Childhood Lessons Pay Off on the Creek
When I was a young teen, my father took me on a fishing trip to Raystown Lake in central PA. The trip was a striper trip and we went with some cousins and their friends. The weather was beautiful and the lake looked to be in great shape. What we did not know at the time was that it was the year of locusts (17 year) and prolific does not even come close to describing what we saw. I shit you not… thousands and thousands of huge bugs dive bombing into the drink. They would buzz on the surface unable to escape until a fish came up and gulped them down or they drowned sinking to the bottom to a similar fate.
We threw everything in the box at the stripers with not even a strike on either boat. At this point in my life I had never picked up a fly rod so please excuse my trip back into a different era of fishing. As day two of no action wore on, my dad had to make a stop at the marina and use the facilities. I sat there watching the locusts buzzing on the surface near the dock. Just then a huge carp just came up and inhaled it. It looked like a Dyson moving across the surface sucking up every huge morsel in it’s path. A grin spread across my face.
My father was walking back up the dock as I was taking the minnow bucket out of our boat and dumping it into the lake… “What the hell are you doing????” he barked. I looked up at him and asked him if he wanted to beat water or go catch some fish. With that I took the empty minnow bucket and ran up the grass hand picking locusts off the tree’s and the shrubs and depositing them into my now empty minnow bucket. When the bucket was buzzing like a Hitachi Magic Wand, I made my way back to the boat. As we idled out I tied a floating jig head on to each of our spinning rods. My dad just looked at me asking if I was going to clue him in.
When we told our cousins what we were doing they scoffed at us….. “We didn’t come all the way to Raystown to catch CARP!” OK… we said… catch you later. My dad and I pulled off into a cove and hooked a locust onto the jig and let it drift. It didn’t take long. The V wakes coming at the bug here hysterical. It was like an outtake from the movie “Jaws”. I have no idea how many carp we caught that day, but it was a ton and we had a BLAST! By the way, my cousins went home fishless and unhappy.
So what’s the lesson you ask? No, it is not about the virtue of the much maligned carp. Nor is it about judging a trip by the number of fish you catch. The lesson I learned is that sometimes you have to take what the conditions are willing to yield.
Last night on the creek was a perfect example. The water was stained and the clouds had shut off any site fishing so chasing carp was a pretty tall order. After an hour I realized the futility of what I was doing and figured I’d change up. It turns out I had a pretty good night with some very eager and game smallies and a nice Sauger. Some of you might disagree but I try to keep multiple game plans in my pocket so regardless of what happens when you hit the water there is always fun to be had!
So… what would you have done? Continue to chase your intended quarry? Or go with what the conditions presented? Curious to know.
Good Luck and Tight Lines!