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Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Carp Tatoo

I have been selling lots of homes and catching lots of Carp. I think it is making me wild and crazy. It must be because I'm thinking of getting a tatoo. Of a Carp.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Baker's Dozen (I think)

Katy and I were supposed to be hiking at Mt. Ranier for a few days this week. The friends with whom we were going to hike with couldn't go. The sliding glass door on the Carp Lodge, I mean the summer home, slides with a good deal of difficulty. It looks like we will be making a warranty claim. The builder is bringing the factory rep to the home on Friday.

Let's see here--no trip to Mt. Ranier, builder and factory rep coming the Carp Lodge on Friday morning... What should I do. Instead of coming over on Thursday night for the meeting Friday morning, I decided to come over on Tuesday afternoon. I figured as long as I had to come over I might as well fish.

Arriving in central WA after lunch on Tuesday I dropped off some things at the Carp Lodge and did a fair amount of driving up the river. I went farther up the river than I have ever gone looking for likely spots and of course looking for fish. I did a good amount of driving and a LOT of walking.

I didn't see a single tailing fish all afternoon. I saw three slow cruisers and and several fast cruisers. No grazers, no shoppers, no sunbathers, and no tailing fish. My fly stayed stayed pretty dry. Needless to say I didn't catch a single fish on Tuesday. I saw a very promising piece of water that I would likely go back to but there were no Carp. What can I say, I got blanked yesterday.

I did so much walking that my hip was a little sore this morning so I decided to go back to stillwater. I had my Zodiac with me so away I went.

It was a good choice. My hip feels better and unlike yesterday I saw lots of tailing fish today. They weren't too excited about the Carrot so I switched to the Chocolate Cherry. They were excited about that.

By the end of the afternoon I had 12 fish. I was heading back to my truck, moving slowly, and still looking for "just one more fish". I saw a couple fish cruising slowly near the reeds so I got ready to make a cast. One of the fish spooked and bolted. The other changed directions. Waiting for the direction changer to settle down I cast the line out at about a 60 degree angle to my left and just let it sit. I casually looked over to about the point where the fly was and saw a Carp turn his head. I thought to myself that Carp just moved like Carp do when they take a fly. Then I thought, that's about where my fly probably is. Then I wondered if he just took my fly. To find out I set the hook. Good grief, that darn Carp had taken my fly.

There are times when I make a cast to a Carp and it moves off. Another Carp will come into range near where the fly is so I will let the fly sit or strip it towards the newcomer. At least that is conscious. I didn't even see that last fish of the day come into view until he was picking up the fly. Since I was almost unconscious I'm not sure I should count that fish. I hooked 12 fish consciously and one unconsciously. I guess that makes a baker's dozen. I don't know, do you count a fish you didn't even cast to?

This one took the Cherry farther down his throat than they usually do.

The Carp spanked me on Tuesday and I spanked them on Wednesday.

This is a picture of the last Carp going back in the water. I was just a split second late.

I will be meeting the builder and the factory rep on Friday morning and then heading home to meet with clients.

I guess as long as I'm here I will fish tomorrow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

This One Jumped!

Holy Crimeny! This fish actually jumped out of the water. It was simply a magnificent fish on every level. It was feeding, I made a good cast, it turned to the fly, I set the hook and it just took off. It took me into the backing, I got it fairly close to me and off it went into the backing again. It was an amazing, strong fish. All of that alone would have all made it wonderful but then the darn thing jumped all the way out of the water!

Years ago, the very first Carp I caught jumped out of the water on the hook set. I have had that happen at least once every year (except last year) since I started chasing Carp on the fly. It is just not normal Carp behavior, at least not around here. I'm not talking about sloshing around on the top of the water; I'm talking about clearing the water. What an incredible animal this fish was. I felt like I wanted to sit and talk to the fish after the picture. I wanted to say thanks.

The whole day was good. Of the fish I hooked four of them were over 15 pounds. That's always nice. I caught one on a perfect pitch but the rest of them were all on casts. Pitching, plopping, and dropping, is fun but casting is way more fun.

The jumper took a #8 Carp Carrot as did some other nicely cooperative Carp.

I also hooked some on the Chocolate Cherry.

There was a preying mantis on the door mat of the Carp Lodge when I got back. That was kind of cool. It was just an unusual day from start to finish.

