Saturday, October 25, 2014

World Series Carp Fishing

Like Mothers' Day caddis.  We need a phenological reference for this time of year when the waters are low and clear; primary productivity in the stream, like that in the uplands, slows to a creep.  The river banks can be snlfed along without much trouble.  All of the details are accessible to the angler: the rock geometry, the sand grains, baitfish, turtles, mussels.  Woody debris.  The dorsals.  On the general outdoors calendar this period falls after trout season has (mostly) closed and before one is allowed to legally hunt deer.  October into early November.  

Good reminder here: not all carp that see you as angler and/or balk at your fly are spooked.  This first fish came in strutting; very deliberately seizing its head around and making fitful movements.  It was unlike the handful of fish I'd seen to that point, all of which were stationary and generally negative.  The fly was presented, dragged around and sunk here and there while the fish surged and retreated, unsure what to make of the whole deal.  Many days (especially in target rich waters), a person would walk away from this carp.  I stuck at it because I figured I wouldn't have many chances, and I liked the mood.  Spooking a bit but not hard spooking.  I let her settle for about 20 seconds and then dropped the fly again.  I couldn't see it all go down but the general "eat" signature was inked and I picked up the rod.  11 lbs scaled. 

11 lber.

Bass hold.

Weather on this day was gray.  100% cloud cover.  Tilting toward rain.  I've come to welcome this condition as long as a person can gain a good vertical perspective on the water.  Meaning walk a river bank and look down and in.  In fact it's better than full sun in this setting.  The sunlight is needed to see great distances; to see into water when the eyes of the human are at a low angle to the water surface.

Three more carp came to hand over the next couple hours, none of which were scaled.  All were 5-7 lbs by my estimate.  They were all holed up in the gray slots.  The low and clear water has driven them to these slots.  Same observation last fall.  Better to feel the weight of water on one's back; to feel heavy and dark and safe, than to linger in the light flowing thin and clear coverlet.  They were found to be milling.  A standard word; good word for carp.  Generally positive association.  Meaning they will respond to opportunities presented, even if they are not cruising or actively feeding.  Tricky thing here is trying to get more than one out of each group.  And thus while you may encounter a dozen fish, you can really only expect to hook approximately one.  I suppose that's why it took a couple hours.  First two fish were subtle takes; moves to the fly that I was watching intently.  The last fish of the day: I cast well beyond, dragged and dropped a good 2-3 feet away in very still water.  Normally like to get it closer.  But the image was so good I opted to let it play out.  Very slow drag, maybe making a small disturbance or plume.  As soon as the fly was discerned by the carp, said fish swam in direct fashion and set down on the fly.  This was dramatic and appreciated.

Could work going forward: World Series carping.  Beautiful fall weather.  Fish still around.  They are heavy gray fish that will eat flies and look straight at you when you hold them.