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Monday, December 23, 2013

Lots of Good Information and Some Cool Pictures

Check out Issue #6 of CarpPro Magazine.  Good information supplemented by cool pictures sure makes for a fun read.  Enjoy!



Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lessons from the Carp Lodge: Episode #4--Dragging and Dropping the Fly


At the center of this episode is a demonstration of how to use the drag and drop technique.  It is fun, exciting, and kind of sexy to make a long cast to a tailing carp and see him take the fly.  There are times however, when the water, the sky, or both are cloudy.  And when they are I can't see fish until I am very close to them so I end up dropping the fly in front of them.  It is always fun to catch carp but dropping the fly isn't as glamorous as making long casts.

There are times when the fish is too close to make a cast where I shoot line but too far away to just drop the fly.  In those circumstances I plop the fly out past the fish.  A plop is a short cast or lob where I don't shoot any line.  The fly hits the water first and it makes a plopping sound.  The plop sets up the drag and drop.  After the plop I drag the fly across the water and then drop it either on the carp's dinner plate or in it's path.  It is an extremely effective technique.  There are a good many fish that I would not have caught were it not for the drag and drop technique.  Mastering this technique will increase your hook-ups.

Episode #4 begins with some narration and video showing the joys and frustrations of fly fishing for carp and then finishes with a feeding fish responding to a Chocolate Cherry that has been dragged and dropped in his path.  The fish, the plop, the drag and drop, and the take are all very clear in this video.





Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Long Shot" Video

Erin Block and Jay Zimmerman are in a very cool carp video called Long Shot.  Check it out; you'll like it.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

McTage is a "Cover Boy"!

Wow, take a look at issue 5 of CarpPro magazine.  McTage has his picture on the front.  You know that old saying, "Don't judge a book by it's cover"; well, I don't think it is true for magazines.  Seeing him on the cover tells me that this issue will be good.  It is.  Check it out.

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Soft Porn" Contest Winners

Thanks so much to the people who sent entries for the "soft porn" photo contest!  Entries came from three continents; that was so cool!

I read the guidelines to my wife, Katy.  She looked through the pictures. The first time through she had four favorites.  She looked again and got it down to three.  She stepped away from the computer for a bit and came back.  She got it down to two at that point and suggested we cut the line in half.  One of the things that has helped us stay happily married for 36 years is that I listen and cooperate.  I cut the line.



Okay, fine, I didn't really cut the line.  The rest of the story is true though.  Katy did finally make a choice for first place and second place.  

Second place goes to Randy Skidgel from California.  Congratulations Randy! You have won a Got Backing? T-shirt.  Here is Randy's picture.



I know you are already one of the cool kids in your neighborhood, Randy but this shirt will really cement your image and your status.  Here is the picture that is on the shirt.  What size do you wear?  





First place goes to Tom Schwartz from Oregon.  Congratulations Tom!  You win the new Orvis Hydros Carp line.  I just love the line and I hope you do too.  Here is Tom's picture.  



The line you will receive looks like this, Tom.  See, no cut after all.  


Randy and Tom, please contact me with your mailing addresses.  I will get the prizes shipped promptly.  Thanks again to everyone who entered.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fishing with Travis--A Couple Apex Athletes (The Fish, Not Me)

There is a spot on my river that requires a very long walk to get there and then there is a lot of wading to do once you are there.  I believe I could get there and fish some, but I know I would not make it back to my carpwagon.  Well, at least not on the same day I started anyway.  Come on, I'm not 40, I'm 62, and feeling like I do pretty well all things considered.

My buddy Travis and I fished this water.  Instead of doing all the initial walking, we got there in his boat and I sure appreciated the opportunity.  Never mind that I was injured during the trip; I healed in a couple weeks.  The water is beautiful and VERY carpy.

Here is Travis really leanin' into one!  
(Also notice that he has a new lid that is pretty, dang, fly!)




Travis and I with a couple apex athletes.  



!

The Chocolate Cherry is such a great Carp fly.





Here is a short video clip of a take and the hookset.  Watch how fast a Carp can move when it is motivated.  I was SO lucky that when he got to the trees he turned back out in to the river.  


It was a great day; thanks Travis!

PS There is still time to get your "soft porn" Carp pictures in.  You could win an Orvis Hydros Carp line or a Got Backing? t-shirt.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Contest Update

A couple days ago I made a post about a photo contest.  Two questions have come up in email that I am answering.  First, the fish must be a Common Carp or a Mirror Carp please.  And secondly, yes, I will take entries from other countries.  We already have one from Spain!  Thanks Jorge.  Who knows, that Orvis Hydros Carp line or the Got Backing? t-shirt may be traveling to another continent.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Contest Time

Katy and I became first time grandparents on July 29.  Our oldest son and his wife had twin girls and we are absolutely thrilled!  Suffice it to say I haven't thought too much about blogging these past couple weeks.

Devan and Erin.  Talk about love at first sight...





Well, now, it is time for a contest.  That isn't nearly as exciting as being new grandparents but it is still some exciting, don't you think?

First prize in this contest is a new Orvis Carp line.  Dang I'm liking this line!  You will too.  The more I use it the more I like it.  Second prize is a "Got Backing?" t-shirt.  You can choose your size from S-XXL.  This is some cool swag; yup, pretty darn cool.

Sweet, new Orvis Carp Line




The picture that is on the shirt:



This is a photo contest.  Hero shots with people holding fish are what I think of as "hard porn" fishing pictures.  "Soft porn" fishing pictures are when there is a fish in the picture but there is more to the picture than just "showing it all" so to speak.  "Soft porn" fishing pictures might have part of the fish in the picture.  They might show all of the fish from farther back and give some, or a lot of emphasis to the surroundings. A "soft porn" picture might be a close up of the fish like the picture on the t-shirt.   "Soft porn" fishing pictures give way more room for creativity.  This is a relaxed contest.  I'm not looking for a heavily edited, color saturated picture.  A fun and/or well done "soft porn" picture would be great.  It does have to have at least part of a Carp in it.  Entries must be received by August 31, 2013.  My wife will pick the winners.  If she asks for help from someone else, well, that's her choice.  I'm going with whatever she picks.

