Saturday, June 24, 2017

Marauding Thieves

Thinking back, I've lost far more gear to common carp than any other species of fish. One spinning rod, numerous hair and bolt rigs, three fly rods, one entire fly line, a few whole leaders, and more than two boxes worth of flies. Yesterday morning  lost some more gear and caught a few fish. The spawn was in progress, which means there are lots and lots of carp around that simply can't be caught. However, there are often just as many that can be caught. Watching most fish spawn can be very peaceful. Trout, salmon, or char working a redd, sunfish gently swimming around their nests and dancing with their mates, lamprey moving rocks with their mouths.... Carp, on the other hand... I would not want to be a female common carp. The carp spawn can only be described as a violent orgy. It's loud, it stinks, and the water is churned to a froth by tons of large powerful fish. Oftentimes scales and blood are as frequent as fertilized eggs along the rocks.

What never makes sense to me is the number of carp that actually come in behind the spawners to eat their eggs. It is illogical from an evolutionary standpoint. But they seem to be doing fine and are unquestionably doing some damage in certain places because of their prolific nature, and frankly the ones that are egg eating are some of the most fun carp to fish to. I won't argue with their species deprecation tendencies if it means good fishing!

The best fly for me during the spawn, especially for egg eaters, has been a frenchie with a shrimp pink collar. Unfortunately using small frenchies forces me to use extra light tippets, often times 6x and sometimes even 7x when I'm using a sz. 18. So... I had a lot of flies stolen right of the tippet on the first headshake. So many were stolen that my carp box literally ran out of frenchies! At that point I started to juggle other patterns on heavier tippets. That's when I got the first line taker. It was a 10-11 pound male. It ran parralel to the shore and under a dock, then made a hard right turn on the other side. I thought to myself, " I'll just go down and dirty with a shallow rod angle and button down and stop him like I did with that 34 inch striper earlier this spring". I could feel the line slipping along one of the smooth poles on the dock and see the fish making ridiculous short runs on the other side. I buttoned down, turned the rod, and the fish beat the piss out of me. The line dug into my finger and the reel handle rapped my knuckles. I had the drag so tight if I had the rod at a high angle it would have exploded to bits. Since it was a low angle, my 1x tippet exploded. 
More stuff stolen by the marauding carp.

Eventually I stuck one and it wasn't a thief. 

That fish fell to a dragonfly nymph; the next one, a little bit bigger and a lot harder fighting, took a carp carrot. Both takes were the clear, demonstrative, almost aggressive kind. The second one gave me a battle I won't soon forget, but I'd rather keep the details to myself. 


  1. Yea, they can be tough on your gear, but worth the effort. On the positive side this gives you a chance to update you rods and gear.
    Love the peaceful water snake!
    Tie, fish, write and photo on...