Saturday, July 24, 2021

Gorilla Dry Fly Fishing for Carp

 Sometimes there's plenty of room to make a long, beautiful fly cast and present to a visibly feeding fish. Those moments can be glorious. Oftentimes though, my fishing is more akin to gorilla warfare. I have to put on a stalk in heavy brush and make short, difficult casts in very tight quarters. This can be viewed in a few ways. Some may look at it as a strategically complex, skillful expression of angling prowess. 

I look at it, at least when I do it, as a boneheaded refusal to let hard to reach, easy to spook fish go about feeding without being harassed. There are some fish I will happily let be. I'm happy to leave some brook trout alone, and schoolie stripers are allowed free passage more often than not. Shallow feeding carp though are fish I refuse to let rest. I either spook them or I jam a bit of metal into their mouth. Such was the case on a recent jaunt over in berryville. I had plenty of easy shots and many fish to hand already- in fact it was a phenomenal day of fishing. 

Huge tail on this one, and nearly flawless.

Every fish was on the dry and every fish was a mirror. This is precisely what I've come to expect at this locale. But then I spotted this one fish, clearly a common, rooting vigorously in the gravel. She was a prime target... she was also behind a thick wall of Japanese knotweed. I'd have to insert myself into the weeds and present the fly at rod tip. When I say at rod tip, I mean exactly that- I couldn't cast at all, I'd have to present the fly with less than a foot of tippet outside the rod tip. More like 5 inches, honestly. Doing this sort of presentation was not remotely easy though, as there were loads of vegetation to catch up in. And of course as soon as the fish was on it would be pure chaos. 

Somehow the whole gambit went without error, and I was suddenly basically jumping through a thick wall of weeds right into the water to fight the fish. This reminded me of scenes from a British fishing series Passion for Angling, featuring Chris Yates and Bob James. Most of my readers, being American fly anglers, may not recognize this title. Currently, carp fishing seems to have drifted towards a very systematic but relaxed form. Passion for Angling features some scenes of quite intense stalking. In the episode "Redmire Legends," a carp is stalked and hooked from up in a tree, followed by Chris and Bob jumping out into the pond to land the fish. I felt like I was reenacting that scene to some degree. My little common was not so big as their fish, but a lovely specimen nonetheless. 

With the way I've become obsessed with carp fishing again, I suspect I'll be engaging in plenty more close combat gorilla carp fishing in the near future. It isn't glamorous from the typical angles fly fishing is looked at, where elegant casts and clear, fast flowing rivers are held as the gold standard... but you know what? This is more fun than that. I don't care who says otherwise. I'll forever be grateful to carp, as they were the fish that opened up the world of large, non-traditional fish on the fly. 

Until next time, 

Fish for the love of fish.
Fish for the love of places fish live.
Fish for you.
And stay safe and healthy.

Thank you to my Patrons; Erin, David, John, Elizabeth, Brandon, Christopher, Shawn, Mike, Sara, Leo, C, Franky, Geof, Luke, and Noah for making Connecticut Fly Angler possible. If you want to support this blog, look for the Patreon link at the top of the right side-bar in web version. 

Edited by Cheyenne Terrien

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