I love fly fishing for Carp!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Signed Some Papers, Caught Some Carp

Katy was already at the Carp Lodge with some of her friends. Oh wait, she calls it the summer home. While her friends where there I came over to pick her up and take her to Moses Lake to sign our final documents. We had a construction loan and it is being converted to a permanent loan. I dropped off some things and said hello to her friends. It wasn't time to go and sign yet so I had to figure out what to do for a few hours. I could sit in my truck and day dream. I could rake the gravel and try to make it look like an ornamental garden. I could jog up and down the street for three hours. Well heck, I just decided to go Carp fishing.

Way back in May of 2004 I brought my first Carp to hand on the fly. I had caught one by accident many years before but did not get it to hand and it was just something I guess I kept in the back of my mind. I consider the one I caught in May 2004 and got to hand as the first one I caught. I was a whopping 3 1/2 pounds. I was fishing a six weight with 3X fluorocarbon. I saw the take, the fish actually jumped straight up when I set the hook, and that about did it for me. I knew I was going to like this a whole lot.

In those few hours of "forced fishing" I was able to get two grabs. Considering I only saw two tailing fish, a few shoppers, and a few cruisers, I felt pretty good about that. I got one of the tailers to pick up the Carp Carrot and I got a shopper to pick up the Carrot too. The tailing fish was the smallest Carp I have caught since catching that first one back in 2004. It was almost an exact replica. He was exactly 3 1/2 pounds. I almost never see Carp this small in the Columbia but it keeps me humble so that's a good thing.

I would like to only post pictures of monster fish all caught on days where all I did was catch big fish and lots of them. I think that I would like every day of Carp fishing to be that way. They are not. I nail 'em some days but certainly not every day. Here is a picture of my little fish from signing day.

This one was bigger and he took the Carrot too.

In building the Carp Lodge we had a terrible experience with the banker and are glad that part of the process is finally over!

Much more importantly we had a tremendous experience with Gary at Triton Custom Homes. Katy and I both feel good about whole heartedly recommending him.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Connecting with John Montana (Not Quite as Many Leaves)

I met up with John Montana for some fishing on the Columbia. I left the Carp Lodge in plenty of time to be early for our connection. I was down the road a ways when I realized I forgot my wading socks. I had to go back to get them. That made me a half our late. Does that bring me from 4 leaves to three? Nah, not yet; I'm still looking forward to another 4 leaf clover kind of day.

Those of us who fish the Columbia regularly have been subjected to wild differences in water level this year. Snow pack and rain, combined with water level management at the damns makes for huge variations in water levels. This has been an unusual spring and summer so far. Places where there have been fields and roads have been covered in water. We have been seeing things we have never seen in the past.

One could say that the river level is WAY too high for Carp fishing and yet those of us who fish the river regularly have managed to bring fish to hand; we just have had to adapt location and technique. We have been doing a lot of pitching, plopping, and dropping.

After meeting John, I put on my boots and realized I had been driving with my prescription sunglasses but couldn't find my regular glasses. Being late doesn't take a leaf on my four leaf clover but losing my glasses somewhere sure does!

John and I fished some pitching, plopping, and dropping kind of water. This sounds funny to say but the high water was getting too low and the low water was still too high. We had trouble fishing the high water spots because they were draining out.

We decided to head for a spot that fishes best when the water is at a normal level. When we got there I was changing my tippet. We were in John's new Jeep. I had the rod sitting on the back seat of his rig and I had my back to the door blocking it from closing. I stepped out to pull the line through the guides and just like that the wind closed the door. On my fly rod! Damn it! Fly rods are amazing pieces of equipment. It is simply incredible the stress that they can tolerate. They just don't tolerate being closed in doors. My rod was toast. That definitely takes a couple leaves off the clover!

John was very gracious to immediately offer sharing his rod for the remainder of the day. We took turns casting and wading. Actually, it was fun to move up the river together, stalk fish together, and yak. It was good.

We caught fish in the high water spot but the water was apparently way down from the week before when John was there.

Black Betty fooled this Carp.

The water level at this "normal water" spot was too high so we didn't connect there.

I had looked all over for my regular glasses. I looked all through my truck before John and I took off up the river. When I got back to my truck I found my glasses sitting in the corner of the truck bed near a corner. I swear I had looked there four times but never say them. They were too close the tail gate. Finding my glasses added a leaf back on the clover I guess.

