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Monday, May 27, 2013

Dan Frasier Comes to the Columbia River

This past week Dan Frasier from CarpPro, came to Washington and Oregon to do some Carp fishing with John Montana and I.  I would have connected with them for two days except it was Memorial Day weekend and my kids came to the Carp Lodge to enjoy some family time.    That meant just one day with Dan and John.

Over the past 7 or 8 months, through email and several phone calls, I had gotten to know Dan.  This was our first time meeting face to face; I was really looking forward to it.  The three of us met at 8:00 AM and headed directly to the Columbia River.

Traveling through seven states and a Canadian province, the Columbia is over l,200 miles long and  a mile wide in places; it is a huge river.  Between John and I, we have covered about 290 miles of it.  By that I mean that we have driven up and down that much of the river looking for places to fish.  On the portion of the river that creates the border between Washington and Oregon we have explored and fished both sides.  Anywhere we have parked our trucks we have walked and walked and walked.  We have waded our river a lot searching for Carp!

The morning that Dan, John, and I fished was very tough because the devil clouds were everywhere.  We just couldn't spot fish.  The afternoon was more productive as the sky cleared some.

This is a sequence where Dan was casting to a fish near shore.  He snagged his fly in the weeds but since he didn't spook the fish John traded him rods.  John kept the snagged line elevated above the water and Dan cast with John's rod.  The fish just didn't cooperate.

Here is a link to Dan's report about the trip on CarpPro.  He did a great job of writing up the whole experience.  

An apex athlete from after the sky cleared.  

Dan, thanks a lot for coming to Washington and Oregon.  It was great to meet you and to fish with you.  I'm looking forward to when you come back.  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

When Conditions Aren't Perfect

In my previous blog post and in the one before it I talked about back to back days when conditions were near perfect.  The sky was blue, the water was clear, there was only a slight wind, and there were a lot of Carp for me to cast to.  It was heavenly.

Every day of Carp fishing is not like that.  Sometimes the weather conditions might be excellent but there are very few fish around.  When the water is not clear that is the worst.  When it is windy that is more worse.  And when the damn, devil clouds fill the sky that is the most worst.  I like clouds and even rain when I'm trout fishing or salmon fishing but NOT when I'm Carp fishing.

Today, Thursday, the sky was filled with devil clouds.  There was just a very light wind.  That's fine.  Was the water clear?  How the heck would I know?  The damn clouds made seeing things impossible.  Okay, the water was actually very clear but the sky wasn't.

I had come over to the Carp Lodge yesterday just before dinner.  I was planning to fish with Dan Frasier and John Montana on Friday and I was really looking forward to it.  I thought I might actually head to Oregon this morning but I ended up writing a Purchase & Sale Agreement for some clients.  I set it up for electronic signatures from the Carp Lodge--it is an amazing electronic world.  By the time I was finished with that it was much too late to go to Oregon to connect with Dan and John.  Plus, I could look out the window and see pretty easily that there was no blue sky.

I actually took this picture from the Carp Lodge after I was finished fishing but this is what the sky looked like almost the whole day.  I don't know what that blue thing is in the lower left corner.

After writing the Purchase & Sale Agreement I thought about going trout fishing instead but thought better of it when I realized that I didn't have any trout flies with me.  That meant I was either "stuck" at the Carp Lodge for the day or "stuck" Carp fishing.  Even with the devil clouds I opted for the Carp fishing.

There are a few spots that I Carp fish on the river that are very close to the Carp Lodge.  (Less than 30 minutes away).  It was late in the morning so I went to one of those spots.  The first spot I went to is "high water only" spot.  The river has to be good and high for there to be fish there.  That is because if the river isn't high there is no water at this spot.  No water means no fish.  It only is good a small amount of the summer.  I call it "Ray Ray's" because the first time I went there some years ago I met an extended Cambodian family.  As I was gearing up one of the men came over to me and introduced himself as Ray Ray.  He was drinking beer and eating a piece of deep fried Carp.  They had caught several in the previous few days and had cooked them in a propane powered deep fryer.  He was thrilled to see a white guy fishing for Carp.  He offered me some deep fried Carp but it turned out the kids had just eaten the last few pieces.  We talked for half an hour before I walked down to the water to fish.

