Monday, July 20, 2009

Under the Bridge Downtown

Is where I knicked a carp.

-adapted from Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Scouting Dilemma

I’d been given a solid tip recently, that the bigger carp in a certain system hang out in a given reach of that system. A few hours came free last night, so the possibility of following up came into my mind. A quandary came about though, because in the vicinity – at a location I’ve fished many times – I had spotted a thick pod of carp – swarms of fish in the 8-12 lb range and I’d seen one that looked really big. The big one might have even been a mirror. Trouble with that deal was that there was no way to sight fish (I’d been peering down from above, from an not-for-fishing location) and I’d have to dead drift through there and play the numbers game in hopes of landing a bigger fish. Seems like in years past I would have gone for that pod – chased the nearly-sure-thing and not cared about the size of the fish. I almost did that again. Who knows what would have happened, but odds are I would have landed a fair number of fish. I opted out though, and pushed myself to do some exploring.

The short story is that the place looks carpy, and I believe that earlier in the year a guy could have fished it pretty well. As it stands now, aphanizomenon makes for extremely poor visibility (maybe 8-12 inches) and the water is really low to boot. I found one group of fish huddled around some woody debris, but they were not feeding and despite some earnest heron creeping and decent presentation they were not to be had. I also found one group of filter feeding fish – open-close mouth habit just below the water surface. I stayed back maybe 35 feet and put on the lightest fly I had with me – swimming clouser. It looked good in the water and hung in the top 4 inches for maybe 5 seconds so I felt they might eat it… but no dice there either. Toward the end of the walk I came to a bridge – a busy bridge that I didn’t want to cross above… so I ducked below… turned the corner and stood face to face with a big white mouth – doing that same open-close, only this time in the middle of the water column. I froze, thinking the fish had seen me… maybe 4-6 feet away. Good fortune made an appearance though and I was able to slip back around the corner and collect myself without sending the carp off. Pulled the line in through the guides so only ~4 feet of leader/tippet hung out… dropped the LOD up and to the side a couple feet. The carp spotted the falling fly, and aggressively angled down toward it and engulfed the gilded morsel. Scale said 12-4 so I’ll say, minus the tare, that the fish weighed 11.5 lbs.

Back to the quandary of scouting vs known waters. The former must be done. That’s my take going forward. I could have walked out of there last night without a fish and been okay. Maybe slightly nagged but overall okay. I’ve walked that reach now and I know what it is and I think I have at least a little grasp on its potential. I’ll file that info away and pull it out later. Stack it next to the subsequent file yet to be created. The file cabinet is called something like the quest for new and amazing fish. If I’d stuck with the known waters I may have added some more snapshots of moderately sized fish but the information would not have been gained and thus the quest would not have been furthered.


Blogger winonaflyfactory said...

Lucky SOB. Nice work, getting back and right into it.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Nice bent hook. Love exploring - but haven't done it much for carp this year. Nice descriptions - was trying to hit some early today - but no dice - bank-side brush is a killer - ruining so many presentations.

Nice job.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Royce Gracie said...

That's a green fish. Nice hook.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

The hook fell out as the fish was landed. Cheap component. Trouble is, I have 10,000 of them.

The fish was landed while it was still pretty hot. That's what 1x does to a guy.

10:24 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

I want to me try carping with you next spring. or maybe the redhorse run maybe? i know Klotz would be all over that with us.

brookies are still e favorite though.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

trouble forming a proper sentence there. whoops

10:14 PM  
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