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Old 04-29-2012, 09:39 PM
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brookfieldangler brookfieldangler is offline
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Location: Chicagoland
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Default Mission - Catch first carp on the fly

*originally posted on my personal blog

Status: Complete

Mission details:
April 29, 2012 – 11:30 am to 3:30pm
My latest obsession has been to catch a carp on the fly. Up until this morning, I had spent hours researching and tying flies, but not catching. The last time that I went out, I was fishing a spot with a ton of carp, but just wasn’t able to hook up. After that trip, I got in touch with carp on the fly angler and blogger, Trevor, over at Fly Carpin. After describing my failures with him, he gave me a few suggestions that I was eager to put to the test.

The first thing he told me was to try a different fly for the type of water I was fishing. That fly is called the backstabber and his suggested color was a black/olive combo. With that, I headed out to the store to pick up some materials and tied a few up.

After breakfast this morning, it was time to put his advice into action. I went to a different spot that I know has a large population of carp that tend to hang there from spring until late fall. This was my first trip there this year so I wasn’t sure if they had moved in yet. Luckily, my uncertainty only lasted a few minutes before I saw several carp cruising the shallows. I slowly waded into a position that would allow me decent casting room and the largest available area to target.

At first, I was basically blind casting. My retrieve was a single quick strip followed by a long pause. Within a few minutes, I felt my first tug on the next strip after the pause and set the hook. It was pretty easy to figure out the fish wasn’t a carp and I quickly brought in a nice little sunfish.

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Sunfish

Just a few casts later, it was fish on again. This fish felt bigger...could it be? Nope – instead a nice pound or so river bass came to hand. I snapped a quick picture and went back to casting.

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A pound or so bass

After several more casts, I found myself fighting another bass that turned out to be a bit bigger and even scrappier.

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a bit bigger....

After I released that bass, I was checking my leader and knot when I saw a golden bullet cruising about ten feet from me and he looked like he was on the hunt. I flicked the fly out there and it landed about six inches from his face. Trevor had told me that if you get a fly close to a carp, pay attention to the gills because they are like vacuums and can suck in a fly from quite a distance. Sure enough, I watched this carp’s gills open up and suck in my fly. I set the hook and instantly knew it was game on! Within ten seconds I had just watched thirty feet of line scream off of my reel. I laughed in excitement as this fish raced towards deeper water. I could feel every thump of his tail resonate through the nine foot fly rod.

This was it…it was happening; my first “freshwater bonefish” and holy **** was it living up to its reputation!!! After a few minutes, I started to gain some ground and then realized that I needed to find a good spot to land this thing. After a quick scan of the shore, I found my spot and started working my way over there. Five minutes after it had started, I landed my first carp on the fly. I set up my camera, snapped a picture, and let the beast go.

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First carp on the fly! What a rush!!

I let out a big, "YEAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!" and tied on a fresh leader. Now that I had one, I wanted more! I started casting and quickly landed a few more bass.

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Little feller

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A solid 3lb'er and full of eggs (Ken G style picture)

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Another nice bass

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Also full of eggs

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Final bass of the day!

After the fifth bass, I decided to move a bit more downstream to find some fresh targets. As I stalked the bank, I spotted another carp cruising. I laid out a nice cast and saw him turn towards the fly. I waited a few seconds for him to suck it up and set the hook – FISH ON!!!!!!!!!!! Once again the reel was screaming and I was giggling. All of a sudden, it stopped and started racing right back at me. I did my best to keep up but I just wasn’t fast enough and he managed to spit the hook.

I regrouped and saw a big carp jumping in the same area about fifty yards upstream. I quickly made my way closer and started casting. On the fourth or fifth attempt, I felt some weight when I stripped the line, set the hook, and went to battle with the third carp!

This fish felt massive and it was peeling line quicker than any fish thus far! I looked down at my watch and noted the time of 3:18. Around 3:23, I had to switch hands because my wrist was burning! After a minute of shaking it off, I switched hands again and started reeling this thing in. It got about ten feet away and I got my first glimpse – this fish was massive. I started pulling him towards the shallow flat and apparently he did not like that because almost as soon as his belly touched the shallow river bottom, he took off. Once again, the drag was screaming and all of a sudden, the fly came shooting back at me!!!!!!!

SON OF A BEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After eight solid minutes of fighting, I had just lost a monster. I took a minute to collect myself, inspected the fly and instantly regretted not tying this fly on the recommended Gamakatsu SL45 bonefish hook. Instead I opted for a cheaper hook that just wasn’t up to the task.That decision cost me a huge fish. Lesson learned.

At that moment, I decided to call it a day and started the trek through the woods back to the truck. I reflected on the day as I walked and could do nothing but smile.What an awesome day.

Fish count for the day:
1 bluegill
7 largemouth
1 for 3 carp

Hell freaking yeah!
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