Anyone who has fished with me to any extent knows that I am a total carp geek. I did the European thing for a while, made my own boilies and ground bait and learned how to tie bolt rigs and hair rigs... I never got to the level of some carpers with their bite alarms and rod holders and the many five gallon buckets full of ground bait, but I was into it and I caught some nice carp on bait and spinning rods. Then three years ago I quite the spinning game entirely and started to hone my fly carpin' skills. The first carp I ever caught was on the fly, and every carp I caught on bait after that only made me want to catch more on the fly. I could go over exactly why I love carp fishing in the same way I have for SO many posts on this blog but instead I'll tell you about today, because I've never caught more than two in an outing and today I got four, and they were all stunning specimens!
Today was the perfect day for me to break that rather pesky two fish day limit so I set out with the goal of catching four. The wind would be calm until well after noon. Glassy lake surfaces mean excellent carping, and the cool night time temperatures increase the chances that carp will remain active well into the afternoon. I got an early start, both to the fishing and the catching. The first carp I put the fly in front of ate and took of in a hurry with line in tow. It wasn't a big fish but still very strong and it would not let me tail it... It took longer to land than many larger carp I've caught. One down, three to go.
The next fish I put the fly in front of may or may not have eaten... the line twitched a bit so I set the hook but only spooked the fish. The next few fish I spotted did not result in good shots, but eventually I found one that was bubbling away in three feet of water. I could tell it was a big fish. The big ones make a massive bubble patch. It is sometimes hard to tell whether or not it is a turtle. But this was not a turtle. I downsized to 15 lb backing recently so I would be ready for any opportunities at albies. I have 200 yards of backing on that spool and that fish melted it away like nothing. I felt under armed with my 8 wt. I probably should have buttoned down the drag more. This time of year there are lots of heavy weeds and I suspect that was my downfall with this fish. Unfortunately it broke off mid run. I ended up loosing a second giant a little while later that popped off 15 feet in front of me.
The second fish I caught was very generous. I missed it on the first go and it spooked, but came right back a minute later and this time I stuck it. Into the backing it went!
And then it was time to head out on the kayak. I was actually surprised with how long it took me to find active fish. But once I did... it was on! I found a few fish feeding in over a sandy bottom with interspersed weeds. They were making tiny sporadic bubble patched. I hooked the second one I saw. I had a hard time getting the kayak beached as the fish didn't really seem to want to leave the my shadow. I had to go where it went for a while. Eventually it tired out and I was able to get it over to a pair of large truck tires someone put in the water for kids to play on. They turned out to be the perfect carp holding pens!
No more than a couple hundred yards down the shore I spotted three carp tailing in a shallow flat. Of course I went for the big one. I cast my fly to to the right and a foot in front of the big one and watched it move over and grab it. I set the hook and the fish dumped into the backing without a second thought. I found a big rock out in about six feet of water to get up on to fight the fish. I was multi tasking: fighting a big fish, trying to keep the kayak from floating off, trying to photograph the fight, and avoiding falling off the rock. It must have been a ridiculous show. It was totally worth it. I ended the outing on a really nice fish. I wish all of my carp outing were as productive! It's all about putting in the time. The more fish I put my fly in front of during the day, the more I catch. That goes for any species.