Guidelines for entry in the contest:

1.  Like us on Facebook.

2.  Share a link to this contest on your Facebook page.

3.  Email me a "soft porn" picture that you have taken with at least part of a Carp in the picture.  Email me at mrp1011@gmail.com

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Three Rivers Carp Tournament



I just received notification of this this Carp tournament in Tennessee. I wish I lived anywhere near this.  It sounds like a great time. People are coming from France?  Wow!  

"Don’t miss out on the fun, the bragging rights, the great prizes, and the chance to hook the biggest, ugliest fish you’ve ever caught on the fly at the 3 Rivers Carp Cup in Knoxville, TN.

This year’s 3 Rivers Carp Cup (3RCC) is to be held on Saturday, August 17th on the French Broad, Holston, and Tennessee Rivers located throughout the greater Knoxville area. The 3 Rivers Carp Cup is a one day fly fishing only tournament to benefit the Legacy Parks Foundation (http://www.legacyparks.org/). Legacy Parks Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which works to assure that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come. One of the primary areas of focus of Legacy Parks is to maintain the health of and access to our local waterways.  Knoxville's history and growth is tied to our waterways and our rivers continue to define much of our region.  The 3RCC is a fundraiser to support the continued development of recreational opportunities along the Holston and French Broad Rivers located below Cherokee and Douglas Dams respectively.  At present, access along the French Broad Blueway is adequate but incomplete while public access along the Holston River is extremely limited and as a result this unique outdoor asset is currently underutilized by a variety of users.  All proceeds from the 3 Rivers Carp Cup will go to support increased access opportunities on both rivers for a variety of users including fishermen, recreational paddlers, and wildlife enthusiasts.

The 3RCC allows anglers to fish for the elusive carp along some of East Tennessee’s most scenic waterways. The carp may be the most difficult fish to take on a fly and provides real challenges to the fly angler. Last year’s tournament saw 44 anglers from all over the United States chasing carp in support of the Legacy Parks Foundation. The momentum and enthusiasm for the 3 Rivers Carp Cup is building and we expect to have an even larger contention this year with participation from as far away as France."


·         Registration Fee: $50 (includes an official Carp Cup fishing shirt, drinks, and hors d’oevres.
·         Dates: Meet and Greet: August 16, 2013 6-8pm. Tournament: August 17, 2013, 8am-6pm.
·         For more information visit 3riverscarpcup.com
·         To register call Allen Gillespie (3RCC Tournament Director) at 865-200-5271 or email: allen@3riversangler.com.




Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Contest Coming Soon to A Blog Near You

My blog, formerly known as Mr. P.'s Blog, is getting a name change.  I'm going with "Got Backing?"   To celebrate the name change I'm going to have a contest.  I'm still thinking about the rules but it is going to be a photo contest.  One of the prizes will be the new Orvis carp line.  Is that cool or what?!  Some lucky guy or gal will get to fish this state of the art fly line.  

Details will come out sometime next week.  






The new Orvis Carp Line






Saturday, July 13, 2013

New Orvis Carp Line

Awhile back Orvis sent me a prototype Carp fly line.  I have used it a bunch of  times on two very different bodies of water.  I am very pleased with it!  I have fished it on the Columbia River and on some still water.  I like it a lot in both venues.  Given the settings and the different conditions, I had a chance to fish the line at different distances and with very different amounts of wind.  

Most of the Carp I target are 25-40 feet away.  I make some 50-60 foot casts but that is not the norm.  I know many of us would like to think we are casting 70 to 80 feet to tailing Carp but I don't really think it happens that much; it certainly doesn't for me.   I feel that this line performs the best in that primary target zone.  It may not perform as well as my other lines on the longer casts but that hardly matters to me.  For the vast majority of the casts I was making the Orvis line performs better.  It seems to load the rod better.  If this line goes into production, yes, I would definitely fish it and feel very good about it.

I would add that some of the time I am fishing in calm weather.  There is usually some wind when I fish for Carp and sometimes there is a lot of wind.  I felt the line performed better in the wind that my other lines.  I had lots of opportunity to test that.   Since I am usually fishing in the wind this is a plus for me.  

The prototype line has a gray head and white running line.  I don't care for the color of the head.  I visually detect virtually all takes from Carp.  Most of the time that is from movement of the fish.  Sometimes, in deeper water that has that has the surface seriously disturbed by the wind, I detect the take in part from line movement.  I felt the gray line was a little harder to see than a sage or olive colored head.  If this line goes into production I would also suggest something that may be minor "heresy".  It certainly isn't the norm for a fly line and I recognize that all gear has to catch fisherman before it catches fish.  I'm thinking they might add a small section of red at the end of the head?  Just 12 inches.  When it is windy and the fish are more difficult to see, line movement would be easier to detect with a bit of red in the line as opposed to just the gray.  I look at the fish after I have cast, not the line.  I have taken a lot of video of takes and it is interesting to me to watch my video and see the line move slightly when the fish takes the fly even though I don't feel the take.  In watching the video it seems that  a very short red section would help detect takes when it is difficult to see the fish move.  


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Guest Post by Julie Gilbert

Julie Gilbert contacted me about doing a guest post.  Here is her article.  Thanks Julie.  

Fishing- A Bonding Exercise?

If you’re hosting a corporate event or day out with your employees this year, have you considered taking your team fishing? Corporate events are all about team-building, and fishing is a great outdoor event that can be enjoyable for all members of any team, whilst also promoting a little friendly competition! Fishing is a cost effective sport and well worth the money for the banter and fun that would be had on the water. It definitely makes a change from many other corporate events your team may have been to in the past, and it can be suitable for people with a wide range of fishing experience from novice to expert! With the right weather conditions, a day of fishing could be a very unique, enjoyable and interesting way to help your team bond!

