It sometimes bugs me when I get a carp right out of the gate at the Bell Pond. It really is a one carp spot, so getting a fish right off the bat can be a bummer especially when its a little one. This morning when the rain stopped there wasn't much wind so I hit the flat. This was the most straight forward a carp tak can possibly get: I spotted a fish bubbling well within casting range and new very quickly which direction it was going. I put the black woolly bugger on 2x in front of it with a drag and drop presentation and watched the line straighten out when the fish took. I lifted the rod and without the slightest hesitation the fish ran and ran fast. Right under the surface too, making a huge wake. It went maybe 200 feet and began thrashing around at the surface. That was when I realized it was a decent fish. The head shakes felt massive. Even though the water has warmed up a lot and this fish had plenty of room to run that first 200 feet was diagonal to me and just barely got into the backing. Once again I was in for the long haul, made longer because of heavy currant from the inflow stream. 15 minutes of give and take and give and take and give and take later, I made the first attempt to tail the fish. and as is often the case it reacted violently. About 3 minutes and 2 attempts later I had him. Were this fish a female it would have probably been nearing the 30 lb mark given the tendency for females to get extremely thick this time of year, but this fish was a male, still heavy and easily over 20lbs, but more long and thin than a female. I was pretty happy as this was one of the few really old males in the pond. There are/were less than 10 fish bigger than it, two of which I have caught. Four are friggen beasts for a pond this size, over 28lbs, and one still owes me a new fly line....
One more knocked off the big fish list, and this one is a beautiful one. Only a few flaws and they don't really detract from the overall quality of the fish. Big, healthy, beautiful common carp. Awesome.
I took some time to admire and photograph the fish and got it back into the pond. I had to take four shots of me holding the fish to get some quality ones, which is often the case when the fish is very lively, so I figure I should give some tips on carp handling. Without a mat or net it is best not to lay the fish out on rocks, gravel, or dry ground. I handle the fish in at least 5 inches of water, try to keep it upright, and only hold it out of the water for 10 seconds at a time. That's why my fish go back so happy!
Before I went this morning I really struggled to decide what to go for. Glad I chose carp, that was a fun fish. Big enough to be worth getting right off the bat too.