Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Local Variety

In an attempt to shed the scourge of normalcy and contempt bred by familiarity with the local fishery, my boys and I decided to look after some new angles and different places yesterday. Good sun; not much wind; not too hot. A transition day welding a vacation to the end of this work week is what it was. The notable details are as follows:

(1) My offer of $100 for a 20 lb carp opportunity was picked up and cast back to me, with a good tip. I followed up. I know there are carp there and probably big carp, but it’s a deep and dirty rotten hole. Teeming with fish of all species and ages. But I can’t get to them. Can’t see them and can’t get to them. I tried a sink tip line and got some fish but not what I was looking for. I appreciate the note though.
(2) Upstream of this hole, I walked around a bit. All new to me, because of recent catastrophic flooding and damage to control structure. There were a few carp to be seen. Thus, I addressed and subsequently hooked one of the more unremarkable carp I’ve come across. It numbly ate a DB soft hackle in black. Put up no fight, and swam into the net. Probably 7-8 lbs. Not a bad fish and who catches 8 lbers with regularity? But once you’ve eaten a whole box of candy heart carp you might turn away from the liver and onions variety. Just by reflex. I guess if you really think about it, they are all lovable in the end. Still big buglemouths. Anyway: left that carp to wallow in its mediocrity and walked upstream. Nothing but hundreds of quillbacks. All little quillbacks skirting about and mostly looking up, feeding now and then. I avoided as long as possible but finally in frustration I started fishing to them. I’ve caught a handful of quillbacks: maybe ten by fair hooking. And I’d never successfully sight-fished to one. I think they have some solid ESP and/or special vision that allows them to see you in any stance in which you can see them. But on this day, I drifted that black softie by a quill and it moved to it. I picked up the rod and said “No way – I can’t believe you just ate that.” Little tiny, tiny littlest mouth out there. But the hook was curving through the top lip, situated correctly. Cool pyramid body fish. Big dark quill that is namesake.
(3) Shot that water to hell and drove home, making one quick stop that would prove to be a banner. Here is the sequence:
a. First see a guy with a fishing rod, accompanied by two girls, one in Daisy Duke shorts following him around. Only one way to show that guy up and it must be to catch a giant fish. Because I know I don’t look too cool in my Simms and my carp buff. And I didn’t have my new green fishing shirt on. So I looked to the water and immediately saw fish and immediately knew I was in. Fish caught. Just not sure which one.
b. Take #1: I dropped that black softie in front of a pair of cruising fish. I got the outstandingly good “oooh, exciting!” response and one sauntered forward and ate it. I set the hook and I watched the fly come shooting straight out of the carp’s mouth. No contact made. Not sure if I literally pulled while it was being sucked in, or if the carp spit it. Either way: negative.
c. Take #2: I was fishing a tandem rig, with a DC squirrel fly on the front. I dropped it in front of a decent carp that was half-feeding, and it just crushed the squirrel before it had even settled half way to the bottom. Set the hook. Tippet knot shattered. Good thing it was not a haunting fish. I still like that take though. Aggressive. Something that can shake off doldrums.
d. That fish blew out some of the water, so I sat for a second and retied things. Leader sucked. Tippet sucked. Figured I had a good chance. I peeked in then and scanned. Half hidden by the turbidity: nice fish laying in the cut. I recall saying aloud “look at that big son of a bitch down there.” Tail was not up, but the fish was feeding off and on, moving toward me. Only one fly this time: the DC squirrel. Dropped it ahead and to the fish’s right. Annihilation. The carp ate they fly and I exhaled and said something. This fish showed a big head, big mouth. Wasn’t sure about the depth though. So I was toying with the idea of a Miss River Basin 20 lber. It didn’t look the part necessarily but it looked like a fish that could be that fish. Only one good run, but it did burn my fingers a bit. Which I appreciate and will remember every time I walk by that position. Digital scale said 16 lbs. Not the biggest MN fish, but in the top 10 for sure.
(4) Fished to an orange koi of maybe 3-4 lbs. Actually got the fly to the fish, but it was presented mid-column as the koi was crusing… not ideal. No takes at all. Pretty cool though.
(5) James logged his first ever 20+ fish day. Honest estimate is that he caught 2 crappies, 2 SMB, 8-10 LMB and 8-10 sunfish. Some of the LMB were in the 12-13” range. Maybe touched 14”. At one point, he hooked something that he couldn’t land. I was some distance away, and thus did not see the fish. He sure had his rod doubled over though. The kid just wades out as far as his chicken legs can carry him, and zings a twister tail out there. Cranks it back. Fish jump on. Nothing forced by me. In fact, at 6:08 PM I really wanted to get home, but struggled to pry him away. He’s already a practitioner of the “one last cast” mode of operation. Far and away the premiere moment of the day was when Danny helped James net a bass. Beaming through a genuine smile he said to his big brother: “Well done James. Well DONE!”


Blogger John Montana said...

I can't even say how awesome those pics of James are...just crazy good.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Wendy Berrell said...

And he asked last night if we could go fishing today. And tomorrow.

Have to love that.

9:52 AM  
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