Corporate Packages


The Orvis Company offers fly fishing trips in many parts of the United States along with trips to Europe, South America, and Africa.  They can help your dreams come true.  Many fishing companies offer corporate packages specifically tailored to your requirements. The Great River Fishing company in British Columbia arranges a day of fishing led by professional and experienced guides and jet boats to speed off down the river in. Start and end times, as well as the length of the trip, are all very flexible so can be easily arranged to suit your event and all fishing equipment is supplied. Lunch and refreshments are provided for a small cost and prices and quotes are available on request. Deep Sea Fishing Charters located in Miami Beach offers a similar package with a custom built trip to suit your targets and overall aims for the experience. Again they include all the fishing tackle you will need, the day is led by professionals who will teach you how to catch the biggest and best fish and they also supply food at an extra cost. They offer trips for over 20 people per boat, so plenty of room if you have a larger team! They are based 10 minutes away from the Gulf Stream where they do all of their fishing.

Friendly Competition

There is always going to be plenty of natural competition in today’s corporate world and this event could be no exception! Creating an element of some healthy competition between members of your team can give people who don’t usually mix a reason to spend time with each other! At the same time it can also continue to build and improve relationships with people they already know. There is also ample opportunity for valuable one to one ‘face time’ and the excitement of the sport and setting is ideal for honing working and personal relationships. Competitions and tournaments can be arranged between small groups, or if there is a large team, perhaps two or three teams could be spread between a couple of boats! The day could then culminate in a ‘Catch of the Day’ award, with a small prize given to the winner of the competition. Hopefully everybody will leave having caught fish to be proud of, but for this award there can only be one winner!

Learn A New Skill

One of the additional benefits to a fishing team building day is members of your team who had previously not had experience in this sport learning the rudiments of a new skill! The excitement and satisfaction of catching your own fish is a great feeling and infectious within a group, encouraging interaction with all members of the team throughout the day. For beginners, the importance of encouragement and support from fellow team members is crucial to building their confidence in their new skills. This is another way that your team will be able to improve their relationships with each other, and is something that is transferable directly to your work place environment.

A Bonding Exercise

Of course, it isn’t only corporate teams that can reap the benefits of a fun day of fishing. Fishing can be a great bonding sport, as it brings like-minded people together and is a great chance for families and friends to swap stories, techniques and experiences in a relaxed, natural environment. Being outside on the river encourages activity and a healthier way of living, as does eating the fish you catch, which are high in protein and low in fat. Fishing is a fulfilling activity for many people, as it can be quite a meditative sport at times but it can then suddenly become an exciting trip out with your friends, and it really is something that can be enjoyed at any age. 



Saturday, July 6, 2013

Complimentary Liver Pate and Fruit Spritzer from Orvis

Leland Miyawaki from Bellevue Orvis makes a smooth, creamy, duck liver pate.  Most people don't this about him.   He serves it spread on little crackers.  I'm told it is delightful.  How wonderful.  Jason Cotta, also of Bellevue Orvis, prepares a  refreshing fruit spritzer for which he is becoming well known on the Internet.  On a hot evening Jason's spritzer is a wonderful complement to Leland's duck liver pate.  Jason also makes a tasty gelato; it is light and delicate, perfect for an after dinner refreshment.  For those who wish to partake, Leland will be serving (small) glasses of his favorite white wine also.  People will be lined up for a block just to taste Leland's liver pate and Jason's spritzer.  You might like to come and give it all a try this coming Thursday at 6:00 PM. It's free; compliments of Orvis.   Dress is cocktail casual.

If you are still reading I will be doing my Carp on the Fly video seminar at Bellevue Orvis at 6:00 PM on Thursday, July 11.  The store will be closed during the seminar so it is okay to serve alcohol.  There is no liver pate, no spritzer, no wine and no gelato.  There is going to be pizza and beer though!  If you thought all that other stuff sounded good, I don't know what to say to you.  If it sounded bad to you then come to Orvis; you'll fit right in.  We're gonna have a good time!   Oh, and wear whatever the heck you feel like.




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Some Fish are Just More Fun Than Others

On Sunday, Katy and I arrived at the Carp Lodge.  Just for clarity, she doesn't usually call the house  the Carp Lodge--big surprise, I know.

After we unpacked I drove a short distance to a spot on the river and fished for about 90 minutes; I actually got a nice fish.  I caught it dropping the fly right in front of him.  He moved a little and sucked in the fly.  While it is "up close and personal" I just don't enjoy dropping the fly as much as I enjoy casting it.  Casting to fish I can see is the best; plain and simply it's the best.

Yesterday the predicted heat was a bit intimidating for this older middle age guy.  It ended up being 109.  The Columbia is a cold river so wading in it feels very good on a hot day.  Getting out to walk the shoreline, well that feels pretty hot and sweaty.  I drank a quart of water before I left the Carp Lodge, I drank 8 ounces when I got to the river, I drank the quart I was carrying while I was fishing, I drank another pint when I got back to my truck.  It was bloody hot.

The section of the river I fished yesterday will always be one of my enduring favorite spots.  I walked through the first section fairly quickly.  Partly because I wasn't seeing a lot of fish but even if I had been seeing lots of tailers I was already resolved to move to the second part, the rocky section, before I was tired since that is where I am likely to see bigger fish.  I was glad I did.

I was rewarded by some apex athletes as well as a few 8-9 pound fish.  John Montana coined the term "apex athletes" for Carp that are 16-18 pounds.  It's perfect.  Pound for pound they are the best.  A fish that is over 20 pounds makes a great picture but I swear a 22 pound fish doesn't usually fight as well as a 17 pound fish.

