Sunday, April 14, 2013
Every enthusiast who is passionate about a seasonal endeavor itches with anticipation for the moment of the transition from early season to full season. Adding to the anxiety is not knowing exactly when that moment will happen. Fly fishing for carp here usually begins in earnest in mid-May but I can't hold out that long. I'll head for the flats at the first hint of warmth in March or April even though I know that there will be few fish around and questionable conditions. A glutton for punishment I suppose but there is a silver lining; I've wet a line and added on more anticipation for the transition. I love the early season atmosphere too. Last years cat tails brown against the Spring sky is somewhat settling. Especially with the spring soundscape added in. And lastly there is a chance I might catch a fish.
Two weekends have been open for me in the wee hours of the 2013 carp season. On the day before April Fools Day I waded one of my favorite flats near town. There were a fair number of fish around but the turbid waters made it impossible to see the tailing carp until you were almost on top of them. Hence most of the carp I saw were already spooked. I did manage to not spook one fatty though.
Even though I only caught one fish that day, it got the juices flowing. So I got into a fly tying frenzy and I dusted of the Mercy Creek Special.
And I was back on the Big C again a couple of weekends later. This time the elements kept the Mercy Creek Special in port but my sea legs were anxious. So I took my long time friend Doug who had never caught a carp on the fly. Even though conditions were not optimal for first-time carping Doug was optimistic was really wanting to catch a carp. The wind was horrendous and made for really nasty wading with wader topping four foot waves in exposed areas so we absconded to quieter backwaters. We had to beat through the brambles to get there though.
A few fish were raising hell in the muddy water so blind casting to swirls and where a carp last splashed was the name of the game. I mainly held back and let Doug get first crack at the action and he hooked up.
Doug never could get the fish's head up but I did see when he had it up close before it broke off. Never the less, Doug was stoked and is raring to get out carping again as am I. It's only going to get warmer and soon my anticipation will be abated.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
When you try so hard to catch those big fish and end up blowing the shot it just plain hurts. You feel yourself sink inside and rationalize to yourself that it's really ok, you really don't suck, the conditions just weren't quite right. You can't lie to yourself for very long though. Soon that feeling of "dammit I wish I had of stuck that fish!" comes flooding back in. There are many ways to blow the shot but the most painful of all to me is losing the Zen of detecting the take. I don't get nearly as upset about blowing a beautiful shot when I line the line fish or spook it with the plop of the fly as I do when I blow it from missing the take. The take is the best moment of the whole experience and detecting it with consistency in all conditions is what I strive for. It's difficult as hell to do. I've had some off days lately where I just seemed a little too early or late to get solid sticks. I wondered what had happened to my mojo.
Today was the first time I have been back on the Big C since labor Day weekend when I fished with John Montana. I had some really good shots at serioulsy bruiser big carp that day and the best I could do was prick one's lip for about 2 seconds. It was damn hard that day. But as always it is a great time fishing with John. Today I was expecting to see fewer fish with it being later in the season with lower water levels, cooler nights and slightly cooler days. Sometimes it is good to be wrong. Right out of the car there were tailing carp and and I immediately hooked a 15 pounder which ended up being the biggest of the day.
|First and biggest carp of the day|
That felt really good. I read the take well on an eat at about 30 feet away. Was the mojo back? It was early. The rest of day would tell. I had many more shots and got 15 to hand in 4 hours of fishing. All were between 10 and 15 pounds.
Friday, August 17, 2012
On Saturday Mr. P and I walked amazingly carpy water on the Columbia but found no feeding fish; only surface cruisers in deep water. There were a ton of play-boaters around. Carp are skittish creatures and will flee the flats when there is a nearby disturbance. We got blanked. Except for the roadside PFD that Mr. P hooked. Very impressive casting! John caught one fish on Saturday at Banks making our team tied for first place. I was able soothe the wounds to my pride with delicious Ninkasi IPA at the end of the day though. Life is good!
|P and the PFD|
On Sunday P and I explored the carping possibilities in the Barker Canyon area on the northwest side of Banks. Not a fish was seen. So we tried another spot down lake that had seen little traffic that was adjacent to a spot that had been hammered in the last 2 days. Blanked again. However, John landed 5 and David got 1 putting us over the top in the team catagory. An excellent desription of the prizes and winners can be found at Carp on the Fly.
|Basalt coulee walls east of Banks Lake|
|David Nakamoto gets nipples deep for carp|
There were many great prizes given away from the awesome sponsors of the event. A huge thanks goes out to the Native Fish Society, Portland and Bellevue Orvis Stores (Mad props out to Adam and Leland!), Idylwilde and Ninkasi for putting on the first ever Carp-ocalypse! We all had a great time and I can't wait till next year!
|Hangin' with Mr. P at the Carp Lodge|
Monday, July 30, 2012
Many things come to mind when one hears the term "deadhead" like Cherry Garcia ice cream or an acid fried old hippie. No offense to hippies though. I think in general they are great folks. But no one thinks of an isolated little alpine lake that has no trail to it when they hear "deadhead". Looking at Deadhead Lake on map no one would have a clue if there might be fish in it. Only one way to find out.
I have been going on backcountry fishing trips with my friends Dean and Jason for several seasons but I missed the last three years because of life stuff. Jason's friend Mark was also on the trip. This year the plan was Waptus Lake in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness of the Wenatchee National Forest here in Washington.
We made it to Waptus on Saturday July 27 after a late morning start. Jason and Mark started fishing right away on Waptus with spinning gear and were not catching. At that point I had given up on fishing this trip. So I grabbed the map and scanned for possible places were there might be some adventure. 2 miles away and 2500 vertical higher than our camp was Deadhead Lake. It looked like something I could get to and back in a few hours before dark. I took my fly rod just in case.
|Fording the Waptus River|
Was I in for a rude awakening. The trail portion was 1.5 miles of pure uphill nut-busting fun and then there was the cross country bushwhack with route finding through thick brush and cliff bands.
|The Spade Lake Trail|
|A little scree thrown in for off-trail fun|
|The first fish I caught |
|The last fish I caught.|
|Deadhead Creek up high.|
|Falls on Deadhead Creek.|
|A farewell giver.|
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The Trial of the Soft Clam
Saturday, July 21, 2012
A couple of disclaimers: 1) I am not a professional fisherman or guide in any sense. Just a regular guy fly fisher. 2) Nearly all of my techniques and tactics have been gleaned from, copied, modified from or adapted form great carpers such as Jeremy Kendall, Darce Knoble, Barry Reynolds, John Montana, Mr. P, McTage and several other unmentioned individuals whom articles I have read in various publications over the years. But the greatest contributor to my carp knowledge cache is experience. One can only improve upon their skills if they go out and fish and find out what works for them on particular waters.
So with that being said I will try to catch readers up to the present with a photographic timeline going back to 2008 when I began carping in earnest. I hope that you enjoy these pages and I welcome all constructive comments and inquiries about my trashfishing and funhogging exploits.
And I am going fishing tomorrow so stay tuned.