It is such great fun to catch carp that are over 15 pounds! Posting pictures of those carp is easy; it makes me feel like a bad-ass; a baller. Well, as much of a bad-ass or a baller as a 64 year old guy can be anyway. Here is the thing about posting pictures of big carp--it gives the impression that all, or at least most, of the carp I catch are that size. It just ain't so. On a recent trip to the Columbia River the smallest fish I caught was 14 1/2 pounds; that was because I didn't cast to fish that appeared to be smaller than 15 pounds. (Except for one)
Something that is much too easily taken for granted is that I have to be seeing 15-20 pound fish to catch 15-20 pound fish. The Columbia is the only water I fish where I have that opportunity regularly. I fish other water for carp, and on some of that water I don't expect to get a single shot at a 15 pound fish let alone a 20. On one particular body of water I have caught fish to 17 pounds but haven't done that for a few years; it's pretty rare. I adjust my expectations knowing that there is a good chance I won't get a fish over 10 pounds. By comparison to the carp in the Columbia these fish are small; I know that and I still return several times each season.
I use the same flies but lighter leader. These 5-8 pound fish make me smile; they are immensely satisfying. They are unforgiving when I make a bad cast just like a fish two or three times their size. I have asked them out loud, "Come on, how can you be so picky?" It takes every bit as much skill to catch these fish as it does to catch their larger brothers and sisters.