There was no dropping flies today; it was all casting, just how I like it.  I had to sit down on a log a few times and rest but I fished all of this particular piece of water.  It is a hell of a lot of walking.  I won't be able to do it someday.  For now, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity.

This fish weighed 17 1/2 pounds.  In the end what I really remember is that I saw him take the fly, I set the hook, and he put up a dogged, persistent fight--truly an apex athlete.




I had the video camera on for some of my casts and I got a few takes recorded.  







Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ray-Ray's Always Delivers

Katy and I got to the Carp Lodge late this afternoon.  There is a spot very near here that I have caught good numbers of Carp.  The first time I went there I met a guy who called himself, "Ray-Ray".  Since then I have called the spot, "Ray-Ray's" or just Ray's for short.  With one exception, I have never been skunked there.  Ray-Ray's is a "high water" spot only.  If the river isn't high then there is no water.  The one exception is just that; when there is no water there are no fish.  When I drive to the spot if there is no water I just leave; I don't fish the surrounding area.  I have been there twice this spring; both times there was no water.  I just turned around and drove away.

After we unpacked I thought I would make a quick drive to Ray's to see if there was any water.  Well there was water, which meant there would be fish, but since it was past the spring the grasses, weeds, and sage had grown up.  There were some marvelous Carp moving through all the weeds but I couldn't cast for them because the fly would snag long before it got to the bottom.  Dang it!  I moved very slowly and tried to drop flies in front of a few fish.  Compared to casting I don't actually enjoying dropping flies very much at all but I only had about 90 minutes to fish so dropping was just fine.

I did manage to catch one Carp.  I dropped a Black Betty in front of him.  He didn't have to move far to pick it up.  This single Carp enabled me to keep saying, "I've always caught fish at Ray-Ray's."  (As long as there is water.)  He was just under 14 pounds.




Sunday, June 23, 2013

What is the Opposite of a Target Rich Environment? (Complete with Stop Action Video)

In my last post I talked about getting numerous takes on video.  That post was for a session on Thursday, June 6.   The next day, Friday, June 7, I went to the river and got 10 takes on video.  I had a couple other takes where the camera was not on.  Several of the fish were in the teens, I could see the takes, it was a wonderful day of Carp fishing.  

Here is a video of one of those takes:

.

Yesterday I went out and fished exactly the same water I had fished two weeks ago.  You know, the water where I got 10 takes on video.  Yesterday, conditions seemed like they would be perfect.  The sky was blue, there was only light wind and the water was clear.  Hell yes!  I was thinking, "Today I'm going to get 15 takes on video!"   There was was just one problem with my big plans.   I just wasn't seeing any fish.  I was not in a target rich environment; I was in a target poor environment or probably more accurately a target void environment.  In almost 6 hours of wading I saw a grand total of 2 tailing fish.   How can that happen to me?  I'm such a nice guy. It seems so unfair.  Where did the Carp go? I thought we had a date. I was so looking forward to our time together.  Worse than only seeing two tailing fish was that neither one of them wanted my fly.

Here is some stop action video of sorts of those two Carp and me fishing for them.

In this first frame you can clearly see a tailing fish.  Quite a nice one at that.  





In this next frame you see that I have cast my fly and that it is now on the Carp's dinner plate.



In this last frame of the video you can see the Carp swimming away and airing his opinion of my fly.  

After you have looked at the stop action frames and read the captions, go back and scroll through it quickly and then you will be able to see the video effect.

It gets too easy to take a target rich environment and lots of hook ups for granted.  Yesterday, it just didn't happen for me.  At least my arms weren't tired from casting and reeling in fish.  I'm sure glad that wasn't my last trip of the summer.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Counting Fish Can Be Like Weighing Fish

What is a "full day" of fishing?

I'm 62 years old; I'm in good shape but that has to be qualified with saying that I didn't start out with a Russell Wilson, Lebron James, Michael Jordan sort of body.  There was a time when I could fish for 10 or 12 hours.  I can fish for 8 hours now but only if I'm in my boat.  Six to seven hours is about as much as I want to do when I am wading for Carp.  When I am catching a lot of fish during one of these longer sessions I think I may get a little fuzzy on just how many I actually caught.  It's all good; I feel incredibly blessed.

Committing myself to getting video of "the take" this year has been intimidating.  I fished a couple Wednesdays ago and posted a report about it.  I kind of eased into recording again by carrying the camera on Wednesday but not turning it on.  I fished the next day, Thursday, and had the video camera going most of the session.  In the interest of fairness and full disclosure I was in a target rich environment most of the day.  There is no other way to catch a lot of Carp on the fly.  To catch a lot of fish there has to be a lot of fish available.  Period.

I only saw a couple fish the first half hour.  I moved down the reservoir and then I started seeing a heck of a lot of fish.  When I spooked the fish near me I didn't have to move far to find more.  If I changed my tippet they came and found me.  I got a lot of shots on this day.

There is a lot of discussion or even overt criticism in the blogosphere about estimating the weight of Carp.  Nothing settles how much a Carp weighs like a scale does.

If I catch 4 or 5 fish in a session it is easy to remember how many I caught; heck I can even remember each individual fish.  When I start to catch a lot of fish and I'm not focused on counting, by the end of the day it is  an estimate of how many I caught.  I really think I'm a pretty good estimator of how many fish I have caught in a day.

This day I worked hard to get video of "the take".  I had the camera on for most of my casts.  When the day was over I felt I had the camera off during four takes.  I estimated that I had recorded about 12 takes making a total of about 16 fish.  When I got back to the Carp Lodge and went through the videos of the take I realized I had recorded 16 of them.  Add the four or five I didn't have the camera on for and I was up to 20 fish.

It turns out recording the takes is like weighing fish.  It sure settles how many I got.  By no means am I saying I always underestimate my numbers but I will say I was surprised to be so far off on my estimate.  Heck, maybe I've caught way more Carp these last 10 years than I thought I had.  Maybe I have had 20% more fun than I realized I did.  But wait, what if I have overestimated some days?  Hell, it probably all evens out and I have had exactly as much fun as I thought I have had.  What a relief.