Today there was very little water at Ray Ray's.  I walked the margins but I knew from experience that even if the sky was clear there wasn't enough water to draw the fish in.  It was a nice walk.  I walked farther down the river to another spot.  The sun peeked out for a bit and I was able to see just a few fish.  One of them took the Chocolate Cherry.  He actually thumped it good and hard.  I released 38 Carp in two days the last time I was out.  On a day like today one fish becomes much, much more satisfying than on a day when I catch so many fish.  I knew this could easily be the only fish I would hook and I was very grateful for it.  Thirty-eight Carp in two days is easy to write about but it is not normal.  It is important to also talk about the days that aren't easy or productive.

I weighed this Carp and it was 10 1/2 pounds.  He was wonderful.  On a day like this one fish becomes so satisfying and rewarding.  

When there are lots of devil  clouds, and when they are gray and black, they do this nasty thing, they drop water on me.  I like trout fishing in the rain and I like salmon fishing in the rain but I DO NOT like Carp fishing in the rain!  It started to rain, and big baby that I am ,I decided to go back to the Carp Lodge and get a candy bar.  I thought I would just sit on the patio, eat my candy bar and be done fishing for the day.  

Energized by the Reese's Nutrageous, and tricked by a bit of blue sky, I decided to drive back to the river.  There is a sign at this next spot that says that a troll lives there so I call it the Troll's House.  The Troll's House is also only good when the water is high.  The water is somewhat high right now but not high enough to draw large numbers of fish into Ray Ray's or the Troll House.  Two years ago when we had flooding these two spots were amazing.  In 2013 they may never be good.  In fact they aren't likely to be.   They may not be good again for years.  

There were some brief breaks in the devil clouds and I was able to spot a few fish at the Troll House.  I hooked two small fish.  (Small for the Columbia River is under 8 pounds.)  One of two was 6 1/2 pounds and the other was 7 pounds.  It started raining again and since I don't do rain when I am Carp fishing I called it quits for the day.  I was back at the Carp Lodge by about 3:15.  

Tomorrow I am going to fish with Dan Frasier and John Montana.  They are more than twenty years younger than I am.  Figuring I better rest up for the big day, I took a nap.  

I'm looking forward to connecting with Dan and John tomorrow.  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 2--Near Perfect Conditions

This is a follow up to my previous blogpost.  I fished Thursday, May 9, and Friday, May 10.

With such a stellar session on Thursday one would think I could not wait to get out early Friday morning and repeat the experience.  Rather than starting earlier, I ended up starting a half hour later.  I was enjoying moving at my own pace but still definitely looking forward to gearing up and casting to tailing Carp.  It took 20 minutes for my “speedy” electric motor to get me to one of the spots I had fished the day before.  It was as if the Carp had spent the night there and were waiting to see if I would be back.  I was glad to see them and some of them acted glad to see me.  In less than 10 minutes a Carp took the size 8 Black Betty.  Unlike the day before, from the start, I believed I was going to have a great day.  And Lordy I did!

Not sure exactly how many fish I had caught the day before, I made a point of counting carefully today.  I said the number out loud when I released each fish.  When I turned the last Carp out of the net I said, “Seventeen”.  I stopped an hour earlier today.  I was sated.  I never get tired of the takes but I can get tired of playing fish.  My stomach was sore from pressing the fighting butt against it.  I had moved down the reservoir quite a ways from where I started the morning.  It was more than a half hour back to my truck.  There were tailing fish in sight and there were shoppers; I knew I could have caught more fish.  I had just reached a point where I wanted to sit on the patio at the Carp Lodge, watch the sun set, and savor the day more than I wanted to catch another fish.  Not being able to do that would have diminished my enjoyment of the day considerably.  To keep myself in check and make sure that I got my patio time, not only did I reel in, I clipped off the Black Betty and broke down the rod. 


