 5/6/18  (got a couple small ones) I saw individual fish feeding.  I also found hundreds of quillbacks congregated; few bigger carp mixed in.  I've observed many many suckers spawning in pond settings.  LMB and panfish in shallows.