It was simply a wonderful day of Carp fishing.  The sky was clear, there was only light wind, and there were Carp visible.  Oh, and they took Black Betty like it was some of the best grub they had seen in days.

Here is a video of one of the takes from that day.  Damn, I love Carp fishing!



Friday, June 14, 2013

Back to Taking Video--Day One

When I was a teacher I prepared and gave some motivational speeches; a lot of them actually.  When I was writing them and practicing the delivery I was immersed; well more like consumed.  I wrote many that took over 30 minutes to deliver and I had them memorized.  I was very, very intense about it all.  I would be so terribly nervous before some of the deliveries that I was gagging.  The only way I could get through doing the speech was to promise myself I would never do it again.  In a certain way I didn't like doing it.  I know that sounds awful because I loved the kids I was speaking to and I told them so with heart felt sincerity, and as I said, a lot of intensity.  In the days leading up to those speeches I would say to Katy over and over, "I'm really looking forward to this but I'm looking forward to it being over even more.  It sounds like such a contradiction, I loved doing it but I didn't always enjoy it.  I enjoyed it the most when after I had done it.

My real estate schedule now is such that I work 10 to 20 days in a row and then try to take a few days off when I can.  For now, it's actually working pretty well for me.  I like that the best days for me to take time off are in the middle of the week.  Having the cell phone and bringing my laptop to the Carp Lodge enables me to "take time off".  It means I just work less than I would if I was home.  I'm not complaining; actually I'm having a great time.

The Carp Lodge is about three hours from home; the Carp Lodge is home when I'm there and I feel like I could stay there all summer when I get there, but alas, reality does call so spending a few days there is wonderful.

I got three days of fishing in last week.  I arrived at the Carp Lodge late Wednesday morning, returned some calls, emailed, and set up a contract response.  Okay, it was lunch time when I started fishing, but I was fishing, and for that I am darn grateful.  I put five fish in the net on what was simply a perfect day for Carp fishing.  The sky was blue, the water mostly clear, there was just a slight wind, and it was in the 90's.  Yes!  Wading is wading but there is something more "involved" about wet wading the river versus wearing chest waders.  It's the best.  The cool water feels good on a hot day.  It is just more personal; when I am wet wading I am truly in the river.

In 2010 I started taking video of my Carp fishing.  Most of it was bad until the end of the season when I figured out how to do it.  In 2011 I got hours of at least acceptable footage with some of it being pretty good.  Going through it all, labeling it, and categorizing it got tiresome after awhile and oppressive by the end of the season.  I liked that I had done it but wasn't enjoying doing it.  When I was a teacher, writing, practicing, and delivering speeches was way more important to me than taking video is now but the experience of enjoying it more when it is done is much the same.

I usually didn't have the video camera with me in 2012 and when I did I often left it off.  At the end of the season I did create the video, "The Best Thing About Fly Fishing for Carp".  For 2013 I have decided that I am going to take video again but only video of "the take".  After all, the take is "The Premier Moment".  Getting that video means I have to take the camera with me and I will have to have it turned on.

On Wednesday I took the camera with me but I never turned it on.  It is a contradiction to be sure; I want to have the video and I enjoy the heck out of it, I want to take the video but I don't actually enjoy doing it at the moment.  I guess I'm easing back into it by just getting used to having the video camera with me again.

Each of the five fish I caught on Wednesday afternoon turned to the Chocolate Cherry; I stuck 'em, and every one of them took off.  Even the smallest one, an eleven pounder, showed me my backing.  Dang I love that!


This fish had one of the widest tails I have seen on a Carp.  I should have taken a picture of it spread out.  He was strong!




I'm really liking the net I got last year.  









Wednesday I didn't take any video.  I told myself that I would get back to it on Thursday with the goal of just recording "the take".  As it turned out I was in for a surprise.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Carp Photo Contest

Orvis, a big supporter of fly fishing for carp, is sponsoring a photo contest.  Over the next 8 weeks they will have the following categories:  biggest, smallest, ugliest, video week, funniest, craziest location, prettiest, best in show.  They will be giving away some great prizes, including a HELIOS 2 OUTFIT for the grand prize winner.  The first category is "biggest".  There are already 17 entries.  Click here to see and vote on  the current entries or to upload your own entry.  

Maybe you caught the slab of your life just recently and you want to enter a picture right now.  Maybe you have cracked the sub one pound mark for a carp and you will take the prize for the smallest carp.  I'm not sure about giving a prize for the prettiest carp since I think all carp are pretty.  Give it a look, check in and vote for fish in the different categories.  You might win a cool prize or you can just enjoy all the pictures.  


Monday, May 27, 2013

Dan Frasier Comes to the Columbia River

This past week Dan Frasier from CarpPro, came to Washington and Oregon to do some Carp fishing with John Montana and I.  I would have connected with them for two days except it was Memorial Day weekend and my kids came to the Carp Lodge to enjoy some family time.    That meant just one day with Dan and John.

Over the past 7 or 8 months, through email and several phone calls, I had gotten to know Dan.  This was our first time meeting face to face; I was really looking forward to it.  The three of us met at 8:00 AM and headed directly to the Columbia River.

Traveling through seven states and a Canadian province, the Columbia is over l,200 miles long and  a mile wide in places; it is a huge river.  Between John and I, we have covered about 290 miles of it.  By that I mean that we have driven up and down that much of the river looking for places to fish.  On the portion of the river that creates the border between Washington and Oregon we have explored and fished both sides.  Anywhere we have parked our trucks we have walked and walked and walked.  We have waded our river a lot searching for Carp!

The morning that Dan, John, and I fished was very tough because the devil clouds were everywhere.  We just couldn't spot fish.  The afternoon was more productive as the sky cleared some.

