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Monday, May 19, 2014

The Gregg Martin Rule and a Wonderful Day on the River

 Bothell, where Katy and I live, is in western Washington, a minimum of 3 hours from the water I carp fish.  It's not a simple afternoon of fishing and then home for dinner.  It is a commitment of at least a one night stay.  Prior to building the Carp Lodge I always came for at least two nights and tried to fish a minimum of two days.

When we built the Carp Lodge Katy and I anticipated enjoying it on several levels.  We enjoy coming over together.  We walk on the river, we hang out, we read, we talk; it's wonderful.  I fish sometimes when we are here together.  I also come over alone  and fish.  We have had several different friends over--Katy's friends, my friends, and our friends.  Our families have come over and our kids come over.  It's all good; actually it's wonderful.

In the past when I came to central Washington to carp fish, and I was staying in a motel, if the weather was sketchy I would just fish anyway; what was I going to do, sit in the motel and look through my pictures all day?

At this writing I am at the Carp Lodge.  It is in central WA; it overlooks the Columbia River.  I can drive 20 minutes to a beautiful flat. There is plenty to do at the here--I mean besides looking through my pictures and video.  There is no TV here but I don't count watching TV as doing something.  If I am at the Carp Lodge and the conditions get particularly bad I don't exactly feel trapped here.  It's a home.  There is a toilet and shower, beds, a stove and oven, a washer and dryer, central heating and air conditioning, a refrigerator, WiFi (I bring my laptop), a patio, some fly tying tools, and a beautiful view.  Oh, and there's a garage too.  I pull my carpwagon in the garage and don't worry about my gear.  Heck I don't even park in the garage at home.

The sky is clear 300 days a year.  During carp season the weather is warm and often just plain hot.  The view is beautiful.  Again, it's wonderful; it is so easy to be here, even on a day when the weather is bad.

The Carp Lodge


The Columbia River seen from the back patio

"It is so easy to be here..."  Yes indeed, and therein can lie the problem.  Because it is easy to be at the Carp Lodge it gets too easy to not go fishing just because it is cloudy or the wind is blowing (it almost always does), or the river is too high or too low.  Okay, if there is lightening then I should stay off the river.  But if it's  just cloudy, well, then I know it will be tough to spot fish but I can still try.

Recently I woke up at the Carp Lodge with the intention of fishing that day.  The sky was overcast so I immediately let that transfer to my mood and I felt overcast.  I want perfect conditions!  I felt the draw of being too comfortable holding me back.  I knew that if I was at a motel there would be no question; I would just go fishing.  On days like this I remind myself of what I call the Gregg Martin Rule:  "Go fishing--no excuses!"  Here is a link to a post I made a few years ago that talked about Gregg.  He makes the best of it no matter what!  As I have said before, Gregg is an inspiration.

I held myself to the Gregg Martin rule and I'm so glad I did.  I loaded up my carpwagon and headed to the river.  I wish I could say why the fishing was so good.  Obviously it helped that the sky mostly cleared by the time I started stalking.  Truly, I had not taken 10 steps and I spotted my first fish.  He saw the Black Betty but didn't think it looked appealing.  I was seeing lots of fish and they weren't spawning.  Some were cruising, some were sunbathing, and some were tailing.  Lordy, I love the tailers and the slow cruisers.  I particularly like the ones that will take my fly.  I had a fish in the net in the first 20 minutes.  I had lots of shots at good targets.  I particularly liked that I wasn't happening on fish in cloudy water and then dropping the fly in front of them; I was making casts and shooting some line.  That too me is carp fishing at it's best.

The day was very memorable just by virtue of the numbers.  I lost count at about 16.  I know I had 19; it was probably 20 and may have been 21.  It was a special day because 6 of the fish were apex athletes (between 16-18 pounds).  As I was walking back dragging my butt back to my carpwagon, I reeled in.  My wrist hurt from playing fish and I had reached a point where I wouldn't cast to another 8-9 pound fish.  I told myself I will only cast again if I see a fish that I'm sure is over 15.  Near the truck, I did see one and cast to him.  He sucked up the Black Betty and took me into the backing.  It was a tremendous last fish for a wonderful day.  Thanks Gregg for your positive example.

In the interest of full disclosure not all days are like this; most aren't.  

An apex athlete who thought Black Betty looked good enough to eat

They can't all be over 15 pounds but I pretty much like any carp who will take my fly.

This one was particularly strong and persistent about not coming in.  

This carp was clever but not clever enough to know my fly was a fake until I set the hook.  

Carp are beautiful!

Simply wonderful


  1. Mr.P.,

    I don't feel deserving of that observation, but thank you very much. I love that home away from home you've created, what a well designed place! Beautiful pictures and yes carp are beautiful.


    1. Thanks Gregg. You deserve it way more than you think! We love our home away from home; it has been wonderful on so many levels.

  2. As someone who lives in the east, I love seeing the simple design of this house. Awesome. I might steal that for my own carp hut.

    1. Thanks JGR. We love the design of the home too. Central Washington is desert and we felt the Santa Fe style fit with the setting. Plus the view is great--oh, and one more thing, there are carp in that river.

  3. Excellent day Mr. P! I can't wait until the water drops and I get some big flat action like that.

    1. Thanks Trevor! I hope the water drops soon for you.

  4. Great post! I'm not even close to that kind of action in Montana. Too many trout and trout streams, I wanna hi west to "trash fish."

    1. Thanks Spearyhopper. We do have some special carp water here in Washington and Oregon. The Missouri River in Montana is one of the most beautiful places I have fished for carp. We even caught some on dry flies.

  5. Thanks Ty. It was a great day.