Carp have been giving me the slip lately, big time. It's not them either, it's me. It's usually blamable on their neurotic behavior. Not this time. And today I got all pissed off.
Last night presented great conditions. It was the calm after the storm, the remnants of Florence had passed through with a little tiny bit of wind and a fair amount of rain and thunderstorms. Things were primed for a good backwater bite. I got to my spot, saw a bubbler, made a less then optimal cast in its vicinity, and was taken aback when the fish actually ate. It's important to note that I had left home with the rod already rigged. I had no clue what shape my tippet was in from the last time I had used it, but I was happy with the fly that was already on there so I wasted no time and just took it off the hook keeper and made the cast at that fish.
Do not follow my lead! That fish broke me off with minimal pressure and I was left standing on the bank cursing my own stupidity. I went over to the other side of the bridge and found a big tailing fish, a perfect target. My first presentation was much too far ahead of her. I overcompensated for the next one and lined her, spooking her hard. a little further up the creek another fish was working. I tried to be more careful this time, worked out what I thought would be a good angle. I didn't give it enough time and cast over the fish's back, something I know not to do. When the fish tailed up I though it had eaten and set the hook. Two chaotic seconds later I was standing there staring at a big golden scale on my hook point, a clear sign that the fish was foul hooked and hadn't actually eaten. Strike three. I was out. Realistically I should have gotten all three of those fish, they were practically begging to be caught.
I hoped to redeem my game this morning. Given how beautiful it was out last night I expected near perfect conditions. When I stepped outside just before sunrise I discovered the I uttered an unfortunate question: "what the ____ happened?"
There was a persistent northerly wind. My options were going to be very, very limited. When I got to the first of two places I'd have a realistic shot in, I found a big girl feeding with most of her back out of the water. I was pretty gun shy from the previous night's calamities, and that was my downfall with this prime target. I didn't want to line her like I did the two fish before, so I erred too far outside her dinner plate. I snagged up on a branch after 10 casts that were really sheepish, stand offish, and lame. The fish spooked and I didn't get another shot there or anywhere else.
I used to be really good at this. Not to toot my own horn, but up until last summer I think I could go head to head with some of the best fly carpers out there and at least come up even.What happened? I lost the touch. I stopped exercising the muscle. I haven't fished for the like I used to, and I'm the worse for it. Am I being hard on myself? I don't think so. I know a catch-able carp when I see it, and I know 2016 Rowan would have just torn it up last night and caught three, maybe four big carp. Fall 2018 Rowan just isn't as good at this anymore and needs some practice.
So you know to expect some more funny titles soon. I've got a bunch of music and literature carp puns running through my head that need to be seen.