This is a sequence where Dan was casting to a fish near shore.  He snagged his fly in the weeds but since he didn't spook the fish John traded him rods.  John kept the snagged line elevated above the water and Dan cast with John's rod.  The fish just didn't cooperate.





Here is a link to Dan's report about the trip on CarpPro.  He did a great job of writing up the whole experience.  


An apex athlete from after the sky cleared.  

Dan, thanks a lot for coming to Washington and Oregon.  It was great to meet you and to fish with you.  I'm looking forward to when you come back.  



Thursday, May 23, 2013

When Conditions Aren't Perfect

In my previous blog post and in the one before it I talked about back to back days when conditions were near perfect.  The sky was blue, the water was clear, there was only a slight wind, and there were a lot of Carp for me to cast to.  It was heavenly.

Every day of Carp fishing is not like that.  Sometimes the weather conditions might be excellent but there are very few fish around.  When the water is not clear that is the worst.  When it is windy that is more worse.  And when the damn, devil clouds fill the sky that is the most worst.  I like clouds and even rain when I'm trout fishing or salmon fishing but NOT when I'm Carp fishing.

Today, Thursday, the sky was filled with devil clouds.  There was just a very light wind.  That's fine.  Was the water clear?  How the heck would I know?  The damn clouds made seeing things impossible.  Okay, the water was actually very clear but the sky wasn't.

I had come over to the Carp Lodge yesterday just before dinner.  I was planning to fish with Dan Frasier and John Montana on Friday and I was really looking forward to it.  I thought I might actually head to Oregon this morning but I ended up writing a Purchase & Sale Agreement for some clients.  I set it up for electronic signatures from the Carp Lodge--it is an amazing electronic world.  By the time I was finished with that it was much too late to go to Oregon to connect with Dan and John.  Plus, I could look out the window and see pretty easily that there was no blue sky.


I actually took this picture from the Carp Lodge after I was finished fishing but this is what the sky looked like almost the whole day.  I don't know what that blue thing is in the lower left corner.





After writing the Purchase & Sale Agreement I thought about going trout fishing instead but thought better of it when I realized that I didn't have any trout flies with me.  That meant I was either "stuck" at the Carp Lodge for the day or "stuck" Carp fishing.  Even with the devil clouds I opted for the Carp fishing.

There are a few spots that I Carp fish on the river that are very close to the Carp Lodge.  (Less than 30 minutes away).  It was late in the morning so I went to one of those spots.  The first spot I went to is "high water only" spot.  The river has to be good and high for there to be fish there.  That is because if the river isn't high there is no water at this spot.  No water means no fish.  It only is good a small amount of the summer.  I call it "Ray Ray's" because the first time I went there some years ago I met an extended Cambodian family.  As I was gearing up one of the men came over to me and introduced himself as Ray Ray.  He was drinking beer and eating a piece of deep fried Carp.  They had caught several in the previous few days and had cooked them in a propane powered deep fryer.  He was thrilled to see a white guy fishing for Carp.  He offered me some deep fried Carp but it turned out the kids had just eaten the last few pieces.  We talked for half an hour before I walked down to the water to fish.

Today there was very little water at Ray Ray's.  I walked the margins but I knew from experience that even if the sky was clear there wasn't enough water to draw the fish in.  It was a nice walk.  I walked farther down the river to another spot.  The sun peeked out for a bit and I was able to see just a few fish.  One of them took the Chocolate Cherry.  He actually thumped it good and hard.  I released 38 Carp in two days the last time I was out.  On a day like today one fish becomes much, much more satisfying than on a day when I catch so many fish.  I knew this could easily be the only fish I would hook and I was very grateful for it.  Thirty-eight Carp in two days is easy to write about but it is not normal.  It is important to also talk about the days that aren't easy or productive.



I weighed this Carp and it was 10 1/2 pounds.  He was wonderful.  On a day like this one fish becomes so satisfying and rewarding.  

When there are lots of devil  clouds, and when they are gray and black, they do this nasty thing, they drop water on me.  I like trout fishing in the rain and I like salmon fishing in the rain but I DO NOT like Carp fishing in the rain!  It started to rain, and big baby that I am ,I decided to go back to the Carp Lodge and get a candy bar.  I thought I would just sit on the patio, eat my candy bar and be done fishing for the day.  

Energized by the Reese's Nutrageous, and tricked by a bit of blue sky, I decided to drive back to the river.  There is a sign at this next spot that says that a troll lives there so I call it the Troll's House.  The Troll's House is also only good when the water is high.  The water is somewhat high right now but not high enough to draw large numbers of fish into Ray Ray's or the Troll House.  Two years ago when we had flooding these two spots were amazing.  In 2013 they may never be good.  In fact they aren't likely to be.   They may not be good again for years.  

There were some brief breaks in the devil clouds and I was able to spot a few fish at the Troll House.  I hooked two small fish.  (Small for the Columbia River is under 8 pounds.)  One of two was 6 1/2 pounds and the other was 7 pounds.  It started raining again and since I don't do rain when I am Carp fishing I called it quits for the day.  I was back at the Carp Lodge by about 3:15.  

Tomorrow I am going to fish with Dan Frasier and John Montana.  They are more than twenty years younger than I am.  Figuring I better rest up for the big day, I took a nap.  

I'm looking forward to connecting with Dan and John tomorrow.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 2--Near Perfect Conditions


This is a follow up to my previous blogpost.  I fished Thursday, May 9, and Friday, May 10.

With such a stellar session on Thursday one would think I could not wait to get out early Friday morning and repeat the experience.  Rather than starting earlier, I ended up starting a half hour later.  I was enjoying moving at my own pace but still definitely looking forward to gearing up and casting to tailing Carp.  It took 20 minutes for my “speedy” electric motor to get me to one of the spots I had fished the day before.  It was as if the Carp had spent the night there and were waiting to see if I would be back.  I was glad to see them and some of them acted glad to see me.  In less than 10 minutes a Carp took the size 8 Black Betty.  Unlike the day before, from the start, I believed I was going to have a great day.  And Lordy I did!