In the end I don't know "how many leaf" kind of day it was. Even though we didn't catch a lot of fish it is always good to connect with John. He is truly a hell of a good Carp fisherman. I'm looking forward to the next trip John.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Four Leaf Clover Kind of Evening

At the end of our stay at the Carp Lodge this week, I decided to go out and fish for a few hours late yesterday afternoon. This is not something I can do from my home in western Washington. Starting from the Carp Lodge the water is closer so I can go on the spur of the moment. I went thinking I would fish for a couple hours, hopefully get a couple grabs, and head back to the house (Carp Lodge). I call the house the Carp Lodge when I am talking to my fishing friends and when I am blogging. When I am talking to my wife and my family I call it the summer home.

I had low or modest expectations but cautiously high hopes. Put a fly rod in my hand and put me near water and I always am hopeful.

I don't know what this weed is. I mean aquatic plant. I mean good luck charm. It looked like clover but nearly every stem has four leaves so it can't be the same clover that I work to keep out of my lawn. Little did I know what good luck that was going to be for me!

I drove to a spot I have fished several times in the past. Lo and behold there were way more fish there than I expected. I wish I knew why. I wish I could say something clever and insightful. I wish I could show how good I am at predicting where Carp will be and what they will be doing. The truth is as near as I could tell there were so many fish in this spot because they could see the "four leaf clovers". I didn't know what all those fish were doing there and I don't expect to see them next time I go.

Within in minutes I had a fish on. He took me into some brush and broke me off. Again within minutes I had another fish on and I got him to hand. I had two grabs within 20 minutes and I have to say that is NOT normal. It may be normal for some Carp fisherman who are younger and better looking than me but it sure as heck is not normal for me.

I fished for less than three hours and I had 12 fish to hand. I also broke off some others. I have caught 12 Carp in a day before but never have I done it in less than three hours. I am glad that wasn't my first trip chasing Carp on the fly. If it was I would have been deceived into thinking it is always easy. In fact it is not. It is rarely easy for me.

It was a simply wonderful early evening of fly fishing for Carp. I saw a good number of tailing fish, I saw shoppers and grazers, and I saw slow cruisers. I am assigning a person's perception to Carp behavior but I believe some Carp seem to be cruising with purpose and some seem to just be ambling around looking for something to do.

I hooked some tailers as well as shoppers, grazers, and (purposeful) cruisers. I saw a Carp take a caddis off the surface. He was actually pretty close to me. I cast the Chocolate Cherry in front of his path and within 2 seconds he picked it up; it didn't even have a chance to sink. He had to turn on his side to take my fly. I was ecstatic.

I don't expect this to play out again anytime soon. I started with a #8 Chocolate Cherry on a 3769 hook. I fished only that fly. Good grief, I have no idea what happened but I sure had a hell of a good evening.

For all that I think I have learned about locating, stalking, and catching Carp on the fly I wonder if maybe what I need to do is find four leaf clover and there the Carp will be.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Chocolate Cherry Has Been Producing

Certainly I love fishing the Carp Carrot because it produces so well. Even though presentation is key, nothing produces all the time. The Chocolate Cherry has produced well for me this week. Tailing fish picked up Cherry as did some Shoppers and Grazers.

Recipe for The Chocolate Cherry

Hook: The flies in this box are in #6 5262 and #6 3769.
Thread: Black
Eyes: 1/8 or 5/32 black dumbbells
Tail: Round white rubber
Body: Dark brown chenille
Hackle: Barred grizzly saddle hackle dyed red. (You may have to jack it from some teenage girl's hair if you don't already own it.)

I myself like Chocolate Cherries and so do the Carp.

This fish also fell for the Cherry:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Little Heavier Than I Thought

One of the many things that is great about The Carp Lodge is that water that is 5 hours from my home on the west side is only 2 hours from The Carp Lodge. I can come over with Katy, fish for the day, and be home for dinner. (I helped make the dinner.) I caught Carp today and had dinner with Katy on the patio of The Carp Lodge. Life is good.

I thought I was going to hold this fish with one hand but he was too heavy so I had to brace my hand on the side of my Zodiac. It was a good day.