Monday, July 10, 2006

This is probably the coolest fish of my life to date. The whole ordeal was completed in <30 minutes.

Fish #0: the one that got away yesterday at this location, when James and I were out - he clearly took the fly, but I missed him. That is important because it is what brought me back here. That is also important because the fish was smaller, so that made me opt for the 4 wt rod today.

Fish #1: I approached this stretch of river, and immediately saw a carp feeding along the rocks. It was tough to get him to see the fly, because of the rocky cavities... but I eventually "held" the fly suspended where he could see - he cruised on over and sucked it in! Fish on! Although this first carp was small, he tested the 4 wt - running a few times and giving me a pretty good battle. I landed the fish, released him and was just about to head out... but you know how that goes.

Fish #2: I decided to take a quick run up another piece of bank, just in case. From about 50 yards away I saw some disturbed water so I crept closer to investigate. The first picture here is what I saw: a PIG feeding with his back out of the water!! One of the coolest sights I've seen in a while - this was one of those fish that you see and think "wow, is that cool" but figure you have no way of catching him. That got my heart going. I ninja crept closer, and before I could get within decent (my) casting range, he slowly started swimming out deeper... damn, I thought - I bet he is gone. I ALMOST gave up and turned around. I heard JB saying to me though "DON'T GIVE UP!" and I followed the bubble trail that was barely visible. After a half minute or so he eased back into shallow water - affording me another chance! On my third cast, I got the fly just up and to the left of the fish... he slowly turned and swam over... head obscured by silt, but he paused over the fly and I set the hook. The shallow water and the mud exploded!! Yeah - fish on again! He kicked the crap out of the 4 wt - working me over for no fewer than 14 minutes (I glanced at my watch). He didn't make really long runs, but in total I bet he made 10 runs of 15-30 feet each. Every time I got him close it was like I could hear him say "screw you buddy" as he wheeled around and took off again. NOTE: this was a 4 wt, with 3x tippet, no fighting butt and NO NET. If I'd had a net I could have landed him in probably half the time. However, it wasn't easy. I had to slop out there and grab him after that epic battle... and he still had juice to defy me. I'm telling you - this was one of the coolest fishing experiences of all time for me: tying a fly for a specific purpose, going to a location looking for a certain specie... seeing a fish feeding like a pig in the shallows, stalking it, making the cast, hooking the fish without seeing fly or mouth, fighting and holding it for that long... and finally landing it with no net. Wow, is all I can say.

Fish #3: I HAVE TO GO, is what I was saying because my time was running short. However, on my way out, I saw another smaller carp. One can't see a carp and not cast to it... so I did, and on the first cast, HE SUCKED UP THE FLY, as I'd come to expect. However, on the hookset, I broke him off. That said to me that if I'd played that big boy (fish #2) much longer he'd probably have broken me off.

I got in the car and drove away.

One of the best fish to date, and it all took place in 30 minutes, with naught but a 4 wt fly rod, a lanyard, and a box of flies. No 80 bazillion HP motor with a 33 foot boat, no bassmaster certification, no worms, no treble hooks, no net - not even any waders man. Simple, light fishing that was pure joy.

Carp on the fly pretty are darn interesting. This is amazing... I won't forget this day! I can't believe how willingly some of these carp take flies.

[one other note: I had no where to unhook this fish other than the silt flat - he wouldn't let me control him while in the water]

[one final note: the fly, a variation on a pattern imported from Oregon, has been eaten by all four carp that have laid eyes on it! And thus, the fly is aptly named: 4-4 crawdad.]


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good stuff justin...

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