Not sure exactly how many fish I had caught the day before, I made a point of counting carefully today.  I said the number out loud when I released each fish.  When I turned the last Carp out of the net I said, “Seventeen”.  I stopped an hour earlier today.  I was sated.  I never get tired of the takes but I can get tired of playing fish.  My stomach was sore from pressing the fighting butt against it.  I had moved down the reservoir quite a ways from where I started the morning.  It was more than a half hour back to my truck.  There were tailing fish in sight and there were shoppers; I knew I could have caught more fish.  I had just reached a point where I wanted to sit on the patio at the Carp Lodge, watch the sun set, and savor the day more than I wanted to catch another fish.  Not being able to do that would have diminished my enjoyment of the day considerably.  To keep myself in check and make sure that I got my patio time, not only did I reel in, I clipped off the Black Betty and broke down the rod. 

Epilogue: 

Gregg Martin, an Idaho Carp angler for whom I have tremendous respect, wrote a comment in my previous post about numbers that he couldn't hope to achieve.  I also received an email about my previous blog post and the numbers.   While I have had days like these in the past, and I expect to have them again in the future, these are NOT typical days in the sense that I always have these kinds of numbers.  I have actually caught more Carp in a day than I just posted about.  For these two days I just wrote about the conditions were  ideal and I happened to be there.  In the interest of fairness and full disclosure there are plenty of days when I work very hard to get just a few Carp.  There are days when I get blanked.  I have blogged about those kinds of days too. 

I was also asked in the email if there was anyone else on the water I was fishing.  The answer is definitely yes.  There are usually people there fishing for Carp though they are almost always bait fishing.  There are also bass fisherman there too.  Both days there were people there fishing for Carp with bait when I fished.  The second day a guy pulled up as I was taking out.  He was very friendly.  He laughed at me (politely) because I fished for Carp with a fly.  He asked me if I caught any and I told him I put a few in the net.  He asked me where they were and I told him I release them.  He said he was “bow fishing” for Carp.  He had a $45K truck and a large bass boat to go with it.  He said he always gets some when he goes out.  I asked him if he releases them and he said, “Well yeah, they have an arrow in ‘em and their gonna die, so yeah”.  I’m not going to get started on “bow fishing” for Carp.  I’m just saying that there were other people there.   I do move away from them however. 

I did not get a fish over 15 pounds today or yesterday.  The fish were willing to take the fly, they were extremely "hot" (lively) and they were plentiful.  What else can I ask for?  



Sunday, May 19, 2013

Who Knows What Near Perfect Conditions Will Bring?

Right at the end of March I sold a home to my clients Jeremy and Kacie; it was supposed to close on Monday, May 6.  The seller refused to sign at the last minute because her agent told her she was netting $25,000 more than she actually was.  Unbelievable...  The escrow officer said she had never seen anything like it in 20 years.  My buyers had rented a truck and had friends lined up to help with the move.  Oh, and I was planning to leave the next afternoon for a few days of Carp fishing.  Wednesday morning Jeremy, Kacie, and I were back out looking at homes so I wasn't fishing.  Thankfully, VERY thankfully, we found something they liked better than the home they lost even though it was farther north than they had wanted to be.

Beating the traffic out of town, Wednesday afternoon I left for the Carp Lodge.  With laptop in hand I was able to write the Purchase & Sale Agreement from there and set it up for electronic signing; it is a modern, electronic world indeed.

Thursday morning brought what appeared to be near perfect Carp fishing conditions.  It was hot, the sky was blue and there was a very light wind.  I had my Zodiac in the reservoir just before 9:30.  It was awhile before I even saw a Carp let alone made a cast.  What happened to my near perfect conditions?  Don't the Carp know that when there is blue sky and a gentle wind, AND I'm stalking the shallows, that they should be there with me?  At about 10:00 I was casting to only my third fish.  He picked up the Chocolate Cherry and took off.  He was about 8 pounds; I released him at 10:06.

Who really knows how a day will turn out?  You start to get a sense of things as the morning moves along but still, who knows?  I just wasn't seeing the number of fish that I had hoped to; I was hardly seeing any fish at all.  My visibility was good because of the clear sky and light wind so I just headed down the reservoir a mile and a half and then started stalking again.  That is probably not a completely accurate statement.  I didn't "start stalking again" as in I slowed the boat down and started looking for fish.  I "started stalking again" as in I saw some tails sticking up so I stopped the boat and started casting.  A couple Carp turned to the fly and then turned away.  I don't usually change flies as quickly as I did but I had tied some Black Betty's after writing the Purchase & Sale Agreement the previous night and I wanted to use them.  I don't know if it was the fly or what, but the darn Carp started hitting the fly.  In a few cases I would say they didn't just turn to the fly they actually smacked it and took off.  Dang, that makes me feel accomplished and clever.




I know how many fish I think I caught but I lost count a couple times so when I say I released 21 Carp I may be wrong.  It could have been a couple more.  Most of them were 6-9 pounds with several of them being 10 pounds and over.  One was 14 pounds and made a fine showing of herself as she peeled out backing.  It ended up just being an extremely satisfying day.  It certainly left me looking forward to the next day.

 







   

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Issue Three Carp Pro Magazine

Check out Issue 3 of CarpPro magazine.  You'll be glad you did.  


Monday, April 29, 2013

When the Alder Leaves are One Inch Across


September 5, 1973 was my first day as a teacher.  Could it have been that long ago?  As excited as I was to start my career I had no idea how much I would come to love what I did.  I told kids every Friday what a privilege it was to be their teacher.  And it was.  My life revolved around the school schedule and to a certain extent it still does.  The school schedule is prescriptive and regimented.  Even though I have now been out of the classroom for 4 years I still think of time in terms of the school year calendar; I probably always will.  I know this is 2013 but for me the year “started” in September of 2012 and will end in the summer of 2013.  Summer Carp fishing occurs at the “end” of the year. 

