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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Late to the Dance But Still Lookin' for Love...

I'm late to the dance but I'm still looking for love.  I entered a Carp photo contest at Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co.  The contest ran all of July but I just entered.  Its not to late to find love is it?  I guess its kind of like going to a three hour dance and getting there with 10 minutes to go.  Well I'm here and I'm looking for love!      Please click on Carp Photo Contest and like my photo and write up.  Thanks!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Carp on the Fly Video Seminar

I will be presenting a "how to", Carp on the fly, video seminar at the Bellevue Orvis Store on Sunday, July 22.  We will be starting at noon.  Parking is easy on Sunday.  There will be lots of time for questions and answers.  I hope to see you there.  

Here is an excerpt from an email sent to me by Craig who attended one of my recent Carp on the fly seminars.

"I am happy to announce I have caught my first CARP; landed on a 6wt and took the fly (black cherry) out of his mouth.  WOW!!  He was about 24” long and beautiful; yellowish green with different sized scales and long whiskers.  The fishing process (stalking, casting to the dinner plate, and body movement indicating a “take”, was exactly as you described.  This is hard work.  I was in knee deep water with a mud bottom, ugh.  I could see the back and side of the carp, but not their mouth.  But when I saw the slight body twist I recognized it and set the hook.  He erupted from the water splashing me in the process, and, took off.  Ah, the carp song… ZZZZZZZZ..ZZZZZ..zzz.zzz  He would not fit in my trout net..."

Thanks for the email Craig.  I am pleased that you were able to hook up after just two trips.  Good for you!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fishing With a "Redneck"

On Friday I connected with Travis for a great day of Carp fishing.  We went out on the river in his boat.  I have fished from a small Zodiac quite a number of times.  I would never take my Zodiac in the Columbia.  Only twice have I been in a larger boat where we could get out in the river and fish areas that you can't wade to.  The Columbia is a big river.  Water levels vary suddenly and dramatically during a single day.  The wind can come up quickly and blow dang hard; it is no place for a small inflatable.  In fact when the wind comes up hard it is no place for even an 18 foot boat with a 120 horse motor.  It can be dangerous.  Travis has a 16.5 foot boat with a 25 horse motor.  It is enough to get out in the river but only when conditions allow it.  

Just as soon as you talk with Travis you can tell he was not born here.  He is from Alabama and based on this picture you might get the impression that he is a redneck.  From what he told me most folks are rednecks in Alabama.  He taught me about the "three g's".  Now the "three g's" ain't his homies; nope not at all.  What he explained is that if  political candidates want to get elected in Alabama they have to get it right on the "three g's".  That would be "God, Guns, and Gays."  I think you can guess what "right" is.  

I met Travis at his home and we headed to the river.  When we got to the Columbia the wind was blowing too hard and the waves were too high for us to go out in his boat.  We walked the bank for a couple hours.  The water was very high and somewhat cloudy.  I don't even remember if we saw a tailing fish.  I don't think we did.  I know we didn't catch anything.  

After those couple hours had passed the wind had calmed down and Travis felt it was safe to venture out in the river.  That doesn't mean there was no wind and it doesn't mean there were no waves; just not as much wind and smaller waves.  As we traveled out to the middle of the river I sat in the bow and felt every bloody wave bounce what little brains I have right out of my head.  I thought a couple of my teeth had been jarred lose by the time we stopped.  I said something to Travis about losing teeth and he said, "I wondered when you would start with the toothless redneck jokes."  For the record, let me just say right now, "Travis is definitely not a toothless redneck."  (He has all his teeth.)  

I think of the Columbia as my home river; I would say I know it intimately.  And yet, it is such a big river that there is all kinds of water I haven't even seen let alone fished.  Going out in the boat and stopping on an island makes fishing the river an entirely different experience.  Actually it was a remarkably different experience and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.  

