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Friday, August 17, 2012

Carp-ocalypse Feedback

I fished in the Carp-ocalypse last weekend.  The "Got Backing?" team consisted of myself, David Nakamoto, John Montana, and Travis, aka the Trashfisher.  I need to say right out of the blocks I didn't catch a single dang Carp during those two days.  Not one.  I have a few fun pictures from the Carp-ocalypse that I will post but if you are looking for fish porn then just skip this post and wait for the next one.  I caught a major phattie the day after the tournament when Travis and I were fishing.  Travis was nice enough to take a photo.  For now, let's talk about the tournament.

Leland hanging out the first day of the Carp-ocalypse.  

In the beginning I was a little concerned with the whole idea of a Carp fishing tournament.  Leland from Bellevue Orvis first contacted me a few months ago.  He took me out to lunch; what a nice guy.  We talked about the tournament and about me doing a Carp on the fly presentation at his shop.  After talking with Leland the idea of the tournament grew on me.  Leland, I just wish you had told me I would not see a tailing fish until the afternoon of the second day.  I still would have come but I just wish you had told me.  How could you leave that detail out?  Oh well...

Tournament participants reported to the upper part of Banks Lake at 6:00 AM on Saturday morning.  Good Lord, that's early for Carp fishing!  It was for the best though.

Some of the guys gathering just before leaving the first day of fishing.  

One of the things that I think was brilliant about this tournament was that Orvis gave prizes for the smallest fish.  That really set a fun and positive tone from the start.  Adam and Leland, that was nicely played, very nicely played.  

There was a prize for the most total inches of fish.  The "Got Backin?" team split into two groups the first day.  John and David fished Banks Lake and Travis and I headed way the heck back down the road to the Columbia River.  (That would be almost three hours back down the bleeping road!!)  We really thought that between the two of us we would catch enough big fish in the Columbia that first day to secure the prize for the most fish.  Travis and I thought we would chase small fish the second day.  

Travis and I fished familiar water on Saturday.  We were sure we would at least see some fat, tailing fish if not a whole lot.  Heck, we didn't even see any small, sunbathers for hours.  Travis had his Carp Machine boat.  While we thought we could get to some somewhat secluded water the truth was that it was Saturday and there were a lot of tow boats and jet skis around.  Carp just don't do well at all with commotion.  They get nervous, they get self-conscious, and they just get gone!  

Here is Travis looking for just one solitary fish that first day. 

I have seen and fished a lot of the Columbia.  I say that recognizing that there is WAY more river that I haven't ever seen than I have seen.  In 9 seasons of Carp fishing I would say the most beautiful flat on the river is where Travis and I went.  It was still beautiful as heck; it just didn't have any fish waiting for us.  

We had to report back to the check- in spot by 6:00 PM.  Given how far Travis and I had traveled we had to be on the road again by 3:00 PM to make it back on time.  I saw my first fish at 2:40.  It was a slow fleeing fish.  Even though it was fleeing slowly it was still a zero percent target.  In desperation I still made a couple casts.  We both saw a few fish that those last 20 minutes but not a one of them was even a passable target let alone a good one.  No fish for Travis and I the first day.  I believe John caught one near the end of the first day.  

When we got back to the park very few of the guys had caught a fish.  Honestly, it was kind of grim.  The conversation was enjoyable and so was the beer.  

These guys deserve to catch some Carp on the fly!  I believe their names are Dan and Leon.  I hope I have that right.  They came to my seminar.  They have been trying to catch Carp and have not succeeded so far.   They fished the whole darn tournament and never grumbled a bit about getting blanked.  They have the persistence that it takes to make it happen.  I am rooting for these guys big time!  

The second day we had to check back in by 3:00 PM so there was no heading back to the river for Travis and I.  We went to Barker Canyon and didn't see a single fish.  Near the end of the day we went to a spot I call Mosquito Flats.  Yes, there are a hell of a lot of mosquitoes there.  Travis got geared up before me and headed down the lake.  I headed up the lake to the part where the mosquitoes are and continued past.  Thankfully they don't follow you after a certain point.   With just about an hour or so to go in the day I finally saw a tailing fish.  He did not want my fly.  I did a good deal of wading and saw a cruiser that was barely moving.  I was very close to him.  I put the fly in front of him.  I saw his pretty Carp lips open and he sucked in the fly.  Well, he was faster than I was, or may slower; I lifted the rod and the fly just came out of his mouth.  I don't know if he ejected it or if I set too soon.  Either way there was no hook up.  I saw one more tailing fish who like the last one did not want my fly.  That was it for me and Travis.   We got blanked in two days of fishing.  We made so few casts I'm not sure we actually fished but that is the way Carp fishing is.

On the second day I believe John got four fish dropping the fly in front of some tailers.  As a result of that he won some of the cool prizes.  David also put a fish in the net and won a prize. Great job John and David!  Between the two of them the won the team prize for the "Got Backing?" team.  I feel silly that I won a prize and I didn't catch a fish.  Oh well...

John collecting some loot.

Here is David collecting some too.  

John and David were just not to be denied.  

In terms of prizes I think the coolest thing was that a guy who had never caught a Carp before won a high end Orvis rod for catching the smallest Carp.  His name is Mike Gamby.  Yes!  I loved this.

Most of the Carp-ocalypse participants.  

I would like to thank the Native Fish Society, the  Portland and Bellevue Orvis stores,  Idylwilde, and  Ninkasi Brewing for sponsoring the tournament.  It ended up being a good time and I will do it next year. Leland, I want to catch some fish next year.  Do you think you could arrange that please?


  1. It was a good time Jim, even though the fishing was tough...the way I look at it our team put seven fish on the board. 8 if they would have counted that tiny little carp fry I caught with my hat! Hah...good times on banks lake, just too bad no one told the carp to join in the fun!

    I am looking forward to our steelhead trip with Adam this winter. I wonder if the four of us will catch more steelhead than we did carp!

    1. It was fun for sure. I anticipated the numbers working out differently but that's Carp fishing. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.

    2. And I am looking forward to catching 5 or 6 Steelhead each!

  2. Ok, major destination for about the amount of success I usually have. I should feel better but I don't. Now you know more about it for next year I reckon.


  3. Great write-up on this Jim. I'm pretty jealous that you guys get to fish in cool events like this out there.

  4. Looks like it was a great tournament with lots of good people having fun together. Nice!

  5. Hey Jim great blog! Yup, you got our names right on the picture above (Dan and Leon). Even though we didn't get any fish during the tournament it was a blast and one heck of a learning curve! As soon as I can get back out to some carp water I will be there fly rod in hand and mosquito repellent at the ready.

  6. Gregg, I sure thought we would catch more fish. What can I say?

    Ty and Brent, it was fun. I would do it again. It isn't easy to set something up for so many guys to Carp fish at the same time. Adam and Leland did a great job of managing this.

    Dan, thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope when you get your first hook up that Leon is there with the camera and that your reel is singing!