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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ray-Ray's Always Delivers

Katy and I got to the Carp Lodge late this afternoon.  There is a spot very near here that I have caught good numbers of Carp.  The first time I went there I met a guy who called himself, "Ray-Ray".  Since then I have called the spot, "Ray-Ray's" or just Ray's for short.  With one exception, I have never been skunked there.  Ray-Ray's is a "high water" spot only.  If the river isn't high then there is no water.  The one exception is just that; when there is no water there are no fish.  When I drive to the spot if there is no water I just leave; I don't fish the surrounding area.  I have been there twice this spring; both times there was no water.  I just turned around and drove away.

After we unpacked I thought I would make a quick drive to Ray's to see if there was any water.  Well there was water, which meant there would be fish, but since it was past the spring the grasses, weeds, and sage had grown up.  There were some marvelous Carp moving through all the weeds but I couldn't cast for them because the fly would snag long before it got to the bottom.  Dang it!  I moved very slowly and tried to drop flies in front of a few fish.  Compared to casting I don't actually enjoying dropping flies very much at all but I only had about 90 minutes to fish so dropping was just fine.

I did manage to catch one Carp.  I dropped a Black Betty in front of him.  He didn't have to move far to pick it up.  This single Carp enabled me to keep saying, "I've always caught fish at Ray-Ray's."  (As long as there is water.)  He was just under 14 pounds.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What is the Opposite of a Target Rich Environment? (Complete with Stop Action Video)

In my last post I talked about getting numerous takes on video.  That post was for a session on Thursday, June 6.   The next day, Friday, June 7, I went to the river and got 10 takes on video.  I had a couple other takes where the camera was not on.  Several of the fish were in the teens, I could see the takes, it was a wonderful day of Carp fishing.  

Here is a video of one of those takes:


Yesterday I went out and fished exactly the same water I had fished two weeks ago.  You know, the water where I got 10 takes on video.  Yesterday, conditions seemed like they would be perfect.  The sky was blue, there was only light wind and the water was clear.  Hell yes!  I was thinking, "Today I'm going to get 15 takes on video!"   There was was just one problem with my big plans.   I just wasn't seeing any fish.  I was not in a target rich environment; I was in a target poor environment or probably more accurately a target void environment.  In almost 6 hours of wading I saw a grand total of 2 tailing fish.   How can that happen to me?  I'm such a nice guy. It seems so unfair.  Where did the Carp go? I thought we had a date. I was so looking forward to our time together.  Worse than only seeing two tailing fish was that neither one of them wanted my fly.

Here is some stop action video of sorts of those two Carp and me fishing for them.

In this first frame you can clearly see a tailing fish.  Quite a nice one at that.  

In this next frame you see that I have cast my fly and that it is now on the Carp's dinner plate.

In this last frame of the video you can see the Carp swimming away and airing his opinion of my fly.  

After you have looked at the stop action frames and read the captions, go back and scroll through it quickly and then you will be able to see the video effect.

It gets too easy to take a target rich environment and lots of hook ups for granted.  Yesterday, it just didn't happen for me.  At least my arms weren't tired from casting and reeling in fish.  I'm sure glad that wasn't my last trip of the summer.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Counting Fish Can Be Like Weighing Fish

What is a "full day" of fishing?

I'm 62 years old; I'm in good shape but that has to be qualified with saying that I didn't start out with a Russell Wilson, Lebron James, Michael Jordan sort of body.  There was a time when I could fish for 10 or 12 hours.  I can fish for 8 hours now but only if I'm in my boat.  Six to seven hours is about as much as I want to do when I am wading for Carp.  When I am catching a lot of fish during one of these longer sessions I think I may get a little fuzzy on just how many I actually caught.  It's all good; I feel incredibly blessed.

Committing myself to getting video of "the take" this year has been intimidating.  I fished a couple Wednesdays ago and posted a report about it.  I kind of eased into recording again by carrying the camera on Wednesday but not turning it on.  I fished the next day, Thursday, and had the video camera going most of the session.  In the interest of fairness and full disclosure I was in a target rich environment most of the day.  There is no other way to catch a lot of Carp on the fly.  To catch a lot of fish there has to be a lot of fish available.  Period.

I only saw a couple fish the first half hour.  I moved down the reservoir and then I started seeing a heck of a lot of fish.  When I spooked the fish near me I didn't have to move far to find more.  If I changed my tippet they came and found me.  I got a lot of shots on this day.

There is a lot of discussion or even overt criticism in the blogosphere about estimating the weight of Carp.  Nothing settles how much a Carp weighs like a scale does.

If I catch 4 or 5 fish in a session it is easy to remember how many I caught; heck I can even remember each individual fish.  When I start to catch a lot of fish and I'm not focused on counting, by the end of the day it is  an estimate of how many I caught.  I really think I'm a pretty good estimator of how many fish I have caught in a day.

This day I worked hard to get video of "the take".  I had the camera on for most of my casts.  When the day was over I felt I had the camera off during four takes.  I estimated that I had recorded about 12 takes making a total of about 16 fish.  When I got back to the Carp Lodge and went through the videos of the take I realized I had recorded 16 of them.  Add the four or five I didn't have the camera on for and I was up to 20 fish.