I started a blog post awhile back titled, "Carp fishin' ain't easy. And neither is pimpin'".  On the day I fished with Travis we saw fish but it was still difficult.  It was difficult because it seemed that the same cloud followed the sun all day and blocked the light.  I have said for a long time that when I am Carp fishing, "Clouds are the devil."  Well, the devil followed the sun all day.  Add to that the water being somewhat cloudy and it made spotting fish tough.  We saw good numbers but virtually all of them were sunbathing.  

When we got out of the boat at the first island I was immediately taken with the setting.  The water was shallow, the bottom was firm, and the setting was just plain cool.  We each made a few casts.  I know I put the fly near some slow cruisers but I don't believe I had a shot at a true tailing fish.  I had two fish follow the fly for awhile but not pick it up.  I guess they just followed it to spit on it; I don't know.  

We left that island and headed to another one.  The second island was quite little.  A person could walk around it in minutes.  Travis kept saying that we were going to get a double soon.  A double?  Neither one of us had a fish yet.  I was starting to think that this may be a day when we both got blanked.  At right about 2:30 I got a hookup.  I don't know what that crazy fish was thinking.  Travis and I were within sight and speaking distance of each other.  Within seconds, and I do mean seconds, Travis connected too.  Go figure--all those hours on the water with no fish and just like that we had a double.  I really can't explain how it happened.  

We left that island and headed to the Sea Gull capitol of the world.  I have seen Gulls swarm around landfills and transfer stations in great numbers but I didn't know that the Sea Gull capitol of the world was on an island between Washington and Oregon.  Who knew?  The raucous squawking was loud and relentless.  We spent a good deal of time fishing right under the swarming birds; I was sure we were going to get crapped on.  I just figured, well, we are wearing hats and we can just wash it off.  They dive bombed us and dropped their payloads near us but never hit the mark.  Amazing.    

Here is Travis gritting his teeth, not his gums, and walking under the bombardiers.  (Remember, he has all his teeth.)

Another shot of the bombardiers circling.  They weren't flying by; they were flying around and around.  They did this the entire time we were there.

Okay, Travis is brave.  Here he is changing out his fly at the Sea Gull capitol of the world.  These Alabama boys got nerves of steel!  

Carp fishin' ain't easy.  And neither is pimpin.  The double at 2:30 was a lot of fun.  Travis kept saying we were going to get another double.  It seemed unlikely.  Just before 4:00 we both hooked up within seconds of each other.  Again, I have no idea how it happened.  Another double.  

Here is Travis bringing a fish to the net.  

Nicely done Travis!

Just before the end of the day we each had another fish though it wasn't at the same time.  I thoroughly enjoyed fishing with Travis.  It was such a different experience to see the river from the center instead of the edges.  More importantly I really enjoyed Travis's company.  He was polite and enthusiastic.  He was a good sport when we weren't catching fish and I would add he is pretty darn good at fly fishing for Carp.  I'm looking forward to getting out on the river with him again.  What a great day!  Thanks Travis.  

PS  Travis isn't a hard core redneck either.  

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Get a Scale!

Katy and I arrived at the Carp Lodge just after 1:00.  It was hot.  We unpacked and put things away.  We sat on the patio for awhile, visited, savored the view, and felt very fortunate.  

Right around 3:00 I got in my truck and headed up the river to a well known spot.  The water was high; it was in the brush, in the trees, and up in the grass.  The wading was challenging and so was the fishing.  In two hours of fishing I managed just one fish.  I felt darn lucky to get that one.  Here is a video of that Carp swimming away after being released.  

I was back at the Carp Lodge at 6:01.  The monitor shows the time.  The temperature had risen; now it was damn hot!  It was 111.7 outside in the shade and thanks to the air conditioning it was 75.6 inside.  I'm not estimating the temperature; the Oregon Scientific weather station tells us the temperature and humidity both inside and out.  It also tells us the wind speed.  I can say its damn hot but I need the thermometer to know just how hot it is.  

