After work this evening I decided to head out to a local pond to chase some carp around. I had visited this pond a few weeks back in search of bass (unsuccessfully), and noticed quite a few big and even monstrous cruising around. So, of course, I made a mental note to come back here. I had intended to spend some lazy afternoon bait fishing, but earlier this week I had a stroke of genius. Coop, a friend of a friend of mine, is an avid carp on the fly guy, and on his suggestion I have tried this before and never had any luck.
Carp on the fly is not an easy thing to do. It's a purely sight fishing sport, so you walk around until you spot a carp cruising around within casting distance. Then you have to be extremely stealthy to he doesn't see you, and once you make a cast the fly has to swim within a couple inches of the fish's mouth. Even with all that done, the carp has to see the fly and decide it looks tasty. When all that works out (which is not that often), you then have a 5-30lb feisty fish on the end of your line! That's the fun part, but also an equally hard part.
But anyways, back to my outing. I was out at these local ponds and walked around for about an hour without spotting any carps. I spotted one bass who seemed to be protecting a nest and I watching him circle and circle and circle for a while. But that was the only fish I saw.
Finally I spotted a nice carp cruising in some shallow water very near shore, and lucky for me I saw him before he saw me. Spotting him first was somewhat amazing and extremely fortunate. It was a cloudy day, so even with polarized sunglasses there was a serious haze on the water that made seeing into the water near impossible. But as I walked within sight of him, I was behind a patch of tall weeds. I pulled my sz16 olive wooly bugger out of the rod's cork handle, yanked ten feet of line off the reel, and threw a quick cast past him. As I stripped it back in.....nothing. I pulled the fly up, and with one false cast put it right back in the water a couple feet beyond his mouth. This time as I stripped the fly by him I saw a quick jerk of his body, god save the queen, and SET!
He was hooked and took off! The drag of my reel was way too loose so I tightened it up as he shot away from me. He got about 50 feet away before slowing down. I reeled him back in 15 feet, then he shot back out 15 feet. I reeled him back in 20 feet and he shot back out. I reeled him in more and he ran again. This continued for five or ten minutes before I finally got him in close.
And that was the point where I realized a net would have been handy. Instead I got my shoes and jeans went and walked out into the water a few feet. I fought him for another ten or fifteen minutes to tire him out enough so that I could get a hand on him. With a small grunt I picked him up out of the water to placed him in the grass on shore. I had to toss my rod alongside his body for a little perspective since I didn't have a tape or scale for a measurement. After the fact, my guess is he is around 28", and I have no idea what the weight would be.
Not bad for a first carp on the fly! I think I might have to go back and do this again.
Weight estimates welcomed!