Well today was one of the latter…. sat under this bridge trying to wait out a lightning storm. By the time it finished, the stream was a mess and the fish were down. Also managed to slip on a mud slicked rock and fall on my ass…. but since I was alone and no one saw it, it didn’t really happen.
Better luck tomorrow.
If you have been fishing for any length of time, you undoubtedly have a place you would consider your home water. It is the stream, pond, lake or river you know best, the one you fish most often, and one that probably has it’s fair share of stories attached to it.
A few years ago, I moved to a different part of town. The creek that runs past my neighborhood is one that people drive by every day on their way to work. It is the very same creek that people look at me pretty funny as they see me dropping down into the water with waders and a fly rod. It is also the creek that has become my sanctuary. Yes, I can hear the cars passing overhead if I listen hard for them but on most days all of that noise fades into the background. I lose myself in feeling my rod load as my cast unfolds. I lose myself in scanning the tea colored water for a tail or a puff of mud. Sometimes I stop and look around only to realize I am a mile upstream and I don’t even remember covering nearly that much water.
Tonight I caught one undersized small mouth in almost embarrassing fashion as I did not even realize I had a take. I successfully blew up a group of carp feeding on the surface with a cast that I fubar’d as my fly landed in a heap tangled around the base of my leader. I almost wiped out mid stream in a section of deep riffles that would have made for an uninvited swim as well. I was far from my best and the fish were far from cooperative, but any night I can watch the sun set on my home water is a night that send me home with a smile.
So today was just a slog getting through my work day. I had made plans to catch a few twilight hours on the creek with Bob and the clock could not have gone any slower. The other day, he was doing some recon and came across a mess of Carp that were clooping some white seeds off of the surface. He had hooked into a few but none had come to hand.
Being the true fishing buddy that he is, Bob tipped me off to the spot and sure enough there they were doing the same dance. I tied on a good sized white Adams and my third cast hit pay dirt. She took off for parts unknown and about 5 minutes later I had her in hand with an grin from ear to ear. Yes, I know she is not the biggest Carp ever caught on a fly and maybe she had a face that only a mother would love. Never the less, she was my first Carp on a dry fly so she will always have a special place in my heart. For those of you who are wondering, she and all of her eggs were returned safely to the creek.
Sadly, the fight completely blew up the rest of the fish so I guess I will have to head back tomorrow to see if they are back! Good night and tight lines!
So you think Carp are a “trash fish”? A bottom feeder? Easy to catch? Ok, I grant you this, if you wad up some Velveeta inside a casing of Wonder Bread…. Maybe so. On the fly??? Different ballgame my friend!
Allow me to address the first issue of “bottom feeder” There happens to be this saltwater fish that people pay thousands of dollars to go catch. They have down turned mouths, feed almost exclusively on the bottom, and are much easier to catch using live bait. Yes, the bone fish, the ghost of the flats, in many ways is the saltwater cousin of the common Carp!
Now the carp are much more of an SUV than a Ferrari, but a good sized Carp will take you and your eight weight into your backing and give you a better struggle than most fresh water species. In addition, Carp in the double digits are common and you can sight fish for them to boot!
Here is the crowning jewel. For almost all of us, you can be on prime Carp waters for the price of a few dollars in gas and a Twinkie. Close your eyes… swap out pristine white sand for a bit of mud, that sweet salt water smell for something a bit less savory, and that endless horizon for some endless graffiti and voila! You are now on your typical urban creek, spillway, river, etc…. Now, not all Carp fishing is steeped in such beauty, but for many of us with an hour and a half to fish after work… this is Nirvana!
Now I know all of you trout purists are snickering at me right now… please, snicker away! If you are still a doubter, take a few hours and try this out. Any evening after work, head over to your nearest warm water river, find some mudding or tailing Carp in shallow water and try to approach them… better yet, present a fly. Unless you put the fly in the perfect spot, approach with stealth, and have a bit of luck on your side… chances are the fish you were stalking is gone in a puff of mud.
So maybe this is no longer the best kept secret in fly fishing but I do know that there are far fewer fisherman on my local Carp stream than there are on my local trout stream! In fact, I have gone weeks and not seen another soul other than my buddy Bob who is now afflicted with the same addition. And you know what? That is just fine with me!
So I had to relay this story and photo because I can’t stop laughing about it. I was traveling for business in Western Ohio this week. I packed my rod in the car with hopes of getting out for a few hours in the evening.
I found a small pay lake near where I was working and hit the water. The lakes were being fished by a bunch of guys with huge live bait rigs fishing for monster catfish.
The lake was small and I could hear the guys across the lake laughing at the guy with the fly rod and one of them actually called me a moron. For two hours…. I believe their collective fish count was ZERO!
After I landed the first one (6lbs), they weren’t snickering quite as loud.
After I landed the 12 pounder…. they didn’t utter a word.
As I was walking back around the lake, the guy looked over his shoulder at me. I just smiled, looked at him, and said, “Not so funny now is it”.
He laughed and asked me to show him what kind of “bait” I was using. When I explained my bait was a size 4 chartreuse crystal bugger, he stared in disbelief.
I smiled the entire way home!