Gregg Martin, an Idaho Carp angler for whom I have tremendous respect, wrote a comment in my previous post about numbers that he couldn't hope to achieve.  I also received an email about my previous blog post and the numbers.   While I have had days like these in the past, and I expect to have them again in the future, these are NOT typical days in the sense that I always have these kinds of numbers.  I have actually caught more Carp in a day than I just posted about.  For these two days I just wrote about the conditions were  ideal and I happened to be there.  In the interest of fairness and full disclosure there are plenty of days when I work very hard to get just a few Carp.  There are days when I get blanked.  I have blogged about those kinds of days too. 

I was also asked in the email if there was anyone else on the water I was fishing.  The answer is definitely yes.  There are usually people there fishing for Carp though they are almost always bait fishing.  There are also bass fisherman there too.  Both days there were people there fishing for Carp with bait when I fished.  The second day a guy pulled up as I was taking out.  He was very friendly.  He laughed at me (politely) because I fished for Carp with a fly.  He asked me if I caught any and I told him I put a few in the net.  He asked me where they were and I told him I release them.  He said he was “bow fishing” for Carp.  He had a $45K truck and a large bass boat to go with it.  He said he always gets some when he goes out.  I asked him if he releases them and he said, “Well yeah, they have an arrow in ‘em and their gonna die, so yeah”.  I’m not going to get started on “bow fishing” for Carp.  I’m just saying that there were other people there.   I do move away from them however. 

I did not get a fish over 15 pounds today or yesterday.  The fish were willing to take the fly, they were extremely "hot" (lively) and they were plentiful.  What else can I ask for?  

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Who Knows What Near Perfect Conditions Will Bring?

Right at the end of March I sold a home to my clients Jeremy and Kacie; it was supposed to close on Monday, May 6.  The seller refused to sign at the last minute because her agent told her she was netting $25,000 more than she actually was.  Unbelievable...  The escrow officer said she had never seen anything like it in 20 years.  My buyers had rented a truck and had friends lined up to help with the move.  Oh, and I was planning to leave the next afternoon for a few days of Carp fishing.  Wednesday morning Jeremy, Kacie, and I were back out looking at homes so I wasn't fishing.  Thankfully, VERY thankfully, we found something they liked better than the home they lost even though it was farther north than they had wanted to be.

Beating the traffic out of town, Wednesday afternoon I left for the Carp Lodge.  With laptop in hand I was able to write the Purchase & Sale Agreement from there and set it up for electronic signing; it is a modern, electronic world indeed.

Thursday morning brought what appeared to be near perfect Carp fishing conditions.  It was hot, the sky was blue and there was a very light wind.  I had my Zodiac in the reservoir just before 9:30.  It was awhile before I even saw a Carp let alone made a cast.  What happened to my near perfect conditions?  Don't the Carp know that when there is blue sky and a gentle wind, AND I'm stalking the shallows, that they should be there with me?  At about 10:00 I was casting to only my third fish.  I made a cast then dragged and dropped.  He picked up the Chocolate Cherry and took off.  He was about 8 pounds; I released him at 10:06.

Who really knows how a day will turn out?  You start to get a sense of things as the morning moves along but still, who knows?  I just wasn't seeing the number of fish that I had hoped to; I was hardly seeing any fish at all.  My visibility was good because of the clear sky and light wind so I just headed down the reservoir a mile and a half and then started stalking again.  That is probably not a completely accurate statement.  I didn't "start stalking again" as in I slowed the boat down and started looking for fish.  I "started stalking again" as in I saw some tails sticking up so I stopped the boat and started casting.  A couple Carp turned to the fly and then turned away.  I don't usually change flies as quickly as I did but I had tied some Black Betty's after writing the Purchase & Sale Agreement the previous night and I wanted to use them.  I don't know if it was the fly or what, but the darn Carp started hitting the fly.  In a few cases I would say they didn't just turn to the fly they actually smacked it and took off.  Dang, that makes me feel accomplished and clever.

I know how many fish I think I caught but I lost count a couple times so when I say I released 21 Carp I may be wrong.  It could have been a couple more.  Most of them were 6-9 pounds with several of them being 10 pounds and over.  One was 14 pounds and made a fine showing of herself as she peeled out backing.  It ended up just being an extremely satisfying day.  It certainly left me looking forward to the next day.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Issue Three Carp Pro Magazine

Check out Issue 3 of CarpPro magazine.  You'll be glad you did.