It turns out recording the takes is like weighing fish.  It sure settles how many I got.  By no means am I saying I always underestimate my numbers but I will say I was surprised to be so far off on my estimate.  Heck, maybe I've caught way more Carp these last 10 years than I thought I had.  Maybe I have had 20% more fun than I realized I did.  But wait, what if I have overestimated some days?  Hell, it probably all evens out and I have had exactly as much fun as I thought I have had.  What a relief.

It was simply a wonderful day of Carp fishing.  The sky was clear, there was only light wind, and there were Carp visible.  Oh, and they took Black Betty like it was some of the best grub they had seen in days.

Here is a video of one of the takes from that day.  Damn, I love Carp fishing!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Back to Taking Video--Day One

When I was a teacher I prepared and gave some motivational speeches; a lot of them actually.  When I was writing them and practicing the delivery I was immersed; well more like consumed.  I wrote many that took over 30 minutes to deliver and I had them memorized.  I was very, very intense about it all.  I would be so terribly nervous before some of the deliveries that I was gagging.  The only way I could get through doing the speech was to promise myself I would never do it again.  In a certain way I didn't like doing it.  I know that sounds awful because I loved the kids I was speaking to and I told them so with heart felt sincerity, and as I said, a lot of intensity.  In the days leading up to those speeches I would say to Katy over and over, "I'm really looking forward to this but I'm looking forward to it being over even more.  It sounds like such a contradiction, I loved doing it but I didn't always enjoy it.  I enjoyed it the most when after I had done it.

My real estate schedule now is such that I work 10 to 20 days in a row and then try to take a few days off when I can.  For now, it's actually working pretty well for me.  I like that the best days for me to take time off are in the middle of the week.  Having the cell phone and bringing my laptop to the Carp Lodge enables me to "take time off".  It means I just work less than I would if I was home.  I'm not complaining; actually I'm having a great time.

The Carp Lodge is about three hours from home; the Carp Lodge is home when I'm there and I feel like I could stay there all summer when I get there, but alas, reality does call so spending a few days there is wonderful.

I got three days of fishing in last week.  I arrived at the Carp Lodge late Wednesday morning, returned some calls, emailed, and set up a contract response.  Okay, it was lunch time when I started fishing, but I was fishing, and for that I am darn grateful.  I put five fish in the net on what was simply a perfect day for Carp fishing.  The sky was blue, the water mostly clear, there was just a slight wind, and it was in the 90's.  Yes!  Wading is wading but there is something more "involved" about wet wading the river versus wearing chest waders.  It's the best.  The cool water feels good on a hot day.  It is just more personal; when I am wet wading I am truly in the river.

In 2010 I started taking video of my Carp fishing.  Most of it was bad until the end of the season when I figured out how to do it.  In 2011 I got hours of at least acceptable footage with some of it being pretty good.  Going through it all, labeling it, and categorizing it got tiresome after awhile and oppressive by the end of the season.  I liked that I had done it but wasn't enjoying doing it.  When I was a teacher, writing, practicing, and delivering speeches was way more important to me than taking video is now but the experience of enjoying it more when it is done is much the same.

I usually didn't have the video camera with me in 2012 and when I did I often left it off.  At the end of the season I did create the video, "The Best Thing About Fly Fishing for Carp".  For 2013 I have decided that I am going to take video again but only video of "the take".  After all, the take is "The Premier Moment".  Getting that video means I have to take the camera with me and I will have to have it turned on.

On Wednesday I took the camera with me but I never turned it on.  It is a contradiction to be sure; I want to have the video and I enjoy the heck out of it, I want to take the video but I don't actually enjoy doing it at the moment.  I guess I'm easing back into it by just getting used to having the video camera with me again.

Each of the five fish I caught on Wednesday afternoon turned to the Chocolate Cherry; I stuck 'em, and every one of them took off.  Even the smallest one, an eleven pounder, showed me my backing.  Dang I love that!

This fish had one of the widest tails I have seen on a Carp.  I should have taken a picture of it spread out.  He was strong!

I'm really liking the net I got last year.  

Wednesday I didn't take any video.  I told myself that I would get back to it on Thursday with the goal of just recording "the take".  As it turned out I was in for a surprise.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Carp Photo Contest

Orvis, a big supporter of fly fishing for carp, is sponsoring a photo contest.  Over the next 8 weeks they will have the following categories:  biggest, smallest, ugliest, video week, funniest, craziest location, prettiest, best in show.  They will be giving away some great prizes, including a HELIOS 2 OUTFIT for the grand prize winner.  The first category is "biggest".  There are already 17 entries.  Click here to see and vote on  the current entries or to upload your own entry.  

Maybe you caught the slab of your life just recently and you want to enter a picture right now.  Maybe you have cracked the sub one pound mark for a carp and you will take the prize for the smallest carp.  I'm not sure about giving a prize for the prettiest carp since I think all carp are pretty.  Give it a look, check in and vote for fish in the different categories.  You might win a cool prize or you can just enjoy all the pictures.