In the early 70’s, before I was married, I would  fish during spring break which was always in the beginning of April.  For several years a friend and I went to Vancouver Island to fish for trout during that time.  My friend knew a family on the island.  Norm and Billie were their names and they were always kind enough to let us sleep at their home and to feed us.  After breakfast Norm would drive us to a different lake each day.  From one year to the next and from one day to the next conditions varied; we had some good days of fishing, and we had some blah days of fishing. 

All of the water we fished with Norm was open year round.  Not having an opening day was, at the time, quite strange to me.  I wondered when there isn't an opening day how do you know when to start fishing.  Howard and I went to Vancouver Island during spring break because that was when we had the time to go and because the water was open.  The opening day for lowland lake trout fishing in Washington was usually two or three weeks after spring break. 

The second year Howard and I fished with Norm, the fishing was a lot better than the first year.  I felt very clever as if somehow I had learned a lot from the previous year and become more skilled.  Billie packed big lunches for us every day.  During lunch that second year I was visiting with Norm about his water being open year round.  I said that we came during spring break because that was when we had time.   I said to him, “Since you can take time off whenever you want, how do you decide when to start fishing when there is no opening day?”  He said to me simply, “When the alder leaves are one inch across.”   

That simple sentence has stuck with me these forty years.  I think of it in terms of when to start fishing for different species but also in terms of life.  In part it is a reminder to me to not rush things; as anxious as I can be to do certain things and to make some things happen, sometimes it is just best to wait until the alder leaves are one inch across. 

That second year the alder leaves were all pretty much ¾ of an inch to a full inch across.  Maybe I hadn't really become so clever after all compared to that first year.  It was just warmer.  Bugs were hatching, fish were feeding. 

When we arrived at Norm and Billie’s home the third year the first thing I did after saying hello was look at the alder leaves.  I was so disappointed to see that they were all ½ inch across.  I desperately wanted to find some, even one, which was a full inch across as if finding even one wide leaf would make the fishing better in the morning.  I couldn't  find a single one inch leaf.  We caught fish but the fishing wasn't nearly as good as the year before. 

So how does a person know when to start Carp fishing?  When is Carp season?   How do Carp know when to start showing up in the flats that I love to fish?  Carp don’t know when opening day is; heck here in Washington and Oregon there is no opening day for Carp fishing.  And plus, what do I know about the calendar anyway?  Heck I still think the year starts in September.  

And so it is with Carp fishing now as it was with trout fishing on Vancouver Island 40 years ago.  The beginning of the season has nothing to do with laws or regulations.  It has to do with nature.  It has to do with me being attuned to the weather, the water temperature, and  the river level; it has to do with me giving  mother nature her due respect.   

Carp are my favorite quarry but for me the enjoyment is diminished if I rush the beginning of the season.  I applaud all the anglers across the country who are willing to fish in so many kinds of weather and settings.  I believe I could have caught some Carp last month.  I chose not to even look for Carp let alone fish for them.  I was catching trout and patiently waiting for the “alder leaves of Carp fishing” to be one inch across.  

I hadn't really planned to Carp fish until May this season.  Recently we have had some unseasonably warm days in central Washington.  The ice was off the lakes two to three weeks sooner this year than the previous two years. 

One might think that because I am 62 and my days of wading the river for Carp are numbered, I would press the start of the season each year to get in as many days of fishing as I can while my legs still allow me to.  Actually the opposite is true.  Because I am 62 I am more willing and able to wait for the "alder leaves of Carp fishing" to be one inch across.  

This past week was Katy’s spring break; she and I came to the Carp Lodge on Wednesday.  A month ago I thought I would trout fish a day or two while we were there.  Since it had been warm, late Wednesday I drove to a spot on the river near the Carp Lodge to do some scouting.  I have caught many Carp there.  The spot is only available for a few weeks a year when the water is high.  When I drove up there was no water at all which meant there was no need to hope or even pretend that I might catch a fish.  There are years when the water never comes into this spot; this may be one of those years.   Heading back to the Carp Lodge was an easy decision. 

The weather forecast for Thursday was for mostly clear sky, light wind, and temperatures in the 80’s.  That is not normal for April.  Thursday morning, thinking the “Carp alder leaves” just might be an inch across, I headed to another spot on the river. 

I have been trout fishing a fair amount these past two months and have caught some wonderful fish. 




Even on the very good days of trout fishing this year, the fishing doesn't require, or allow, for the kind of riveted attention needed to visually detect a subtle take by a Carp.  Having been months since I last Carp fished I wondered if it would take me awhile to remember what that simple movement to the fly looks like and when to set the hook.  The first three fish I cast to, didn't want my fly.  Possibly they didn't like the sound of my cleats, the splash of the Carrot, the shadow of the line, or maybe they didn't like my hat.  Maybe they didn't like me talking (quietly) to them and telling them to pick up the fly. 

It appeared that the fourth fish couldn't hear my cleats, couldn't see the line, didn't mind splashes, and really liked my hat.  When he made a slight move to his right I set the hook.  While I was extremely happy that he took the fly I was every bit as happy, possibly even happier, to know I hadn't forgotten what a take looks like.  There was no hesitation or wondering; I just stuck him.   An eleven pound Common was a great way to start the season.

In addition to a good number of Commons, to my pleasant surprise, two Mirrors ate the Carrot during day. 

I thought this linear Mirror was particularly picturesque.  Actually, I thought he was beautiful.


 




I netted this common and unbuttoned the Carrot.  I tipped the net slightly and he swam away.  I so appreciated him showing me my backing.  


                                                           
The alder leaves of Carp fishing are one inch across.  Carp season has begun.