I netted the solitary Carp I caught in my new net; that thing is working great so far.  The Carp weighed 8.75 pounds.  That is a very typical Carp for the Columbia River.  I have caught many, many Carp that size so I had a good idea right away how much the fish weighed.  No matter how many fish I have caught I know how heavy that fish was because I weighed him.  When the net is empty is weighs 1.5 pounds.  

Here is the scale with the Carp in the net

Take off 1.5 pounds and the fish was within an ounce or two of 8.75 pounds.  For the temperature I need the thermometer to know the precise reading and for the fish I need a scale to get a precise weight.  

The more Carp fishing becomes popular the more I see pictures and videos of Carp where the length and/or weight are woefully misstated.  

Here is a picture of a Carp that someone posted on a fishing forum.  The writer stated, "I landed a personal best last week but it didn't fight nearly as hard! This one measured 35" and was SO THICK! Caught it on a size 14 light cahill nymph!"  

On my, if that Carp is 35 inches then it is about 40 inches from the stripping guide to the butt of the rod.  Maybe it is and if it is I stand corrected and will apologize.  I just don't think it is.  The 7 weight and the 8 weight I use for Carp are both 28 inches from the butt of the rod to the stripping guide.  I have an old 5 weight that measures 31 inches from the end of the reel seat to the stripping guide.  I don't have anything that is 40 inches from the butt to the stripping guide.  

Here is another picture from a fishing forum:

Here is the text from the writer:

"38" Carp on White Streamer

I was fishing for smallmouth bass when this target of opportunity came upstream to see what all the commotion was about when I caught a nice 18" smallmouth.
As I saw this bulge come through the water, I put my Shenk's White Minnow streamer 5' or 6' in front of him to catch his attention. He stopped, tailed and went straight for the streamer on the bottom. As soon as I saw my line twitch in the gentle current I set the hook and ZOOM! This rascal took off so fast that I didn't have to wind slack line onto the reel. It probably took me 10-15 minutes to land him on a 3x tippet."

Good grief...I don't think you can even see the stripping guide in that picture.  Maybe the shiny spot is the stripping guide.  Still, it sure doesn't look like a 38 inch Carp.  

So here is my thing.  If you are going to state the weight of a Carp, weigh it.  If you are going to state a length of a Carp measure it or at least measure the distance from the butt of your rod to the stripping guide.  A scale is easy to carry.  I like the one in my picture because it never needs a battery.  I also like it because it is half as thick as a digital scale so it takes less room in my pack.  A vinyl coated tape is easy to get at a fabric store or discount department store.  

Okay, okay, your thinking it was so darn hot at the Carp Lodge that I let myself get wound up about nothing.  I'm not wound up; I'm just saying get a scale.  And a tape too.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Crayfish from Missouri Part II

Earlier in the year Chris from Missouriflies.com sent me some of his great looking Crayfish patterns.  I took them out in the spring to give them a try.  When I first tried them it was very windy as it often is in the spring in central WA.  The wind bowed the line quickly and I could not get the flies down to the Carp.

Its the summer now; the days are HOT and the wind has calmed down.  Well, mostly calmed down.  I had a chance to try Chris's Crayfish patterns last week in less windy conditions.  BAM!  They work.  This 16 pound 6 ounce fish took this pattern.

Dang I love it when they open their purdy Carp lips and slurp up my fly; I just love it!

A couple more Carp liked the fly too.  Thanks a lot Chris for sending me these flies.  They looked good right out of the box and they tricked some Carp.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Nettin' Carp Like a Gunslinger, or, Carrying a Net Made Easy

In my last post I mentioned that probably the highlight of the trip was being able to easily and comfortably carry a net.  I had wanted to get video of me netting a fat Carp but I will have to wait until I am fishing with someone else for that.  For now here are some pictures of the net and the way I am carrying it.  Katy took video of me kind of "playing a fish" and accessing the net.  Okay, the line is wrapped around the leg of a table so I guess I playing a picnic table but bear with me until I can get some video of the real thing.  

