It's an addiction. Once you start, you just can't stop. And, being that carp are one of the most intelligent fish around it comes with its fair share of frustration and anger. I went throw three mornings where the carp were everywhere but would not allow me to catch them. The only cure for being a carpaholic are long runs into the backing, subtle takes, and bent rods.
Last night was the first time I've had the kayak out on the lake this year. That is kind of hard to believe, I usually spend a good amount of time out there each year. Aside from being the first lake kayak night, this was also going to be the first run around with my new Cabela's TLr 9' 8wt. I matched it up with my usual 8-9 wt. reel and a scientific anglers bass-pike line. I like this line for casting long distances and turning over big heavy flies. I knew very quickly that the TLr was going to be a fun rod to fish. When it only takes four hauls to shoot the entire fly line, you know you're holding a rod with a very good blank. Hopefully the rest of the rod holds up, the reel seat has a cheap feel and look to it. That's fine, I don't really buy rods based on aesthetics. For the price this seems like a very solid rod.
The important question I need to know the answer to: will this rod take a beating?
Fishing for carp from an un-anchored 'yak is a good way to test a knew rod. That guarantees a beating! So I searched around for some bubbling fish in some of the deeper flats that I don't get the opportunity to reach from shore. I didn't see much activity, but there was one carp that was feeding consistently. I had tied on a large olive and orange woolly bugger. Not your typical carp fly. I just said, "ah what the hell?" and dropped it next to the bubble patch. When the bubbles stopped appearing I strip set and watched the line sound as the fish headed out towards deep water. I let the fish tow me around, that is the best way to tire out a carp from a kayak. The fish pulled me in a big ark from where I hooked it. I ended up about 200 yard from where I started. After a lot of hard work I got the fish up and made my way to the shore. Another perfect common, a hint of ghost in its coloration, about 10 lbs and perfect for giving the new rod a good workout.
This morning was a stellar morning for fly carpin'. Conditions were excellent and there were fish all over the place. In fact the first of two fish I caught came from the first place I stopped. There were three fish bubbling away. I tied on a modified Carp Carrot and presented it to two of the fish with no response. The third fish ate. It was a fun fight on the new rod but nothing special. It was a nice fish though! Not big by any means, but strong and healthy.
To get a fish right off the bat like that is excellent. It takes off a big pile of stress and makes it easier to focus on the game. I knew I was getting another fish today. It was just not an option. It took a little longer than I would have hoped though... eventually I found a few fish feeding intently over a slightly weedy bottom. After having two of them ignore the fly a third fish showed up and ate my un-modified Carp Carrot without hesitation. When I set the hook the fish went mad. It whirled around quickly and headed out fast, making a crazy wake. It ripped the remaining fly line off the reel in about five seconds. This carp ran out into deep water at about a 45 degree angle to the shoreline, paused for a moment, came up to the surface, then ran again making another impressive wake going parallel to the shore. It went so quickly the line wasn't able to catch up, and so made a big curve that pulled out straight only when the fish stopped some 100 yards away and I began putting the muscle on him. I was concerned it would try to make a break for one of the docks that were pretty much between it and myself. My line was actually plastered against the end of the closest plastic floating dock for a few minutes until the fish very politely worked its way out away from the shore. Because the initial run had been so fast and long it only took a little bit of work to get the fish to give up. The first black and white photo is of this fish and the obsessed crazy freak that ruined its breakfast.
I need help.