First Carp on the Fly!
I hit up a local pond for some casting practice with my new fly rods today. After I was done, I decided to actually fish a bit, vs. just throwing a fly out into the water.
Hiking down to the west end of this little pond, near the dam, I wanted to stalk some carp. That's the section I usually fish for them when I bait fish. Usually the water is too nasty to sight fish much past early May. Today wasn't any different. I managed to spook some bruisers who were holding in the lilly pad field right up against the western bank (it's a large, shallow flat covered in lilly pads, and there were fish right up against the bank). I *was* trying to stalk these fish, and dap to them. It seems I left my ninja-skills at home today, as I spooked every one of these fish. I headed back down to the southwest corner, where there's a large opening between the pad field and the bank, where it is only maybe 12-18 inches deep.
The water was really off color as usual, hard to see into. Then some fresh mud plumes caught my eye, and I was able to make out a dark shape against the bottom. HAD to be a carp. I fired my little olive woolly worm out and let it sink.
I missed two strikes on the same cast, almost - but not quite - spooking the fish. I fired a cast over against the edge of the pads, as I'd seen some of them shaking from fish moving through them. I let the fly sink for a little, and then started my retrieve. Almost immediately, there was weight on the line. I set the hook - and was almost half surprised I hadn't hooked into the root of one of the pads. The fish exploded and jumped, then tried making a dash into the pads.
It was all I could do *not* to let him get in there, and this was with a 10' Echo Ion 8 weight. I began cranking like a maniac, trying to get the line on the reel so the fish could fight the drag. A young man fishing near by came over to watch the fight.
Then I made what was to be a karmic mistake - I asked the youngster to get a picture of me and my catch with my phone's camera, as I've been trying for years to get a carp to eat a fly, and I wanted photo proof of my first catch. I brought the fish in and grabbed my leader, as it was only a 2 or 3 lb fish (I've caught way bigger from this pond, but all on spinning rods with bread balls). I hoisted the fish out of the water, and as I went to grab for him, he wiggled and popped free from the barbless hook. He landed right at the water's edge. I dashed for him, hoping to grab him before he could get his bearings. He was faster - and with a "screw you" splash, he shot off into the lily pads.
What a rush though - this is turning out to be a darn good season for me. Today, I catch my first fly caught carp. Last week I caught my first fly caught steelhead (and the first steelhead landed for me in about a decade.) on my 4 weight switch rod while trout fishing.
I hope the season continues with this good trend.
I can't wait to do battle again with some carp. I might have to try some cold water carping this winter if I get too pent up with cabin fever. I am anxiously awaiting spring now though! Bring back the warm weather!