Saturday, September 24, 2016

Stalking Giants: The Search For Big Carp

 Carp are addicting. It may take some people a lot of work to even consider trying to catch these fish, but once you start there's no turning around. Just in the past month I've watch fellow fly angler Mark turn into a carpaholic. Mark hasn't been playing the carp game long, but he has a knack for finding carp ponds. Friday morning into Friday afternoon we fished eight different carp ponds that he had found, and all but one definitely have carp and the last is a strong maybe.

It did not take us long to find some hungry carp. The second active fish Mark saw ate his fly and took off defiantly and slowly, as though it knew where it wanted to go but wasn't really in much of a hurry. As it turned out, it buried itself in a pile of weeds. The line went dead. Not slack, just solidly in place. Mark and I both thought it was over. We walked around the shore to the place the fish had stopped. I grabbed the line and began pulling it in. At first all I saw was weeds, and it didn't feel at all like the fish was still there. Then I saw some scales. I told Mark the fish was still on and it suddenly came back to life. There was a brief period of give and take before I netted the fish, a true beast in the low to mid twenty pound range! It was not long, really, just extremely heavy! Mark and I were both very excited.

None of the photos I took really did this fish any justice, but I took a short clip that fills in those blanks.

We fished that pond for a little while longer and came back to it later. We saw some more massive carp but neither of us hooked up again there. The second pond we fished is one we visited a few weeks ago, and it too has some large fish. I saw the definite ripples of a feeding carp as we pulled up and made a bee line for that fish. It was feeding in a manor that made it tricky to get my fly to it. This pond has a lot of weed growth right along the edge of the water and this fish had its front half buried in that weed mat. It took some effort to punch my damsel fly nymph though the weeds but once I did I got the fish to eat. I set the hook on intuition only, and fortunately my gut instinct did not let me down.

Though we both ended up hooking more fish during the day, that gorgeous carp was the last either of us would bring to hand. What this day lacked in numbers of fish it more than made up for in quality fish and amazing experiences. The 6th pond we fished is one of the nastiest ponds I have ever seen. It was full of junk and gnarly weed growth and was just plain gross. BUT (and this is a big but) it had some of the craziest carp in it that I have ever seen! Koi, ghost carp, mirror carp, and both super light colored and super dark colored commons. The average size of the fish there was not even half that of the other ponds but there were just so many there, and lots were feeding in the surface film. I have to say it was one of the coolest carp ponds I've ever seen.

We stopped at two other more scenic ponds that had lots of big carp showing, and although I thought for sure one of us was going to hook a carp in the last pond, it just didn't happen.


  1. NICE, and we know Mark is hooked on Carp.
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...