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Friday, July 30, 2010

Connecting with Keith: The Prologue

I just love fly fishing for Carp; it is so dang fun! The Carp regularly remind me that they are not easy quarry. Some days aren't that great but some days are so satisfying.

This year I have resolved to spend at least some of my sessions visiting entirely new water and also going back to places I haven't been to in at least three years. I left home feeling brave and adventurous; I was going to look at some new water on the Columbia River. (for a second time) The spot I wanted to check out is nearly four hours from home so this is not something I can do on some evening after work. It's a commitment. Still, I'm not complaining; as I said, I love fly fishing for Carp. I also love the extremely varied scenery that I experience as I travel from the west side of the state to the east side.

At the beginning of this season I checked out a new stretch of the river. It looked promising and I was able to wade the bank for well over an hour but never saw a single fish. I thought that may have been because of the amount of boat traffic that day so I definitely wanted to go back on a quieter day and check it out. Instead of getting down to the river's edge and wading in the margins to stalk fish, I stayed up high and walked the cliff looking for tailing fish. There wasn't the boat traffic but I still didn't see a single darn fish. The spot looks so promising. I'm going to have to go back there again.

I drove down the river a good ways to a spot I had not fished for a few years. It was close to 1:00 when I arrived. Interestingly I have caught fish there before but not the last time I was there. Well now, I saw a tailing fish about 3 minutes after I started wading. I would love to say I made a perfect cast and he picked up my fly just like I wanted him to. My cast was pretty good but he made the fly as a fake and headed out to the deep water. It was 45 minutes before I hooked up. It was a marvelous 14 pound Common that did everything perfectly. He was tailing, he turned to pick up my Carrot, he exploded, and took off out into the river. He was even kind enough to avoid a patch of weeds as he went into the backing. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, the river was clear, the wind was down; it was just as it ought to be. It was one of those moments when I thought I could do this all day, every day for a week, and no matter how tired I was I would still want more.

I was having trouble with weeds that I couldn't see. There are places on the river where the weeds are thick; you can see mats on the surface of the water. If a fish gets in them, it's all over, the fish will get away. On this day, even in what appeared to be very clear water I was picking up strands of weeds from the bottom. As I waded there were some spots where I just could not keep the weeds off the fly. It forced me to be very selective about when I wanted to cast. If I picked up a strand of weed on my fly, it made more disturbance in the water as I retrieved it or prepared for the next cast. Weeds moving through the water don't work as a Carp attractor.

Those four hours of fishing were extremely engaging. I was seeing tailing fish and getting some shots at them. Seeing a tailing fish accelerates my pulse and I am fully engaged. It is riveting. Dang I love chasing Carp on the fly!!

I hooked five fish, three on Black Betty and two on the Carp Carrot®. One of them broke me off in the weeds after I had played him for some time. They were all bigger than 10 pounds but none of them were over 15 pounds. I felt very good about my afternoon of fishing.

My friend, Keith, and I were planning to connect the next two days and I felt that this day boded very well for what was ahead. This day was good and I was hoping for even better the next day. Hook five today and land four--let's see, that means I should hook 10 tomorrow and land 8 and the next day after that I wanted to hook 20 and land every last one of them. That's not too much to ask. Let's see what happened...

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