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Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Changing to the Past" Day Three of Three

Why are some days of Carp fishing easier than others? Okay, the conditions vary from day to day and from trip to trip but what about when the conditions are basically the same and we are talking about two or three days in a row? I just don't know sometimes. It's frustrating and it all adds to the puzzle. I think that I know what I'm doing so I want to catch fish every day.

Day III just started off better. I saw fish right away and would see them most of the day. It kept me on constant alert which makes it all so much more engaging. Lordy some place I go to fish for Carp are frustrating and some of them are beautiful. They're even more beautiful when I'm catching fish.

I'm standing in knee deep water here looking back at the shoreline. I feel like I'm in heaven.

In heaven there are so many cool things to see also.

At one point I had made several casts to a seriously tailing fish. He was eating purposefully and was a prime target. I bet I made 10 casts to that fish before he got tired of it and swam away. I was so engaged, actually more like riveted. I took a deep breath and shook my head. As I did a couple very slow cruisers moved into the area. They were in about 3 feet of water. They were in the middle of the water column. Ususally I don't think of these fish as prime targets but I still cast to them fairly often. Well go figure. I laid out the Black Betty in front of the lead fish and also past his line of travel. I gave two strips and he made a quick movement. I thought the fly had bonked him and he was getting away but the rod jumped and we were off and running. What a nice surprise that was.

I actually got two fish to pick up the Black Betty in the water column. I remember why I liked this fly so much! Also, Gerhard, I'm glad that Black Betty is working so well for you.

Black Betty, Bam a Lam. She's so rock steady Bam a Lam. She's always ready. Bam A LAM!*

Bigger fish are more fun to catch than smaller fish but more and more I think that fish in the 10-14 pound range, and I would say 12 pounds if I had to pick just one number, just seem to have more get up and go pound for pound. This is a generalization of course and I may change my mind in the weeks, months, or years to come, but I think Carp in that weight range are "hotter" pound for pound that a fish that weighs 20 pounds. I would like to have a day of multiple 25 pound fish and have them prove me wrong.

This fish was right in the range; he was just a hair under 13 pounds and just flew into the backing. The reel was really singing. Dang I like that!

I have lost track of the exact progression of fish the rest of the day but I do know that I caught fish on two successive casts. They weren't part of the same shoal; they were probably 75 yards apart. When that happens I start to think that Carp fishing is just all kinds of fun. I also remember that I went a stretch where I cast to several tailing fish and could not get a single one to pick up.

I switched to a #12 Carp Carrot and got a fish fairly soon. I got another one and then I remember that awhile later I got yet another one on the Carrot and had him laying in shallow water on some weeds. He was also in that prime range and had also made some excellent runs out into the river. I had the line still tight and was probably just 15 or 20 feet from him. I paused to take my camera out of my shirt pocket and walk over to him to get a picture while he was sitting in the weeds. As I took a step the Carrot shot up in the air. What surprised me was that the fish had not thrashed or flopped; he hadn't made any motion at all. He was still passing water through his gills so even with the Carrot out he just sat there. I thought I might still sneak a picture of him underwater but as soon as I took two steps he moved away. What was really a surprise to me on this fish is that the hook broke. I have bent out some hooks on a Carp in years past but can't remember breaking a hook. It was my third fish on that fly. When there are a lot of weeds or other gunk in the water I check my fly very often to make sure it is clean and hasn't been bobbed by a weed. I had checked that fly before casting and it wasn't bent. Oh well, all I got was a picture of the broken hook, not of the fish.

So I fished for three days. I got blanked the first day, heck I never saw a tailing fish the first day. Was that a good day? I don't know. I guess, yeah, it was a good day. I hooked up a good number of times the second day and lost the first few fish I caught in the weeds. Was that a good day? Yeah, I think was a good day. On the third day I caught twice as many fish as the second day. Was that a good day? Well it sure as heck was a good day in terms of how many fish I caught. It was also a beautiful day. The weather was just perfect. It was warm, the sky was clear, the wind was down and the water was pretty clear.

Was it a good trip? Yes, it was definitely a good trip. On so many levels it was a good trip. The days of not seeing tailing fish or seeing them and not being able to get them to take blend together with the good days when catching Carp on the fly almost seems easy. I want every day to be like that third day but I know they aren't. Days like the first one help me to appreciate every aspect of fly fishing for Carp and help me to savor the days when it almost seems easy to catch Carp on the fly. Almost.

Words to the song "Black Betty" by Ram Jam.

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