I am using a large Solvkroken telescopic net.   That link is to the manufacturer in Norway.  The net is widely available in the UK.    The handle telescopes but more importantly the net easily folds down to a small package. As near as I can tell the only place to get this net in the United States is the Red Rock Wilderness Store in Minnesota.  Talk to Jackie; she is very helpful.  

I believe I first purchased this net 8 years ago.  I was concerned that the cotton string bag would not work as well as as a soft nylon mesh bag so I had it replaced by a guy who makes nets for professional aquaculturists.  I always use that net when I fish for Carp from the Zodiac.  You can see a picture of it here; it has the white bag.  With the nylon mesh bag the net no longer folds as compactly as it does with the cotton string bag.  I love this net.  It is strong and durable.  It opens and closes easily.  I have weighed fish over 20 pounds in this net by simply putting the scale hook on the frame of the net.

This is me standing in the gravel by the Carp Lodge.  I'm wearing my new Patagonia Stealth Atom pack.  I'm also wearing a new Solkroken net.  You can't even see it.

The net is in a scabbard.  The scabbard has a belt loop at the top so it slides smoothly around the pack strap.

The net in the scabbard up close.

For wading I purchased another Solvkroken net and left the original soft cotton bag on it.  By itself the net is great.  On a 1 to 5, I would give it a 5.  I was already completely sold on the net.  For wading and stalking Carp now I have a way to carry the net easily and comfortably.   The scabbard was only $21.95 from Yellowstone Angler.  When the net is in the scabbard it doesn't catch on brush or weeds like it would if it was open all the time.  The scabbard is nylon mesh so it drains easily.  The net slips in and out quickly using just one hand.  This is the large or maxi size net.  It comes in a smaller size for Trout etc.  

I have only used this setup two days but know that it has now become a part of my standard Carp gear.  

A 16 pound 6 ounce fish that I netted with my new setup and weighed in the net.  

A smaller fish in the net

Catchin' Carp and Nettin' 'em Like a Gunslinger

In the video I only open and close the net.  The handle also telescopes farther out.  

Up next will be a post about my recent results with flies from Chris at Missouriflies.com

After that I am working on a post about estimating the size of Carp.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A new pack AND I carried a new net

While fishing the Blackfoot Reservoir back in June with John Montana  we traded packs one day.  John had a new pack that he was really liking.  I wore his pack for a couple hours and he wore mine.  I also wore the net that John carries.  The pack is the Stealth Atom  from Patagonia and all of my gear junk fit into it.  

I own a good number of nets.  I always have a net when I Carp fish from a boat but I just don't like carrying one when I wade.   When I am wading I weigh my Carp in a sling as I showed in a previous post.  There are plenty of times when I would like to have a net when I am wading; I just haven't felt that  the hassle of carrying one was worth the trade. 

Back in town after the Idaho trip I purchased the Stealth Atom from Pacific Fly Fishers, my local fly shop.  It made its maiden voyage yesterday.   Mostly I liked it.  It is designed well and holds all of the gear I bring including a 32 ounce bottle of water.  It rides high so it doesn't get wet.  As you swing it around in front of you to change a fly it pivots 90 degrees so the zippers are on top instead of on the side.  That is very slick.  A nerve in my shoulder got somewhat aggravated from the pack but I am hoping that will improve with time and continued use.  That probably would have been true when I was in my 20's, 30's, and 40's.  Now it is more likely the sore nerve will get worse with continued use.  Time will tell.  I'm rooting for the pack because I really like the way it performs.  

Several Carp liked my flies.

A bigger deal for me was that I carried a net yesterday and really liked it!  The way I carried it isn't like anything I have seen anyone do and I'm feeling pretty dang good about how convenient it was to carry and how well  it performed.  Actually, it was great!   Regardless of what pack I use in the future I will be carrying a net from here on out when I am wading  and chasing Carp.